Police hold outdoor roll call following complaints about a reported unlicensed car rental business operating on a side street in Mayfair
by BRIAN NADIG
The 17th (Albany Park) District and Alderman Samantha Nugent (39th) held an outdoor police roll call on Tuesday evening, Nov. 9, in the 4500 block of North Kildare Avenue following reports of an alleged unlicensed car rental business operating for months inside a home on the block.
Some residents have complained about parking congestion on area side streets due to the rental cars taking up space, and the city Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection has issued citations against the business, which reportedly leases cars through the Turo app.
“(Inspectors) issued a citation to the property owner (in the 4500 block) of N. Kildare Ave. for allowing the unlicensed car rental activity to continue after a notice to abate unlicensed activity went into effect on Aug. 31, 2021. Also, BACP issued citations to the operators of the car rental business for operating out of a residential location,” the department said in a statement.
Turo is designed as an online marketplace for vehicle owners to lease their cars on a temporary basis to individuals, similar to how homeowners lease their houses as vacation rentals through sites such as Airbnb.
A woman said at the roll call that some seniors moved out of the neighborhood because they could no longer park near their home and that other residents can be seen carrying groceries a block or two from their car to their home.
Police told residents at the roll call to expect increased vehicle enforcement in the area in an attempt to stop the “unwanted” activity. After the roll call officers could be seen checking parked cars on Kildare for expired license plates.
Nugent has been working with the 17th District and the business affairs, buildings and law departments to address the issue, according to an aldermanic aide.
At least 20 different vehicles are believed to have been available for lease through the business, the aide said.
Residents have reported seeing renters checking the door handles of parked cars because they cannot find the vehicle which they have leased, the aide said. The doors of the leased vehicles apparently are sometimes opened remotely by the owner at the time the rental starts, the aide said.
In some instances renters have been asked to park the vehicle on nearby North Keokuk Avenue when returning it, according to some of the postings on Turo.
The alderman does not object to residents renting out their individual car for those periods that they may not be using it but that the apparent volume of rentals on Kildare constitutes activity that should be located in a commercial area, the aide said.