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City of New Orleans legalizes short-term rentals

We thought at VVRA we should highlight cities that have recently reviewed short-term rentals and changed policies. Below is an portion of the article from The Times Picayunne, New Orleans. The City of Ventura is currently reviewing their short term vacation rental ordinance.

The New Orleans City Council approved Thursday (Oct. 20) what were described as landmark short-term rental regulations, legitimizing a practice that has flourished in recent years through listing websites. Most notable in the new rules is a limit on whole-home rentals to out-of-town guests to 90 days a year, and an outright ban on them in most of the French Quarter.

Despite the practice being illegal citywide, short-term rentals have proliferated in the city -- as many as 5,000 are estimated to exist in New Orleans -- through online listing platforms because enforcement has been nonexistent. The debate over what to do about them has played out along extremely fractured lines, and some City Council members said the issue was among the most difficult they have encountered in recent memory.During Thursday's packed City Council meeting, opponents and supporters of short-term rentals split the chamber in two, and there were frequent interruptions with audience members shouting out comments, booing and applauding speakers. When the council finally voted 6-1 to adopt the new regulations, some audience members yelled "sellout" at council members.

Although opponents of short-term rentals called for a ban making entire homes available without an owner on site, nearly all council members said doing so would make enforcement impossible. And when Councilwoman Susan Guidry tried to amend the regulations to require that whole-home rentals to be owner-occupied, it failed narrowly because Councilman Jason Williams said the online short-term rental platforms wouldn't aid the city in enforcing the new rules with that restriction.

An agreement city officials are working on with platforms such as Airbnb, VBRO and HomeAway colored much of Thursday's debate -- at least among City Council members. City officials said the companies have agreed to provide data on short-term rental hosts, the locations of their rentals and their contact information, which the platforms have not so far produced. The companies would also collect taxes on behalf of the city, which Deputy Mayor Ryan Berni said would be used to fund a $850,000 enforcement effort through a separate city bureau that would ensure rentals aren't made available for more than 90 days annually. It would also help target what the city calls "bad actors" -- short-term rental hosts who rent to large groups of people who throw noisy parties and cause trouble in neighborhoods.

"We would be the first city in the country to work out the the length of days with platforms, which I think would be a major win," Berni said, referring to the 90-day limit. "It would be one of the most robust short-term rental enforcement units in the country."

Berni added that the mayor's administration believes the regulation plan is a fair compromise that balances the significant economic impact -- Airbnb estimates $316 million in New Orleans short-term rental revenue last year -- with the "integrity" of New Orleans neighborhoods. read the whole article

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