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Getting a license in Chicago


My fiancé and I plan to list our guest bedroom on AirBnb. Because we’ll be staying in the condo with our guest, we need a bed and breakfast license (and not a vacation license) from the city. We’ve got a bunch of questions about this license–like whether we have to get training in food safety if we’re not serving breakfast, whether AirBnb’s general commercial liability insurance is acceptable, whether we have sufficient smoke detectors, etc.–but the city says we need to personally visit City Hall for a business consultation to get them answered! Gah. We’re trying to do the right thing here.

I’m posting to see if anyone has experience with this license. We won’t feel comfortable renting without it, partly because we have an HOA to convince too.


After an unfruitful visit, I finally emailed with an extremely helpful representative from City Hall. He looked into the zoning, and it turns out that the specific Planned Development in which my building is located is not zoned for B&Bs, which are considered “Lodging.” This is a huge disappointment and a bit of a surprise, since the master documents for my Planned Development zone permitted commercial, office, and residential use. I didn’t see anything about “Lodging” specifically. I wish this were more transparent. It was still wonderful to get answers from someone.

It’s nonetheless disappointing because there are hosts renting rooms within my zone. I don’t think I can bring myself to do it.

I know other regions have updated their zoning ordinances precisely to accommodate Airbnb. Does anyone have any experience with this?


Hi Civic – what ended up happening with your unit? I’m totally curious as to what part of the city you’re in?


Hi! Same issue. Chicago host here; and am wondering about legal issues. Do you have the helpful rep’s email address?



Hey have you used any laundry services for your guests like DRYV.com?

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