Last week, U.S. District Judge Ivan Lemelle ruled almost entirely in favor of the City of New Orleans, allowing stricter limitations on short-term rentals in residential areas of the city. The ruling was a much-anticipated response to a federal lawsuit in which plaintiffs claimed that the new rules approved by the New Orleans City Council last year were unconstitutional. These rules included limiting the number of short-term rentals to one per block, creating a lottery system for issuing permits on blocks with more than one short-term rental application, and prohibiting LLC ownership.

The PRC has supported the one-per-square density limit unless and until the city establishes a stronger track record of enforcement.

New Orleans residents, including neighborhood leaders, preservationists, housing advocates, and short-term rental owners, have been waiting on the ruling for months, during which time the city stopped issuing new permits for short-term rentals while also pausing enforcement of the rules. Unsurprisingly, confusion, and according to, an increase in illegal rentals has resulted.

Although reports indicate that the plaintiff’s lawyer is planning to appeal the decision, the City of New Orleans’ Department of Safety and Permits is taking steps to provide updated guidance in light of the ruling. On Feb. 29, it announced that the city “will now resume application reviews, license issuance and enforcement.” Specific processes for each license type are outlined on the city’s website here: Short Term Rental Administration – Announcements – Short Term Rental Update – City of New Orleans (

MaryNell Nolan-Wheatley is PRC’s Advocacy Coordinator & Public Policy Research Director.