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Chicago Weighs New Rules For Airbnb, Similar Rental Services

CHICAGO (CBS) -- There are an estimated 4,500 Chicago property owners who rent out rooms and apartments, short-term, via the house-sharing Airbnb service.

Now the city is looking at a stiff new set of regulations for Airbnb and services like it, and the mayor's regulatory plan drew a big crowd for a hearing today at City Hall.

Ald. Joe Moore said one of his constituents, who is separated from her husband, uses Airbnb to make ends meet.

"She's been able to keep her home, [renting] out a room through Airbnb," Moore said.

Some aldermen, like Lincoln Park's Michelle Smith, worry about corporations buying up entire buildings to rent out, creating de facto hotels and destroying the character of neighborhoods.

One Gold Coast resident, Sam Lichtenfeld, has seen it happen.

"Any given sort of warm summer weekend can have a lot of parties going on, lots of litter, you know, vomiting in the streets, sort of loud, really obnoxious activities," he said.

The mayor's plan would limit the number of units that can be rented out in residential neighborhoods and high rises. It would require city inspections and forbid rentals in single-family homes unless the owner lives there, too.

"The goal is not to make any particular interest happy, but to have what I believe to be a set of oversight that exists on a new an emerging industry," Mayor Emanuel said.

Paul Manning, an Airbnb Super Host, said: "The city shouldn't be able to tell me what I'm going to do in my home or who I'm going to share it with."

An Airbnb spokesman said the company wants to work with the city to find what it calls a "workable path forward," but calls the mayor's proposal a giant step backward for Chicago.

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