Angry neighbors demanded Monday night that Evanston officials shut down a vacation rental operation in a home at 2515 Ashland Ave.

But aldermen postponed any immediate action, instead asking city staff to come up with a plan for regulating or banning such uses.

Mark Rozati, of 2509 Ashland Ave., said he wouldn’t have bought on his block, across from St. Athanasius school, if he’d known there’d be a hotel next door.

Several speakers, including Jim Mullenix of 2525 Ashland Ave., said the city should be able to bar vacation rentals under the city regulation of home occupations or based on some other existing ordinance.

Others said they feared for the safety of children in the neighborhood with transients they didn’t know living on the block.

An Evanston Now check this morning of a half dozen national websites offering vacation rentals found a dozen listings for homes, condos or apartments in Evanston, none of which appear to have drawn any public complaints from neighbors.

Listings for Evanston vacation rentals this morning on Airbnb.com.

Most list glowing testimonials from former renters and specify that the operators expect their guests to be quiet and not disturb the neighobrs.

But the property on Ashland has drawn complaints, as has another property at 1525 Dobson St., whose owner took the city to federal court after officials tried to shut it down.

That suit, which is still pending, has led to a preliminary ruling that has left the city’s legal department leery of trying to launch a further crackdown on vacation rentals without new legislation.

Two aldermen who fought unsuccessfully recently to tighten regulation of bed and breakfast operations in Evanston — Judy Fiske, 1st Ward, and Melissa Wynne, 3rd Ward, tried Monday to link regulation of vacation rentals to a renewed effort to crack down on B&Bs.

But other aldermen were having none of that idea. Alderman Ann Rainey, 8th Ward, said bed and breakfasts are very different. She said there’s no supervision on site of vacation rentals.

“They’re advertised as party houses,” she said, citing the operation on Dobson in her ward.

None of the five Evanston vacation rentals listed on Airbnb.com this morning, or the five listed on Vacation Rentals By Owner, or the two listed on FlipKey promoted the properties as being suitable for partying.

Most, but not all, indicated that the guest would be renting a portion of the building or unit and that the owners would be on site during the stay.

No Evanston vacation rental listings were found this morning on Craigslist,  VacationRentals.com or HomeAway.com.

A previous staff proposal to license vacation rentals was rejected by aldermen at the Sept. 24 Planning and Development Committee meeting. Rainey called that proposal one of the most ill-considered ordinances she’d ever seen.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

Join the Conversation


  1. Rant!

    The owner should be allowed to use his property as a vacation rental if he/she so chooses. At the same time, it should be expected that the owner not rent the place out to loud, rude, inconsiderate parties. If the owner fails to do this and there *are* complaints, then perhaps someone in city government should pay him/her a visit to discuss the problem. Don't levy any fines, don't change any laws, don't send a letter, don't make a phone call. Arrange a visit and talk it out.

    And here's a thought…..why are the loud/rude/inconsiderate renters not in trouble for disrupting the neighborhood? In this situation, shouldn't the guilty party be the renters? Why not hold the renters accountable? I know "the law" probably places the guilt on the owner of the property, but we all know it shouldn't.

    Anyway, there's a rant for ye.

  2. City Building Department is the problem

    The problem here is the building department, and the director.   They do not want to enforce zoning.  R1 is single family residental use. So where is the problem?

    If someone has a stream of renters, or users, this is not a single family use, but is a Hotel.  The residence is not zone for Hotel use.

    I do not see the problem, other than our staff, the director does not want to enforce the zoning.

    Ofcourse the council in its wisdom, now created bed and breakfasts in R1 areas. that is a Hotel use.,

    Can this owner now turn around and have a bed and breakfast at this home?

    What is staff's solution more ordinances and regulations, rather than use the existing ordinance and actually do the leg work.  Shows like the whole idea of licensing landlords, more regulation and not using the existing ones.

    Ofcourse there are procedures that must be followed in the process to enforce the ordinances which staff will not likely do, which then causes law suits, which our crack legal group must handle, It appears thelaw department is losing one of these suits already. ofcourse they pointed out they saved us $350,000. ( I have a bridge over the canal I can sell you )

    Wouldn't it be nice to have an alderperson that took some control of the situation?

  3. Can I have some cheese with that whine?

    Let me get this straight. Evanston neighbors can't talk with neighbors about their property, its use, tenants and condition so the whiny neighbors go to the city to resolve the issues. Then the city administration and elected officials proposes new laws when laws for R1 property use are already on the books. How broken is that? No wonder this community can't solve the violence problem.

  4. Harrassing aldermen are at work

    Seriously! Another example of bullying Rainey and crew manipulating facts to suit their agenda of control and dictatorship. Let taxpayers do what they want with their own properties. Ugh!!! Yet another, unnecessary abuse of power to regulate taxpaying citizens. I have a suggestion, why not "ask" owners to stipulate no loud noise that disrupts neighbors on the block, to their renters? And whining neighbors tell the owner instead of whining to the money leeching alderpersons. Oh! Silly me! This is also a way for the City of Evanston to get more money from their taxpaying citizens.

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