NEW ORLEANS (WGNO)—The debate about short-term rentals in residential areas is heating up as the New Orleans City Council gets closer to finalizing new rules. 

Recommendations made by the City Planning Commission last week regarding short-term rentals include a limit of two residential permits per block and that the operator lives on site.

Keller Williams Realty New Orleans team leader Cody Caudill says the imposed recommendations do not protect the rights of those who operate short-term rentals.

“They went through the correct process, they owned it, and now they’re going to be put in limbo, and that concerns us for the current owners and then future investors,” Caudill said. “They’re going to look at the city and wonder ‘is this a place I can invest in?’”

The real estate agent says, with these recommendations, affordable homeownership is at stake for those who rely on short-term rentals.

Cody Caudill, Keller Williams New Orleans team leader

“The city gave a license to somebody to run an STR, which there are not many, they should be allowed to continue to operate that way,” Caudill said. “It affects somebody’s ability to pay their mortgage in a lot of cases.”

As of late last year, there were 1,300 legally obtained residential permits.  

Jessica Drews owns and operates a short-term rental in Lakeview and says it has helped her and her husband pay their bills after their homeowners’ insurance doubled.

“Just trying to make ends meet right now, so for us, it’s about keeping what we have established going to be able to be able to afford our mortgage and private school for our kids and enjoy the city we love,” Drews said.

Drews says if the city does impose tighter rules, they will have a life-changing impact.

“We’ve had a lot of conversations about totally moving away and leaving the city,” Drews said. “We would likely keep that home, but we would have long-term rentals, and we would leave.”

A federal judge has given the city council until March 31 to pass a new short-term rental law.