Illegal Short Term Rentals

The FMIA held a city wide informational session to call for the city to take action against illegal short term rentals on May 20. Learn more info about illegal short term rentals.

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Welcome to the 42nd Annual FMIA Home and Garden Tour. This year’s tour celebrates legally operating B&B’s and Guest Houses in the Marigny while also calling attention to a serious issue we’re having with illegal short term rentals (STR). With a nod to Mr. Rogers, we ask: “Won’t you B&B my neighbor?” It’s a query for every neighborhood!

What would your neighborhood be like if nobody knew their neighbors? Is it really o.k. for property owners to turn apartments and houses into STRs? How many is too many? What’s the difference between a B&B, a Guest House, and an illegal STR? Why does it matter?

The FMIA is working with the Professional Innkeepers Association of New Orleans (PIANO), and others, to provide information regarding B&B best practices and standards, economic impact estimates, quality of life and safety issues. Here are just a few points and counter points for consideration:

  • Legal B&B’s and Guest Houses contribute hundreds of thousands of dollars each year in taxes and fees that go directly into the city’s coffers to support infrastructure and city wide services.
  • Current law allows for one owner occupied licensed B&B per block. STR’s for less than 39 days (60 in the French Quarter) are illegal in New Orleans.
  • Legally operating establishments are owner-occupied, helping to maintain the integrity of the neighborhood via owners’ vested interest in quality of life issues for the area.
  • Illegal short term rentals artificially inflate rent, reduce affordable housing inventory, create absentee owner issues, and exacerbate quality of life issues.
  • Illegal short term rentals may present safety and liability issues, and, bottom line, are against the law.

Want to know more and get involved? FMIA is calling for the city to take action and is hosting a city wide information session on illegal short term rentals - join us!

 

 

 

More information on Illegal Short Term Rentals

The FMIA sent a letter on April 15 to Andy Kopplin, Chief Administrative Officer for the City of New Orleans, asking for meeting to address the issue of illegal short term rentals. Full text of the letter.
As of publication of this newsletter, the city has not responded, even after repeated phone calls and widespread media attention.

Click here for a summary and links from the FMIA Short Term Rental Presentation Tuesday, May 20.

Read the article by Miles W. Swanson, President, FMIA from the FMAI April Newsletter

For more reading on the issue, please look at these news articles:

New Orleans confronts unlicensed short-term rentals: to legalize or keep ban? - Nola.com, 6/3/14

The answer to short-term rental problems is to legalize and regulate, group says - Nola.com, 6/3/14

Unfair BnB: What Unlicensed Short Term Rentals Mean for New Orleans - Anti-Gravity, March 2014

Air BnB Gentrification: More Guests, Empty Houses - slate.com

City’s Short-Term Rental Policy Leaves Room for Improvement - New Orleans City Business, Nov. 2, 2012

TV

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

City says cracking down on illegal short term rentals is difficult - WWLTV

Residents search for answers over illegal short-term rentals - Fox8

B&Bs Call for City-Wide Crackdown on Illegal Short Term Rentals - WGNO

Battle brewing over short-term rentals, as residents discuss Airbnb - nola.com

The Effect of Short Term Rentals on Our Neighborhood
By Miles W. Swanson, President, FMIA

Illegal bed and breakfasts and short-term rentals are one of the most pressing issues currently facing our neighborhood and city. Short-term rentals have always been an issue, but with the development of online services such as Airbnb, the popularity of short-term rentals has drastically increased. In turn, the problems they create have also increased.

The French Quarter is awash with short-term rentals, and their spread has killed much of the actual long-term residency of the quarter. The continued proliferation of short-term rentals, Airbnb, and other unlicensed bnb’s, signal the death knell for the Faubourg Marigny and other downtown neighborhoods such as the Bywater and St. Roch.

Short-term rentals stress neighborhood integrity and exacerbate existing quality of life problems, such as noise and parking. Short-term rentals drive up rents and force long-term residents out in search of cheaper rentals. Absentee owners and packs of weekend renters are becoming the norm in much of the neighborhood — no more friendly smiles from your neighbors. If we just ignore the problem it will continue to get worse until the Marigny becomes a shell of a neighborhood.
In fact, on the block of Kelerec between Royal and Pauger, there are only a few long-term residents left. On Mandeville between Royal and Dauphine, there are now several short-term rental properties operating — at least four entire houses. Just recently, a landlord on that block kicked out a long-term elderly tenant in order to make more room for his illegal short-term rental business.

There has been absolutely ZERO leadership from the city on the issue. The city could easily take steps to curb the issue and obtain additional revenue streams in the process, but instead it lets the problem fester, driving up our rents and driving out long-term residents. Perhaps, it is all part of the Mayor’s stated goal of exponentially increasing the number of visitors to our city by attracting more nationally televised events. Perhaps, the city is so dysfunctional that it is unable to take basic steps to enforce current laws. Either way, the result is the same — our neighborhoods continue to suffer because the city does nothing. The Marigny and other downtown neighborhoods must demand action and a comprehensive plan for addressing the issue from our city leadership.

Dear Mr. Kopplin:

My name is Miles Swanson, and I am the president of the Faubourg Marigny Improvement Association. I’m writing to request a meeting with you to discuss the spread of illegal short-term rentals and what we might do help the city stem this tide.

Recently, our group’s Zoning Committee met to discuss a variety of issues, including illegal short-term rentals. When that agenda item came up, our residents were very upset and very vocal. It seems that virtually every block in the Marigny have multiple houses that are now illegally rented out to overnight and weekend guests. In fact, on the next block over from me on Mandeville Street, an out of town homeowner kicked out a long term elderly tenant to make more room for his illegal short term rental business. The entire house, four units, is now short term weekend rentals. This is in addition to the three other house on that same block that are also illegal short term rentals. Understandably, the proliferation of illegal short term rentals exacerbate quality of life issues such as noise and trash, result in increased rental prices, and damage the integrity of the neighborhood. Recent local and national press coverage have brought these problems to the forefront of neighborhood discussion and concern.

This problem is not, of course, limited to the Marigny. We have all watched as our neighbors in the French Quarter have suffered the same corrosion of their residential base in part due to this practice. And now, there are reports of such activity in Treme, Uptown, Faubourg St. John, the Garden District, Carrollton, and beyond. The residents of these neighborhoods do not want their neighborhoods to be eroded and hollowed out through this practice.

We want to help. The FMIA, along with additional neighborhood organizations such as VCPORA, is organizing an informational session tentatively scheduled for the week of May 19th, to share with affected neighbors, neighborhood associations, and prospective short-term rental operators across the city what the rules are, what constitutes a legal short-term rental, the various permitting and zoning rules that apply, and what to do about illegal short-term rentals.

We would very much like to meet with you in advance of this meeting, to get your input, and talk about your office designating a point person to help citizens deal with this issue. (It’s my understanding that you, as Chief Administrative Officer, have the power to appoint someone to be responsible for tackling this problem - Sec. 54-491.1). What a win-win it would be if our information session was a venue of announcing an invigorated effort by the city to enforce the laws on illegal short-term rentals!

I’ll call your office to follow up, and appreciate your consideration of this request.

Sincerely,
Miles W. Swanson, President, FMIA