Chicago City Council amends home-sharing ordinance following lawsuit brought by the Liberty Justice Center and the Goldwater Institute

February 27, 2017

CHICAGO (Feb. 27, 2017) – Chicagoans who share their homes through online platforms, such as Airbnb, will no longer be forced to allow city officials to inspect records of their guests’ personal information at any time without a warrant. The change in Chicago’s home-sharing ordinance follows a lawsuit filed by the Liberty Justice Center and the Goldwater Institute. 

The lawsuit, Mendez v. Chicago, was filed in the Cook County Circuit Court in November 2016 after Chicago City Council passed a restrictive and invasive ordinance limiting the use of home-sharing platforms. Since City Council changed this portion of the ordinance, the Liberty Justice Center and the Goldwater Institute filed a motion to dismiss this aspect of their lawsuit, which Judge Sanjay T. Tailor granted on Monday morning. 

“We’re pleased the city has repealed one obviously unconstitutional provision of its home-sharing ordinance and will no longer violate the privacy rights of home-sharers and their guests in this way,” said Jacob Huebert, senior attorney at the Liberty Justice Center. “But the city shouldn’t have stopped there. This ordinance is still full of unconstitutional provisions that violate homeowners’ rights.”

“Chicago’s anti-home-sharing law is one of the most intrusive laws in the history of the city,” said Christina Sandefur, executive vice president of the Goldwater Institute and one of the attorneys on the case. “This change is a step in the right direction that helps protect the rights of Chicagoans to use their property as they see fit. But a lot remains to be done.”

Although the Liberty Justice Center and the Goldwater Institute filed a motion to dismiss one facet of the lawsuit, the case will continue to challenge other unconstitutional aspects of Chicago’s home-sharing ordinance, including:

  • Provisions that allow the city to search home-sharers’ homes at any time, for any reason, without a warrant, which violate the constitutional right to be free from unreasonable searches.
  • Provisions that prohibit someone who owns a single-family home or a unit in a building with four or fewer units from renting it out through a home-sharing platform unless the home is the owner’s personal, primary residence.
  • Provisions that limit the number of units in a building that can be listed on a home-sharing platform.
  • Provisions that impose higher taxes on home-sharing rentals than on hotel rooms.

The complaint from the lawsuit is available online at


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