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Urgent need in legal support

#1

I am looking support from someone who has needed to connect with Airbnb legal department. I have an issue with the registration in Chicago and Airbnb made an error and so city of Chicago wants me to delete my listing. If I do that I lose everything. If I don’t, city of Chicago could fine me. I have had issues before with the legal department and it takes months for them to contact me. Does anyone know how to get support from legal department directly?

#2

What sort of error did Airbnb make that led to you being fined for registration issues @Lizfell08?

I don’t know any way of speaking to them other than their customer services. Could you not go back to the previous people you dealt with in their legal department?

#3

Squeal loudly on Facebook and Twitter- only way I got sone action

#4

Lose what exactly? I know that you don’t literally mean everything. Everything on your listing can be copied and saved.

Is getting in touch with Airbnb’s legal department really going to help? Is this the advice of your attorney? If so, I’d see what another attorney has to say.

#5

Thanks for your response. If i delete my listing, I lose 120 reviews, superhost, airbnb plus and the cancellation of all the existing guests. I need airbnb to connect with City of Chicago to allow me to re-apply for a registration since it expired. City of Chicago said airbnb can fix this issue, but in the meantime if I continue to list my expired registration listing I am at risk of hefty fines. I don’t know how a personal attorney could aid in this issue.

#6

When you need urgent legal assistance on an emergency basis, be specific.

If the City of Chicago has had time to proceed against you, it’s not really an emergency. Take a deep breath, bullet point it, and keep trying Air.

#7

Thanks for your response! City of Chicago notified me that I had received notice that it was time to renew my registration and because I did not renew it, my registration expired and that I would need to delete my listing. I called city of chicago and told them that I never received any notice, they told me airbnb was suppose to notify, they didn’t. Because they did not notify me, my registration expired and City of Chicago wants me to delete my listing- I have lots of upcoming guests which would need to be cancelled, I would lose the revenue, I would lose my listing with all the over 100 5 star reviews, superhost, airbnb plus. Airbnb punishes hosts that cancel with guests, but I have no choice. I don’t know what to do. I have tried to deal with the previous people I had worked with before but they won’t response.

#8

That has worked for me in the past, but is unfortunately helping this situation.

#9

It has to start with a call to Air but you can also ask to have it escalated. And you can tweet to @Airbnb and @AirbnbHelp but my advice would be to keep it very, very, very civil - at least until you’ve been put in touch with the right people. Do not trash them on Twitter - it will backfire.

Also, you could see if there is a Facebook group for Chicago Airbnb hosts. Another host may have gone through the same thing.

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#10

Thanks for your response! The story is: City of Chicago notified me that I had received notice that it was time to renew my airbnb city registration and because I did not renew it, my registration expired and that I would need to delete my listing. I called city of chicago and told them that I never received any notice, they told me airbnb was suppose to notify, they didn’t. Because they did not notify me, my registration expired and City of Chicago wants me to delete my listing- I have lots of upcoming guests which would need to be cancelled, I would lose the revenue, I would lose my listing with all the over 100 5 star reviews, superhost, airbnb plus. Airbnb punishes hosts that cancel with guests, but I have no choice. I don’t know what to do. It is urgent because if I do not take down the listing City of Chicago can fine me, if i do take it down I lose $$ I am dependent on and my partnership with airbnb.

#11

Thanks for your advice, unfortunately I have already trashed them on Facebook because it was the only thing that had helped me in the past. I have called airbnb customer support several times and am put a list. I have not had good experiences with this in the past. They have either dropped my case, or connected with me several weeks after I have needed the support. That is why I am wondering if there is any way to connect with the legal team directly.

#12

I’m surprised that Airbnb would agree to have it be their responsibility to notify hosts of locality business registration requirements, but maybe they have some sort of agreement with Chicago.
In my county, it is my responsibility (as with any other business located here) to keep track of my permit renewal date and apply.
Why not try calling or visiting the Chicago licensing department and humbly and apologetically requesting to renew and asking for a penalty waiver, as a very small business that contributes to the tourist economy of the city? In these circumstances, it is usually helpful to say to the bureaucracy, “Oh dear, I really need your help, I got this scary notice, I want to make it right, what do I do?”
If they won’t waive, how much is the fine? Is it cost-effective to just pay it, file your registration, and move on?
It sounds like Chicago has notified you to delist but Chicago does not have access to remove your listing. Unless Chicago has an agreement with Airbnb that the city can require Airbnb to delist you, you are just running an unregistered business and are subject to fines and penalties. You probably got a form letter from the city automatically when your registration period expired and they didn’t have a record of you renewing.
I’m an accountant, and trust me, businesses file stuff late all the time (for example, there’s usually an automated calculation of x% penalty if you file sales and use tax payments late). Unless Chicago is really horrible and draconian in their punishments, you may not have to panic and lose your livelihood and spend $$ on lawyers.

4 Likes
#13

I pulled up Airbnb’s instructions https://www.airbnb.com/help/article/1495/chicago-home-sharing-registration--frequently-asked-questions

Airbnb provides for Chicago registration through their platform as a service. This is not legal advice, I’m not a lawyer, but if I were you I would just apply for your registration through the Airbnb platform and change your listing to say “Registration Pending” per instructions below. Then I would call or visit Chicago license department and humbly explain your situation and that you are in the process of remedying your late registration through Airbnb. Make a screen shot of your Airbnb application to show them, and to have in your files in case things get ugly.

"Can I list my property on Airbnb before my registration is approved?

Yes. Once you submit your registration application, you can continue to list and book your space as usual until the city gets back to you with a registration number or more information. While awaiting further instruction, the city requires that hosts indicate “Registration pending” in their listing description. We’ll handle that part of the process for you."

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#15

City of Chicago won’t know the difference between you snoozing and you deleting. Snooze all your listings, host the booked guests while you continue to try Airbnb CS to get your renewal.

5 Likes
#16

Thank you for your kind response. I am really hoping you are right. It would probably be a good idea to go in person and talk to the licensing department. I have spoken to them over the phone but they told me I needed to contact airbnb to fix it. The only thing I am worried about is that if I connect more with the City of Chicago, our listing will be more on their radar and consequently they might fine us. I don’t know anyone who has been fined but from my research the fines are 1000-5000 each day your listing is listed. Its absolutely ridiculous and I cannot image the city fining us so much but then I don’t know. It is confusing too because the city of chicago makes SOOOO much money off of airbnb. They tax my guests (I believe) 20%. Anyways, thank you so much for your time and advice, we will see where this leads us

#17

So far, that is our plan. Thank you for your advice! Luckily we are pretty booked for the next couple months. Hopefully that does buy us some time and they do not know the difference!

1 Like
#18

Thank you for your kind advice- right when I found out that it had been expired, I did go to our listing and renew it: it says renewal is pending and that we are able to continue to host… but that is a different message than the city of chicago. I think I will take your advice and visit city of chicago license department in person and explain our situation. Hopefully, they would accept the late registration! City of Chicago is making so much money from airbnb I just don’t know how it would be in their interest to reject my application. Who knows though! Thanks again fir your advice.

#19

Ugh, what awful fines! I understand your reluctance to engage, but you already got one notice. Maybe go formal, and just write back to them via priority mail with tracking number, referencing the notice number: “Thank you for bringing the matter of our registration to our attention per your notice of [date], notice number [xxxx]. We have filed our registration application with Airbnb and are no longer accepting bookings until our registration is current. Enclosed is a copy of our application and your office’s notice letter.”

3 Likes
#20

Can’t you just deactivate the listing to appease the city? You need not delete.

2 Likes
#21

She would lose all her bookings if she deactivated.

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