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Tighter rental regulations to be imposed in New Orleans

US: Following an intense, drawn-out debate, officials are inching towards putting tighter short-term rental regulations in place in New Orleans.

The proposed provision would outlaw ‘whole-home’ rentals in residential neighbourhoods in the city. In the meantime, a total ban on short-term rentals in the Garden District and the majority of the French Quarter are set to remain in place.

Under the law, hosts would also be required to live in the property they rent out and have a valid homestead exemption. They would be able to rent as many as three units in a fourplex, provided that they lived in the remaining unit and hosted no more than 12 guests each night.

Short-term rentals were legalised in New Orleans in 2016. Under the city’s current model, three kinds of rentals are authorised: accessory short-term rentals, temporary short-term rentals, and commercial short-term rentals.

Accessory short-term rentals, including a bedroom, fall within a homeowner’s property and can be rented out every night of the year.

A temporary licence places a limit on the number of available rentable nights per rental to 90 per year.

The commercial licence allows an unlimited number of rentable nights, however the property must be in a non-residential zone.

Housing rights organisations, including Jane Place Neighbourhood Sustainability Initiative, denounced the model as being too permissive.

Place said in a report: “The city’s approach to short-term rental regulation accelerates gentrification and the displacement of residents by permitting the limitless removal of homes from the housing market for conversion into short-term rentals and ignoring the inflation of overall housing costs to which rentals contribute.

“Short-term rentals in New Orleans are having a pervasive and corrosive effect on a housing market already in crisis,” she added.

Airbnb public affairs manager Laura Rillos responded in a statement: “These residents are small business owners who create jobs, restore blighted properties, and increase overall visitor spending across New Orleans.”

The new policies are expected to be written into an ordinance, which will go to a final vote at New Orleans’ city council within 90 days.