NEW ORLEANS – Council members are expected to take up how to enforce short-term rentals in the city, with some suggestions going as far as cutting off property utilities for violators.
Some New Orleans residents like Meg Lousteau are hoping that at Thursday’s meeting, council members will think long and hard about how they plan to regulate and enforce short-term rentals in the Crescent City.
“I can tell you that in Treme we’ve seen a couple of episodes of behavior that would make a lot of people blush because we have tourists who come in that think that New Orleans is one big party zone,” said Lousteau.
Thursday the council is slated to vote on proposed regulations that would require Airbnb to provide the city with monthly reports on who’s renting their home and how often. With that data, the city believes it will be able to accurately track and crack down on violators who could face hundreds of dollars in fines, liens on their home, and even having their power shut off.
“I don’t know at this time whether that’s a direct communication between the city and Entergy or the city and the platform or all three,” said Brossett.
Councilman Jared Brossett voted against legalizing short-term rentals last month but wants to work towards how to keep a close eye on them.
“We’re talking about neighborhoods where we were raised as children,” said Brossett.
Brossett and his colleagues will also be discussing requiring the Airbnb company to begin paying taxes on January 1 including a fee towards the city’s Neighborhood Housing Improvement Fund, which was started in order to fund affordable housing initiatives.
“In addition to that where I think it needs to go further is that we need to know, for possible investigation by safety and permits these platforms need to respond to the city when we call and request for information,” said Brossett.
Lousteau also wants to see some additions, like the reintroduction of the homestead exemption that would require all homeowners to live on the property that they are renting out.
“If we don’t have that homestead exemption requirement then that allows individuals and companies to buy dozens if not hundreds of properties in the city and turn them into de facto hotels and we haven’t found anybody that thinks that’s a good idea,” she explained.