Is Flats Chicago a vacation rental scofflaw?

Chicago’s Vacation Rental Ordinance (“Ordinance”) has been on the books for several years, but a quick scan of Airbnb provides evidence that it’s being routinely ignored.

Back in July we questioned whether Flats Chicago had the licenses required by the Ordinance for its Airbnb listings at 4875 N Magnolia. We also questioned whether Flats Chicago had made proper license disclosures and whether the units conformed to occupancy and zoning restrictions.

An email and phone conversation with a disgruntled ex-employee of the company (I’ve heard from several over time) prompted me to revisit Flats Chicago’s Airbnb’s listings.

The company currently has ads for what appear to be eight separate units at 4875 N Magnolia. The Ordinance limits the number of licensed vacation units in a building to six. A former flats employee has told me that the company also has seven short-stay apartments at each of two other properties.

A current detailed scan of Flats Chicago’s website didn’t surface the license disclosure that the Ordinance requires.

I’ve placed a phone call to Anthony Mugnolo at Flats Chicago requesting clarification, but haven’t heard back as of the time of this post. I’ve also filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the City of Chicago to determine the licensing status of the three properties.

The Ordinance provides for a fine of $500 to $1,000 for each violation and for each day that a violation continues. It also provides that “any person who operates a vacation rental without a license issued under this chapter may be subject to incarceration for a period not to exceed six months.”

Added 12/8: The City provided a one business day response to my FOIA request. You can click the following image and note that the City’s records contain no vacation rental licenses for Flats Chicago units at 4875 N Magnolia, 5411 N Winthrop or 5051 N Kenmore.

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