The City of Chicago has a number of laws that impact those planning on listing, or continuing to list, properties on the HomeAway family of sites. Under Chicago’s ordinance regulating short-term rentals, individuals offering property for short-term rental on sites like HomeAway.com and VRBO.com must register with the City as one of the following:
 
●      Shared Housing Unit
●      Vacation rental
●      Bed and breakfast
●      Hotel
 
Shared Housing Unit Registration
 
Owners wishing to register as a Shared Housing Unit must do so through a hosting platform like HomeAway. Section 4-14-020 of the Municipal Code contains information regarding the registration requirements. Sections 4-14-040 and 4-14-060 include information about additional duties and restrictions. For example, a listing must include cancellation and check-in/check-out policies; whether the property is wheelchair or ADA accessible; the availability of—or restrictions on—use of recreational facilities; and the registration number. Section 4-14-090 includes information about possible penalties for violations.
 
The full text of recent changes to short-term rental rules (2016 and 2017 amendments) are attached to this page.
 
Please note, “Shared Housing Unit” is terminology used by the City of Chicago that is equivalent to what we call a Short Term Rental or Vacation Rental. It does not mean a shared space property, where the traveler could unintentionally share space or amenities inside the property with the property owner or another renter during the stay. Shared spaces are not allowed on our platform.

Vacation Rental Licensing
 
Owners wishing to apply for a vacation rental license can do so directly with the City. Section 4-6-300 of the Municipal Code contains information regarding the licensing process and the duties of a vacation rental licensee.See these pages for more information: Small Business Center page and Business Licensing page.

 
Bed and Breakfast Licensing

Owners wishing to apply for a bed and breakfast license can do so directly with the City. Section 4-6-290 of the Municipal Code contains information regarding the licensing process and the duties of a bed and breakfast licensee.See these pages for more information: Small Business Center page and Business Licensing page.

 
Hotel Licensing
 
Owners wishing to apply for a hotel license can do so directly with the City. Section 4-6-180 of the Municipal Code contains information regarding the licensing process and the duties of a hotel licensee. See these pages for more information: Small Business Center page and Business Licensing page.
 
If you have additional questions, contact the City's Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection or talk to a lawyer or tax professional. HomeAway cannot provide legal advice, but is providing this summary to help you learn more about Chicago’s laws.


Registration Application FAQ

 
Who needs to register?
Under Chicago’s ordinance regulating short-term rentals, anyone offering property for short-term rental on sites like HomeAway.com and VRBO.com must register with the City as a Shared Housing Unit, a vacation rental, or a bed and breakfast. HomeAway owners can apply for a Shared Housing Unit registration number directly from our website or through our app. You do not need to register via HomeAway’s website if you already have a vacation rental, bed and breakfast, or hotel license.

I already have a vacation rental, bed and breakfast, or hotel license number from the City. What do I need to do?
If you do have a vacation rental, bed and breakfast, or hotel license, you will need to add your license number to your listing.

To enter your license number, go to your dashboard, select your listing, and choose "edit listing". On the description tab, look for “first time registration” and click on the “visit registration page” link. On the pass-through registration portal you will see an option to enter a vacation rental, bed and breakfast, or hotel license number. You will need to add a license number for each listing you have in Chicago.
 
How do I register?
HomeAway owners can apply for a Shared Housing Unit registration number directly from our website or through our app.  The pass-through registration portal can be accessed by going to your dashboard, selecting the listing, and choosing "edit listing". On the description tab, look for "first time registration" and click on "visit registration page". You will need to complete registration for each listing you have in Chicago

Please note, if you are adding a new Chicago listing, you will be asked to register as part of the property on-boarding process.
 
What information will I need to provide to register via HomeAway’s website?
You will need to provide the following information, which HomeAway will then pass to the City as your application to register your property:
 
●      Your name
●      Address of your short-term rental property
●      Your contact information
●      Whether your property is a single-family unit or in a building with multiple units
●      Whether your property is your primary residence
●      Whether you are making your entire property, or only part of it, available for rental
 
Do I need to show any information on my listing to comply with the requirements?
The City requires that owners display the following information on their listing:
 
  • cancellation and check in/out policy
  • whether the property is wheelchair or ADA accessible
  • whether the property has parking availability or restrictions
  • availability of—or restrictions on—use of recreational facilities or other amenities
  • description of rental, including number of bedrooms and bathrooms, and whether entire unit, or only portion, is available for rent
  • registration or license number
 
Can I register directly with the City and not though HomeAway?
No, if you wish to apply to register as a Shared Housing Unit, you must do so through HomeAway (see “How do I register?”above). If you wish to apply for vacation rental, bed and breakfast, or hotel license, you can do so directly with the City.
 
When is the deadline for existing properties to go through the registration process?
The deadline is September 5, 2017 for existing properties in Chicago (those listed on HomeAway before August 7, 2017) that need to register as a Shared Housing Unit. Once you input the information required, you can continue to list and book your property as usual. Your listing will show a “registration pending” status until the City processes your application.

For existing properties that will be registered, or have already registered, directly with the City as a vacation rental, bed and breakfast, or hotel, they must have and display a license number in their listings by September 5.
 
How much does it cost to register?
There is no cost associated with registering as a Shared Housing Unit through HomeAway.
 
Do I need to register if I have already registered through another hosting platform?
Yes, the City requires that you register again through HomeAway, even if you have already registered your property as a Shared Housing Unit via another hosting platform.
 
I have multiple listings in Chicago, do I need to complete registration for all of them?
Yes, each unique address must be registered or licensed, and will have a separate registration or license number.
 

Registration Approval, Denial and Renewal


What happens while I wait for my registration to be approved?
If you have applied via HomeAway’s registration portal, you can continue to list and book as usual while the City processes your application for registration. “registration pending” will appear on your registration number field while the City is processing your application. This field can be seen publicly on your listing page.
 
What happens to my listing if I do not register?
Listings for properties without a registration number or “registration pending” status by September 5, or without a vacation rental, bed and breakfast, or hotel license number by September 5, will be removed from HomeAway’s websites.
 
What happens when my registration application is approved?
The City will notify us when your application is approved, and we will automatically add your registration number to your listing.
 
What happens if my registration application is not approved?
The City will notify you if your application is not approved. The City will communicate (1) the reason(s) your application was denied, (2) whether this decision can be reversed through a commissioner’s adjustment, and (3) the process for appealing the decision with the City, if you chose to do so. If you continue to host your listing(s) after being denied, and don't appeal the decision with the City, you may be subject to fines and other penalties.
 
What are the reasons the City would deny my registration?
The City may deny your registration application if you do not satisfy the eligibility conditions specified in the Chicago Municipal Code section 4-13-260. The reasons for ineligibility can be found here.
 
Do I need to renew my registration?
Yes, you are required to renew your registration annually. You will be able to do this through the HomeAway registration portal.