B&B owners affected by illegal short-term rentals want city enforcement

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wwltv.com

Posted on May 19, 2014 at 6:05 AM

Jaclyn Kelley / Eyewitness News
Email: jkelley@wwltv.com | Twitter: @jkelleyWWL

NEW ORLEANS - Trendy websites like airbnb.com can offer a pretty reasonable stay in some of the priciest neighborhoods in the city of New Orleans.

With a destination like New Orleans to attract visitors, homeowners are making a killing renting out their places, but there's just one problem - it's illegal.

"Right now the law specifically states that in the Marigny you can't rent a place out for less than 30 days, and the french quarter I believe is 60 [days]," says Mile Swanson, the President of the Faubourg Marigny Improvement Association.

Swanson says, with the popularity of these websites, the number of illegal short term rentals in the city has exploded.

"We watched, in just the last six months on one website, it go from 310 properties to over 610 properties," said innkeeper and President of the Professional Innkeepers Association of New Orleans Bonnie Rabe.

Rabe says it's creating big problems for neighborhoods in the Marigny, French Quarter and Garden District.

"When you have absentee owners, it affects the quality of life in the neighborhood in terms of noise, parking, trash," said Swanson.

Local bed and breakfast owners are feeling the affects too. They say it is driving away business.

"Several of my innkeepers have commented to me that their numbers are down progressively," said Rabe.

Matt Easley, who owns A Creole Cottage Bed and Breakfast in the Marigny, is just one of many small business owners seeing the affects firsthand.

"Within a half block of me, in any direction, there's a total of 14 illegal B&Bs," says Easley.

He says even though he has contacted the city, nothing is being done. So residents turned to their newly-elected District C Councilwoman Nadine Ramsey, who says she is committed to finding a solution.

"I believe we can look at other cities who have successfully done it and some cities are putting stricter enforcement's in," says Ramsey. "There is a way for it to be regulated and we just have to stay on top of it."

Organizers of the weekend home tour will be holding an information session Tuesday at St. Paul Lutheran Church as part of their continued effort to bring awarness to city laws and the need for enforcement.

 

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