How will the City Regulate Short Term Rentals?

For the past few years, growing concerns about the proliferation of short term rental properties, such as AirBnB listings, have risen across the globe. In New Orleans, there are over 4,000 Airbnb listings, and almost 75% of those are for whole home rentals. After a year of examining this issue from every angle the New Orleans City Council will decide on Thursday, October 20whether to legalize Short Term Rentals and what types of rental listings will be allowed.

An Update on Short Term Rental Types:

Type T – Temporary
These are designed for homeowners in residential areas to list their whole homes for big events, like Mardi Gras and Jazz Fest, and are limited to 4 permits and a maximum of 30 days per year. new set of amendments has proposed extending the temporary permits to a maximum of 15 permits and 120 days, which effectively morphs this type into the widely opposed Type P – Principal Residential.

Type P – Principal Residential
These year-round STRs allow for whole homes to be rented out in areas zoned residential and require no owner on site. Considered to be the most destabilizing to New Orleans neighborhoods, the City Planning Commission has twice voted to remove this type from the package of STR recommendations for many reasons. Here are a few:

  • The rapid growth of whole-house rentals has contributed to rising property values that disproportionately affect housing affordability and availability. Prospective home-buyers are competing with STR investors, who are willing to pay more for these income-producing properties. Evictions of long-term residents allow landlords to convert dwelling units into STRs.
  • Predictable zoning regulations separate intense commercial uses from residential ones for quality of life reasons.  Entertainment and Hospitality zones have a measurable increase in noise, litter, and parking limitations.  Policing these nuisance violations places additional burden on NOPD.
  • Whole-house rentals depopulate neighborhoods by replacing permanent residents with temporary tourists. If your home is surrounded by STRs, you’ve lost the neighbors that create your community and contribute to overall security. Neighborhoods depend on residents to pay taxes, vote, and advocate for essential services.

Type A – Accessory
These allow residentially zoned homeowners to rent out a room in their house, or the other half of a double, provided that they live on-site. AirBnB has launched a campaign in preparation for the final vote which focuses on the benefits Accessory listings offer its hosts, namely the additional income that allows property owners to bridge a growing gap in housing affordability. To be clear, these listings have drawn the least amount of criticism and are generally acceptable to the majority of stakeholders.

Type C – Commercial
Lastly, this type allows for a whole unit listing, without owner supervision, in any Commercial, Mixed Use or Neighborhood Business District. No density restrictions have yet been placed on these.
The Preservation Resource Center encourages tourism – the exploration and enjoyment of the entire city.  However, the vibrancy, sustainability and appeal of our unique neighborhoods will disappear if STRs are allowed to proliferate unabated.

The PRC remains firmly opposed to the Principal Residential type of Short Term Rental based on the numerous quality of life issues that non-owner occupied, whole house rentals have in residentially zoned neighborhoods. We feel strongly that the remaining types – Accessory, Temporary and Commercial – are a commercial use and must be regulated as such with an effective and enforceable regulatory framework – including proper licensing and taxation – before gaining legality.

Revisit our initial statement on the effects of STRs here in New Orleans.

The Preservation Resource Center has signed onto the Nola Neighbors coalition in support of balanced and sound solutions to regulate legal Short Term Rentals while minimizing adverse effects on our existing population. These policy recommendations are crafted to give neighborhoods a voice in deciding if these commercial uses are appropriate in their boundaries, promote common-sense density restrictions, and allow the economic benefits of home-sharing in a fair manner.

Let YOUR City Council know that non-owner occupied, whole house rentals for more than thirty days are effectively commercial hotels inserted into residential areas.

If you would like to attend, this issue is scheduled to be heard after 11:00 AM and public comments will likely be limited to one minute each. If you are there to speak in opposition, wear red!

Call or email your City Council:
Councilmember At Large Jason Williams  –  [email protected] / 658-1070
Councilmember At Large Stacy Head  –  [email protected] / 658-1060
Councilmember District A Susan Guidry  –  [email protected] / 658-1010
Councilmember District B LaToya Cantrell –  [email protected] / 658-1020
Councilmember District C Nadine Ramsey –  [email protected] / 658-1030
Councilmember Distirct D Jared Brossett –  [email protected] / 658 1040
Councilmember Distirct E James Gray –  [email protected] / 658 1050