Landmark vote could come down on short-term rentals today

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Airbnb is a website allowing users to rent lodging in private homes.

NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) – The New Orleans City Council could cast a landmark vote on short-term rentals (i.e. Airbnb) today. The meeting on short-term rentals will start at 2 p.m., but there were already supporters and opponents inside of city hall Thursday morning eager to hear how the discussion will go.

Thursday’s vote would be a motion to make an ordinance. That means the motion would be sent to the city’s legal department, where it would be crafted into law, then that measure would have to be voted on by the council. In other words, potential short-term rental regulations are still in the early stages.

A lot could happen Thursday that would affect short-term rentals in the future. The mayor is expected to detail his plan. Council members could also  propose amendments, suggestions and ideas. Then the floor will be open to the public, and city officials say that could take hours. There are a lot of passionate people on both sides of the debate.

“We are offering something totally different. We’re offering Southern hospitality, friendship, camaraderie to internationals. And they said they couldn’t afford the big hotels. It really does help us, helps us with our bills and provide a little extra income for us,” said Talmadge Mead, a short-term rental supporter.
“The regulations that we have proposed would allow people to keep renting out rooms in their homes. That’s really not the issue here. The issue here is the number of hosts and that includes individuals and corporations that are buying up entire housing units, whether they be apartments, condominiums, or homes — and turning them into de facto hotels. That’s just displacing New Orleans residents and replacing them with tourists,” said Meg Lousteau, an opponent of short-term, whole-home rentals.

Check back for updates on this developing story.

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