Schaumburg likely to tax treehouse, other short-term rentals

New Schaumburg regulations already ensure that a large, luxurious backyard treehouse village officials learned about last year is the last of its kind.

But trustees on Tuesday will consider an ordinance allowing the collection of hotel taxes from overnight stays in the treehouse, as well as all other short-term rental properties in the village.

Dan Alexander, who charges $195 a night before service fees for stays in his decked-out treehouse, said he's never had a problem with the proposed 8 percent tax since Schaumburg officials first brought it up to him last year.

But he had two provisions: He wanted the online rental agency he uses — — to pay the tax directly from the money it collects, and he didn't want to be the only rental property owner in Schaumburg paying.

Alexander believes the ordinance up for a vote Tuesday satisfies both concerns.

“I think they're doing the right thing to collect the tax through Airbnb,” Alexander said. “They've been pretty reasonable about the whole thing. I think we've got things worked out now.”

Schaumburg Community Development Director Julie Fitzgerald confirmed that all known short-term rental properties would be similarly taxed.

When the number of such properties was researched last year, fewer than 15 were found, she said. That number has dropped to about five after several were discovered to be in violation of their apartment or condominium complexes' subleasing rules.

Alexander's 112-square-foot treehouse, with its full-size bed, TV, kitchenette, fireplace and air-conditioning, was a surprise to village inspectors when they discovered it in the spring of 2015.

Subsequent regulations require that all future treehouses built in the village be less than 100 square feet in area, no more than 28 feet high and at least 10 feet from property lines.

The village also passed a measure requiring short-term rentals to undergo yearly inspections, obtain an annual license fee and pay the hotel tax that's under consideration Tuesday.

“They instituted an inspection program that was pretty rigorous, but I did pass the inspection,” Alexander said.

He also had to change the way he advertises his rental, emphasizing that he's technically renting a room of his house with the use of the treehouse being an amenity.

Alexander's particularly pleased that Airbnb is responsible for paying the new tax, meaning he doesn't personally have to file a tax document with the village every month like the big hotels do.

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