For some people, especially those who like bed and breakfast joints, a forthcoming vacation to The Big Easy might not be so easy. If one local politician on the New Orleans City Council has her way, Airbnb rentals could very well be banned.
The problem according to council member Kristen Gisleson Palmer, such rentals on what are called "whole homes" are driving up housing costs, especially in historic neighbourhoods. The spike in home prices occurs via investors buying up residences for the purpose of renting them out to vacationers, while neighbors are stuck with the noise caused by rowdier tourists and the accumulation of garbage strewn in communities.
Should Gisleson Palmer's motion be adopted into law, it won't affect locals from renting out part of their residences as bnb establishments, as long as those homeowners still live on those premises. The proposal before City Council is strictly aimed at developers and other property opportunists who want to use entire housing units to make a quick buck.
However, the proposal does include heavier restrictions in the French Quarter and Garden District areas of the city. In those parts, the council member wants to further an existing ban on short-term rentals. Owners looking to make some dough off rentals in complexes in more commercial areas need to ensure an equal amount of affordable dwellings are as available as those rentals aimed at vacationers.
Not surprisingly, developers and companies specializing in New Orleans rentals are up in arms over the proposal. Airbnb claimed that the motion becomes law property owners who rely on short-term rentals as a major revenue stream would be devastated. Another organization, HomeAway felt the scheme was an extreme way to disadvantage property owners investing in certain districts of the city.
Investors also claim that such a ban would prevent more decrepit neighborhoods from being revitalized and will limit the spending of tourism dollars in New Orleans. Another one added that the city will also shortchange itself since such a ban also cuts down on the amount of taxes being collected from property owners who deal in whole home short-term rentals.
A final vote on the proposal is expected in May.