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Tania Dall / Eyewitness News
Email: tdall@wwltv.com | Twitter: @taniadall

NEW ORLEANS -- JazzFest kicks off Friday, which means thousands of visitors are coming to New Orleans. Local entrepreneurs are hoping to cash in by advertising illegal short-term rentals.

'It is against the law,' said New Orleans Director of Safety and Permits Jared Munster.

Jazz Fest rentals pepper websites like Craigslist.com, Homeaway.com and vacationrentalsbyowner.com. It's a quick and often lucrative way for New Orleanians to make money -- but the city says not so fast.

'The city code provides that the minimum term of rental in the city is 30 days, except for in the French Quarter, which the minimum term is 60 [days],' said Munster.

Despite city code, the illegal ads are out there. For example: a shotgun in the 600 block of N. Hennessey in Mid-City is available for both Jazz Fest weekends. The price tag: $300.

Eyewitness News spoke to the owner off-camera who says he didn't realize it was against the law. He said the ad was coming down, but a day later it was still online.

Munster says offering up an illegal short-term rental or just advertising one is against the law.

'It's really an ordinance that's intended to prevent transient vacation rentals. These are residential neighborhoods that are intended for long-term occupancy,' said Munster.

Another Jazz Fest rental ad showcases a three-bedroom home with a pool on Canal Boulevard that 'sleeps six.' The Craigslist ad says it's available for the first and second weekends of Jazz Fest for $900 dollars a night, with a three-night minimum stay required.

'The economy is so screwed up right now. If you can get extra income come in, why not?' said Edward Owens, who owns a property near the Fairgrounds.

'I feel that these people own their own homes and pay taxes and stuff. They can do what they want in their house,' said Elaine Boutte, who says Jazz Fest rentals happen every year in her neighborhood.

Year after year the law breaking Jazz Fest rentals appear tempting to some, but not Jen Blatty.

'As a property owner I would never do it or I would never want my tenant to just rent out my house for a weekend festival,' said Blatty.

City officials say if you're caught renting out an illegal short-term property, the first offense is a written warning; the second offense is a $500 fine; and the third offense is a $500 fine and 30 days in jail.

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