Airbnb battle: Homeowner vs. angry neighbors

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You may have a neighbor on your block or in your building who rents out their space on Airbnb, and some people do it without the proper license. (WLS)

ABC7 I-Team Investigation
You may have a neighbor on your block or in your building who rents out their space on Airbnb, and some people do it without the proper license.

The I-Team found that even if they get cited, they can legally find another way to share their home with strangers.

Salvatore Rizzo is fuming over the guests he said are in and out of a home in the Portage Park neighborhood.

"He doesn't know these people. I don't know these people. They just sign up just like a hotel," he said.

Rizzo is so upset he's been taking pictures and videos over the last several months of what he describes as several different strangers going in and out of the home, which belongs to Ron Sattarzadeh.

"They don't care about nothing, they park wherever they want, their garbage is left in the streets," Rizzo said.

Sattarzadeh was cited and fined last year for not having the proper license to operate a short-term rental.

"I thought it was legal because many people were doing it," Sattarzadeh said.

But since then, Rizzo and other neighbors say they continue to see Sattarzadeh's ad and people coming and going from his rental.

"It can be the middle of the night and you could have 15 people all of the sudden getting out of cars and walking into this house," Daniel Leeper, a neighbor, said.

"We can't condone that type of business. A. he doesn't have a license B. he doesn't have the zoning. He doesn't have the parking and it's a permanent parking area," said Ald. Ariel E. Reboyras, 30th Ward.

"I think somebody has the right to have friends visit them and if you wanna make extra cash, I think it's better, I'm making the bad neighborhood better," Sattarzadeh said.

Sattarzadeh wouldn't let a member of the I-Team inside his home but said his guests are respectful and he's there when they visit.

He also said after his 2015 citation he found a loophole in the law. The city's Business Affairs and Consumer Protection Department confirms he doesn't need a license if people stay more than 30 days.

"I mean I haven't had people stay for Airbnb since this happened," Sattarzadeh said.

Sattarzadeh admits that after the citation, he had his Airbnb ad up and running for guests to stay for more than 30 days. He also said the people who have been visiting recently are part of a free couch surfing program.

"Yes, there are people at my house, but they're not through Airbnb , they're friends, they're couch surfing friends, they stay for a few days, they don't pay me, they're just there," he said.

He says in return, he stays for free with his couch surfing buddies from all over the world.

Knowles: One of the ads does say sometimes there's actually 10 people in your home at one time.

Sattarzadeh: What happened was I was in the summertime by chance I had some the couch surfing friends, I invited four of them, but last minute they were like, 'Four of my other friends got mixed up can they come?' I'm like 'fine.'"

Sattarzadeh says he will host Airbnb guests in the future. He says it helps him pay his mortgage and make improvements to his home which he's lived in since 1977.

But Rizzo said he wants strangers off his block.

"I think that this should not be done in a residential area, there's children running around here, you're bringing people in here that don't belong here. Nobody knows who these people are," he said.

Airbnb said that all guests go through a strict profile verification process. The service also said hosts are warned to first check zoning laws in their neighborhood or their apartment building's short term rental policy.

There is currently a proposal to develop more rules for home sharing in Chicago. Airbnb says the new law will eventually address these types of concerns.

Information on current Chicago laws available on the city's website
Previous I-Team investigation on Airbnb concerns
Related Topics:
travelI-Teamtravelhotelairbnbconsumertravel tipsChicago - Downtown
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