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The Great Debate on Short-Term Rentals in New Orleans

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Renting out an unlicensed home for short-term stays on sites like Airbnb (where 890 rentals are available around town for next weekend) and VRBO is illegal, sure, but there hasn't been a real crackdown on the operation. Yet. The Faubourg Marigny Improvement Association has been quite vocal about their stance on illegal short term rentals, as demonstrated in a snippet from a letter written by the FMIA prez to the city's Chief Administrative Officer:
"It seems that virtually every block in the Marigny have multiple houses that are now illegally rented out to overnight and weekend guests....Understandably, the proliferation of illegal short term rentals exacerbate quality of life issues such as noise and trash, result in increased rental prices, and damage the integrity of the neighborhood." Others complain that it eats up the housing stock for renters, as homeowners realize they can make significantly more loot by renting to out-of-town guests—especially during Mardi Gras and Jazz Fest— rather than signing on a tenant.
This week the issue made its way to the City Planning Commission meeting where a 6-0 vote was in favor of changing the zoning rule's wordage, possibly making it easier to enforce the regulations concerning the slew of illegal short-term rentals. The current zoning defines short-term rentals as spots rented to "nonresidents over the course of one or more years with a duration of occupancy of less than 30 days." Nailing down the fact that a short-term rental has been in business for a year is tough, though, and the vote got rid of the one-year requirement. The matter will head to City Council for another vote, which could lead to crackdowns, which could cause quite the battle, a la Airbnb vs. NYC.

The Times-Pic reports that a new group called the Alliance for Neighborhood Prosperity was at the CPC meeting and they're totally Team Short-Term Rentals. Their plan calls for legalization and regulation of the properties instead of a city-wide shut down. A Lower Garden District homeowner, who prefers to remain anonymous, told Curbed NOLA that she thinks the city would be making a "great mistake" by putting an end to short-term rentals and not taking advantage of what could be a tax revenue. She agrees there should be some sort of re-worked rule book on the short-term rental scene, but says a lot of it falls on the hosts.
"I'm particular and bossy with my Airbnb tenants and I talk to them on the phone before I agrees to rent out my guesthouse to them. I make it very clear that I care about my neighborhood and if they want to stay here then they need to, as well. The last thing I would want to do is upset my neighbors and yeah, sometimes I have to break it down beforehand, like, 'Don't ever piss on the street' and 'Don't do that frat boy whooping thing when you're walking home from the bar in the middle of the night'."
She sometimes rents out her entire house along with the guesthouse for larger groups and stays at her boyfriend's place. "I meet the guests when they get into town, give them the keys and remind them to respect the LGD." She said she's never had any problems with the renters or any complaints from neighbors. "Some people will rent to anyone, they don't care how they act and they're ruining it for everyone else."
· Organized movement rises to defend Airbnb, short-term rentals in New Orleans [NOLA.com]
· UnfairBNB: What unlicensed short-term rentals mean for New Orleans [Antigravity]
· Faubourg Marigny Improvement Association [official site]