In preparing this week’s cover story, Gambit sent the following questions to every member of the New Orleans City Council, as well as to the office of Mayor Mitch Landrieu, following up with phone calls.
• Do you think short-term rental websites should operate legally in New Orleans?
• Should whole-home short-term rentals be allowed?
• Do you own rental property in New Orleans?
• If so, would you consider using them for short-term rentals?
City Council President Jason Williams and District E Councilman James Gray never responded.
Here are the unedited responses from the other elected officials:
Mayor Mitch Landrieu:
We are committed to seeking broad stakeholder input in order to establish regulations on short-term rentals that are workable, equitable and enforceable. It is our goal to regulate, tax and limit short-term rentals in the city.
Mayor Landrieu does not own rental property.
Council Vice President:
Do you think short-term rental websites should operate legally in New Orleans?
It would be naive to expect that there is any rational scenario in which short term rental websites would stop operating in New Orleans. I believe that short term rental websites are in New Orleans to stay, like they are in all major tourist cities in the world (even in spite of attempted absolute bans). I believe, and have stated many times, that the most practical way to reduce the negatives of short term rentals is to regulate them and harness due tax and fee dollars for aggressive enforcement against bad operators or actors.
Should whole-home short-term rentals be allowed?
Whole-home short term rentals are, in fact, currently allowed in some areas of the city under the Master Plan and CZO. In these circumstances, and perhaps in other very limited circumstances, I believe whole-home short term rentals can be appropriate and beneficial, particularly as a tool for addressing some of the 10,000+ blighted properties in our city. Any allowance of whole home rentals should be heavily regulated.
Do you own rental property in New Orleans?
If so, would you consider using them for short-term rentals?
No. Operating a short term rental appears to be a very labor intensive endeavor. It is not a business model that I foresee having an interest in attempting.
Councilwoman, District A:
The outright prohibition of short term rentals currently in place for most of the City is not working due to the extreme difficulty involved in enforcing such a ban. We are working on legislation that makes sense for New Orleans’ neighborhoods and that we can enforce. There must be some accountability and enforcement to protect our neighborhoods. I do believe the various Short Term Rental platforms should operate within the framework of our municipal regulations. It is my hope that these platforms agree, or that we can find a way to require them to only advertise rentals with City permit numbers.
The City Planning Commission previously recommended not allowing the “principal,” whole house rentals. I am in favor of prohibiting whole house rentals in residential neighborhoods, as I believe this type of short term rental poses the biggest threat to the quality of life of our long-term residents. I am informed that most of the complaints received stem from whole house rentals, many of which have out of town owners. I am also in favor of requiring owner-occupancy and homestead exemptions for the proposed “Accessory” and “Temporary” short term rentals. I am also in favor of banning short term rentals in areas of the City with existing, long standing protections against transient land uses. I intend to work with the administration and my fellow councilmembers to pass legislation that addresses these concerns and provides enforceable regulations. I do own rental property in the City, but I rent to long-term renters and intend to continue to do so.
Councilwoman, District B:
We’re really interested in seeing what the City Planning Commission does given the council motion directing them to reexamine short-term rentals from the Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance.
Councilwoman, District C:
Short term rentals, and any governing legislation, involve the issues of enforcement, quality of life, property rights and availability of housing to name a few. This process is still unfolding and the Commission has not yet made its final recommendation. I am continually receiving the input of stakeholders and residents. All of this will be weighed as we move through the process.
Councilman, District D:
Councilmember Brossett does not own any rental property.
“The appropriate regulatory enforcement mechanisms need to be in place before short-term rentals are allowed to legally operate in New Orleans, if the Council so chooses. I do believe there are places where short-term rentals will work, but I also have many concerns regarding this issue including the effects on the affordability of housing, preserving the integrity of neighborhoods, prioritizing adequate housing inspections, ensuring public safety, and preventing the commercialization of residential neighborhoods as a result of whole house short-term rentals.”
Councilman, District E: