The Hotel Next Door: Short Term Rental Update

Real Estate

City Council was supposed to vote on a new ordinance legalizing short term rentals in June, postponed to (for now) August 9th. I found this story in Gambit / Best of New Orleans to have a pretty comprehensive review of the issues.

It seems that this is another issue where New Orleans charming, laissez–faire approach to enforcement of rules has gotten a bit out of hand. A few mom-and-pops generating some extra cash in the tourist season has turned in to over 4000 short term rental listings on one web site alone. Many feel that the mom and pops should be left alone, but whole-house rentals, or at least too many of them in a neighborhood, should be prohibited. By legalizing, taxing and enforcing, some allege the problem can be taken care...

A group of short-term rental operators want it legalized & taxed to legitimize their currently-illegal livelihoods. The taxes could feasibly fund enforcement. The city is clearly missing out on the possible tax revenues, and the current situation is unfair to the licensed hotels, guest houses and B&Bs who do pay taxes.

The dilemma is that the majority (70%) of short term rentals - and the greatest opportunity for tax revenues - are whole house rentals, which are the least popular for neighborhood residents. If these aren't legalized, there may not be enough revenue to pay for enforcement  against the operators who continue to operate illegally. In a city where we have a laissez faire attitude to rules and enforcement anyway, many doubt that any enforcement will happen, regardless of the revenue collected.

Stay tuned to see what the Council decides this month - or if the vote is postponed again