What We’re Saying: Three Facts the New Orleans City Council Must Consider as it Revisits the Short-Term Rental Ordinance

There is a reason visitors choose short-term rentals.

Short-term rental attend functions at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center. They go to the French Quarter and downtown. They come to New Orleans for business, pleasure and conventions. They patronize bars, restaurants and attractions across the city. Yet, they choose to stay in short-term rentals for a variety of reasons. They want more privacy and choice. Those visiting with children may opt for a more home-like environment. If the city of New Orleans banned short-term rentals, the practice of making vacation rentals available for tourists in New Orleans would not end. It would only continue unregulated and unsecured.

There is no real data linking Short-term rentals to the lack of affordable and subsidized housing in New Orleans.

According to an economic impact analysis prepared by the University of New Orleans Hospitality Research Center, there is no data that links STRs to the lack of affordable or subsidized housing. In fact, over the last year since STRs have been legal, average and median rent prices in New Orleans have decreased. The affordable housing crisis is real, of course. But leaders would address this problem much more effectively by focusing on policy that helps put affordable housing stock on the market. For example, offering developers tax credits and incentives to make a portion of their units affordable is one way to address the issue. However, this only works when our leaders hold developers to these agreements.

Short-term rentals are a boon to the local economy. STRs ought to be regulated, but not prohibited.

According to the economic impact analysis prepared by the University of New Orleans Hospitality Research Center, New Orleans short term rentals create $900 million in local economic activity and support 10,200 jobs. They have helped local families earn $263 million. That is money that also fuels the local economy and has helped families become more financially stable. Many of the people benefitting from this opportunity are local residents. Non-owner occupied homes represent only 2.2 percent of the overall housing units. Most homeowners that make their property available as short-term rentals own just one vacation rental. Local homeowners—those that stay and pay in Orleans Parish—are just as concerned by out-of-town corporations operating large numbers of short-term rentals. In fact, they are troubled by the ability of out-of-town entities to come into New Orleans, purchase housing stock and put it on the vacation rental market with ease. Policy that helps control density and caps the number of short-term rental units any single entity own is welcome, especially corporate owners with no ties to the city. But prohibiting STRs outright would only hurt those who need them most—local families.

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