NEW ORLEANS -- Illegal short-term rentals are continuing to mushroom across the city of New Orleans. That's according to a new report released on Wednesday by three local residents wanting to get a better grasp of that landscape.
The data points to rapidly transforming neighborhoods and shrinking affordable housing.
"I've been getting very frustrated with what's going on in our neighborhood and what's been going on in the city. We've been looking at things saying, where's the fairness here?" said Ken Caron.
These "WTF" signs are popping up in neighborhoods like the Marigny and French Quarter. Simply put: the grass roots campaign is pointed at city leaders asking them "where's the fairness?" The sign depicts developer and business interests outweighing the welfare of the city's neighborhoods.
Community activist Ken Caron came up with the idea, fed up with many things including crime and illegal short-term rentals taking over his Marigny block.
"I could say on some of these blocks right here. Its 50 percent or more short-term rentals," said Caron.
A new report by three local residents is shedding light on short-term rental websites like Airbnb and Homeway.
The data collected since June shows that the average nightly rate for a listing in New Orleans at $207. Rentals of entire homes or apartments averaged $251 per night. In some cases, property owners are even asking for more than $2,000 per night.
The report also says about 70 percent of those rentals are entire houses or apartments, and it says that can put a strain on the housing market.
"The people who are basically running hotels, they're really putting a lot of pressure on neighborhoods, on housing and their neighbors," said Jeffrey Goodman.
Goodman is an urban planner who gave the report's authors some feedback. He said better enforcement of short-term rentals is necessary across the city, but accessing crucial information is tricky.
"Because the companies themselves, which are not based here, do not give out their information, do not talk about what's happening on their websites, it's really, really difficult to go to do enforcement," said Goodman.
As more signs of frustration appear on people's properties, Caron said the proliferation of illegal short-term rentals is just another example of how the city isn't enforcing the law.
"It displaces a lot of people. We don't have voters here. Probably crime will go up because we don't have people living here. The city has to get a handle on it, and we've asked them to," said Caron.
Airbnb is criticizing the authors of the short-term rental repor,t claiming the data doesn't thoroughly sample the short-term housing market in New Orleans.
To read the report, click here.