There has always been a demand for short-term rental of homes and apartments. Traveling businessmen sometimes prefer to stay in a homelike environment. Families and groups returning to a town for a reunion often find it more economical to rent a home than multiple hotel rooms - which may not always be available in some suburbs.
The economy has prompted more owners to place their homes, condos and apartments into the short-term rental pool, and that sometimes leads to tensions with neighbors, as reported in a recent Tribune article on a Glen Ellyn dispute.
Renting a suburban home can also be an excellent way to spend some time in a community that you're considering as your next home. One of the more popular sites for finding these homes is Vacation Rentals by Owner.