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N.O. Council restricts short-term rentals

Cites unfair competition, lack of tax payments



  The New Orleans City Council voted 6-0 July 10 to tighten restrictions on unlicensed short-term rentals (such as those offered by Airbnb).

  The Council voted to rewrite "vague" language in the city's comprehensive zoning ordinance regarding "transient vacation rentals." The new language defines them as "rentals in a dwelling, hotel, motel, timeshare building, motor lodge, boarding and lodging home, trailer, tourist court or tourist home to nonresidents with duration of occupancy of less than thirty (30) days." The rewrite removes a requirement that a rental occur "over the course of one or more years."

  Councilwoman at-Large Stacy Head said the amendment addresses the "growing number of unregulated, illegal and some problematic short-term rentals" that are "not paying their fair share of taxes and competing at an unfair advantage."

  Head said the city needs to "put together a way to regulate, at times restrict, and harness the dollars from them. This is the first step."

  Proponents of the restrictions, many of them local bed-and-breakfast operators, asked for tighter regulations and stronger enforcement of nonpayment of taxes for what they said amounted to unfair competition. Opponents included members of the Alliance for Neighborhood Prosperity, who requested the City Council consider legalization, registration, reasonable regulations and enforcement for short-term rental arrangements. Several owners of Airbnb properties also spoke against the new restrictions, saying the service allowed tourists to explore other parts of the city.

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