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Chicago Airbnb Ordinance Challengers Lack Standing

By George Khoury, Esq. on January 16, 2019 5:59 AM

The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals has done more than just uphold the lower district court's decision against one Chicago-area pro-Airbnb group's challenge to the city's recent anti-Airbnb ordinance; the appellate court has all but ordered the matter dismissed due to a standing problem.

As it turns out, none of the plaintiffs, nor the non-profit group Keep Chicago Livable, have standing to challenge the city of Chicago's Shared Housing Ordinance. The ordinance, among its many requirements, forces individuals who want to list their properties on Airbnb or similar sites to get a business license from the city, as well as comply with reasonable regulations like providing clean linens.

No Injury, No Standing

While the plaintiffs had filed an appeal from the district court's denial of their motion for a preliminary injunction stopping enforcement of the ordinance, the appellate court seized upon the more important standing issue, and at oral arguments, requested additional briefing from the parties on that issue.

Unfortunately for the challengers, as the appellate court noted, none of the plaintiffs had, nor did the organization have, standing to bring their claims. Basically, as the court explained, despite the conclusory allegations, neither the organization, nor any of the named plaintiffs, could show that the ordinance had injured them or caused them damages. One of the lead plaintiffs had sold their Chicago home, and no longer lived in the area, and thus would not even benefit if the challenge was successful.

The appellate court did however provide the plaintiffs with an avenue to continue the case, but sadly, it would seem to involve finding new plaintiffs, one that have actually suffered an injury or damages as a result of the ordinance, to substitute in as parties, or be re-filed as a new matter.

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