Schaumburg treehouse inspires new rental rules
Having already ensured an elaborate backyard treehouse stays unique in Schaumburg, village officials are now pursuing regulation of the short-term rentals that have been going on there.
Dan Alexander charges $195 on weeknights and $245 per day on weekends for the rental of a room in his house -- allowing use of his 112-square-foot treehouse with its full-size bed, TV, kitchenette, fireplace and air-conditioning for free.
Though Alexander knows spending the night in the treehouse is the true appeal, he must technically rent a room of the house and allow use of the treehouse as an amenity to meet even existing regulations.
But village staff, in revising the code for rentals on residential property, have created a new category called "short-term rentals" and say that Alexander's home is the only example they now know of.
The proposed requirements for this category include yearly inspections, an annual license fee of $60 and payment of the village's 8 percent hotel tax.
"It looks like they want a cut of the pie," Alexander laughed.
Nevertheless, he said he's willing to live with these new requirements if they are indeed the extent of the new regulation. He added that he would resist any effort to reclassify his home as commercial property for tax purposes.
Alexander said he keeps a boat in Chicago which he also rents out at airbnb.com. Though Chicago doesn't require a license or inspection, it does collect a rental tax which airbnb pays the city directly.
He said he'd check with Schaumburg to see if airbnb can also pay the village's hotel tax directly.
Alexander said he thinks village staff members are wrong in their belief that he's the only one in Schaumburg renting rooms short-term, and that officials would find several more that do so by checking the listings on airbnb and similar websites.
The village board will vote Tuesday, Aug. 11, on whether to refer the draft regulations to the zoning board of appeals for further review.
The zoning board's recommendations must receive final approval from the village board, but it's expected that the regulations could take effect by late September, Schaumburg Community Development Director Julie Fitzgerald said.
Alexander said that the treehouse and its rental have never generated any complaints among its neighbors. Fitzgerald said the only complaints she's heard concerned the media presence in the neighborhood during the late spring when Alexander's treehouse was inspiring new rules for building treehouses.
Though Alexander's was grandfathered in, new treehouses in Schaumburg must be less than 100 square feet, no more than 28 feet high and at least 10 feet from property lines.