New Orleans plans to ban Airbnb rentals

City council members say AirBnBs drive up housing prices because some people use them to earn extra income.

For some people, especially those who love bed and breakfasts, the next vacation at The Big Easy might not be so easy. If a local New Orleans City Council politician has his way, Airbnb rentals could very well be banned.

The problem, according to council member Kristen Gisleson Palmer, of such rentals on what is called “whole houses” drive up housing costs, especially in historic neighborhoods. Soaring home prices are happening through investors buying residences with the aim of renting them out to vacationers, while neighbors are stuck with the noise from rowdier tourists and the accumulation of strewn trash in the communities.

If Gisleson Palmer’s motion passes, it will not prevent residents from renting out portions of their residences as bnb establishments, as long as those owners still live in those premises. The proposal submitted to City Council is strictly for developers and other real estate opportunists who want to use entire homes to make a quick buck.

However, the proposal includes heavier restrictions in the French Quarter and Garden District neighborhoods of the city. In these areas, the council member wants to reinforce an existing ban on short-term rentals. Landlords looking to make money from rentals in resorts in more commercial areas should ensure that an equal amount of affordable housing is as available as vacation rentals.

Unsurprisingly, developers and rental companies in New Orleans are angry at the proposal. Airbnb claimed the motion would become law for property owners who rely on short-term rentals because a major source of income would be devastated. Another organization, HomeAway, said the program was an extreme way to disadvantage homeowners investing in certain areas of the city.

Investors also say such a ban would prevent the revitalization of more run-down neighborhoods and limit tourism spending in New Orleans. Another added that the city would also be self-depriving, as such a ban would also reduce the amount of taxes collected from property owners who negotiate short-term rentals of entire homes.

A final vote on the proposal is expected in May.

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