Nov. 19, 2013: For Carl Orend, what was supposed to be a dream weekend in New Orleans recently took a horrible turn when he arrived at the Mid-City home he rented through a short-term rental website.
“The hygiene of the place was very bad. There was trash everywhere,” he said. “The place was very dirty. The back door didn’t lock properly, didn’t even close properly.”
Orend and his wife, who were visiting from the Austin area, couldn’t get a refund from the property owner.
They then spent hours trying to find a new place to crash.
“We lost around $450 for the rental and then, in addition, we had to spend around $1,000 for accommodation because that’s all we could find,” Orend said.
Problem is, a group known as the French Quarter Short-Term Rental Committee says there’s really nothing the couple can do about it.
“There is no recourse,” said Brian Furness, who co-chairs the committee. “Who do you call?”
Furness said because the short-term rentals in the city are illegal, those who run into problems are mostly on their own.
Furness and his group have been fighting to get the city to enforce its own laws against vacation rentals, but he said it’s slow-going.
The group has identified more than 560 illegal short-term rentals operating across the city on a daily basis, but the majority of them are found in the French Quarter.
Performing a quick search of numerous vacation rental websites, you’ll find the listings are plentiful.
Furness, who owns a legal French Quarter bed and breakfast, said businesses like his that play by the rules, miss out on big bucks at the hands of those who don’t.
“We figure that it’s costing (legal businesses) at least $13 million a year, and the city would be taking home a $1.3 million in taxes,” Furness said.
However, the concerns stretch well beyond the hotel/motel industry, and with the holiday season coming up, more people will likely seek vacation rentals. If customers run into problems, the situation may taint their perception of the city.
“This kind of thing builds up. New Orleans depends on tourism and anything that damages the brand is going to have a negative impact,” Furness said.
Orend said he and his wife made the best of a bad situation and fell in love with the city, although things could have gone further south – quickly, he said.
“It could easily – if we had not been lucky enough to find a hotel room – have ruined our entire stay and soured our view of the city forever,” Orend said.
According to city ordinance, it’s illegal to rent a property for fewer than 60 days in the French Quarter and 30 days in the rest of the city.
A spokesman said the city investigates when it receives complaints about a property, and sends violation letters when applicable.
http://www.nola.com/politics/index.ssf/2011/03/critics_call_on_new_orleans_to.htmlFROM THE INTERNET: Several years ago, New Orleans passed an ordinance to crack down on short-term rentals which aren’t licensed or approved by the city. Basically, a room at a hotel, B&B, guest house, or timeshare hotel is licensed. Any “condo” or “apartment” rental probably isn’t. “It is illegal to rent a French Quarter property for fewer than 60 days and fewer than 30 days for properties outside of the French Quarter, said Ryan Berni, press secretary for Mayor Mitch Landrieu.”
The idea behind the law is to protect the residential integrity of neighborhoods by having landlords rent to people who live and work in New Orleans, not just trying to make a buck off of tourists.
Also, hotels have liability insurance and pay taxes to the city. The loss of tax revenue when someone chooses a condo is very real.
Many other tourism-heavy cities around the country have similar laws and ordinances.
A list of legal short term rentals is in the link below:
Homeowners should know local laws when renting
Advocate staff writer
Making a few extra bucks by renting out the guest room to random travelers may be refreshingly easy thanks to websites like Airbnb that list and book the rooms, but homeowners should be aware of local ordinances and tax collection requirements.
“Unregistered, unlicensed individuals or entities that rent out rooms without a license are breaking the law,” said Mavis Early, a spokeswoman for the Greater New Orleans Hotel and Lodging Association. New Orleans has a city ordinance prohibiting “short-term rentals” that are not hotels or a small bed and breakfast type inn.
It is illegal to rent a French Quarter property for fewer than 60 days and fewer than 30 days for properties outside of the French Quarter, said Ryan Berni, press secretary for Mayor Mitch Landrieu.
The hotel industry has criticized the rise of short-term rentals, primarily on the grounds that these business arrangements fly below the radar of municipal oversight when it comes to tax collections and other requirements.
“Not only is it unfair to those that pay their taxes and their business taxes, but it also affects the city overall because the city and other entities receive those taxes,” Early said, pointing to facilities like the New Orleans Convention Center and the Louisiana Superdome, which receive some of these tourism-specific taxes and then use the money to help bring more people to New Orleans.
“It is a concern here,” she added of the short-term rental phenomenon. “It’s been going on and increasing in the French Quarter.” Attempts to reach some of the property owners with Airbnb listings in New Orleans were unsuccessful.
New Orleans collects a 13 percent hotel tax and another “hotel occupancy fee,” which can be $1 to $3 per room, depending on the number of rooms in the hotel.
Baton Rouge has no ordinance prohibiting the types of room listings on Airbnb, and sales taxes collections are only required when renting out six or more rooms, according to state law.
However, the city’s hotel and motel occupancy tax collections are required when renting two or more rooms, according to East Baton Rouge Parish’s tax regulations.
Airbnb is not responsible for collecting or remitting sales or use taxes, the company‘s officials say. Airbnb also is not responsible for being aware of all of the various local requirements, said Emily Joffrion, an Airbnb spokeswoman.
“As a marketplace that’s operating in 19,000 cities all around the world, we’re not in a position to know all of the local laws,” Joffrion said. “So we really do advise our users to read up on their local laws.”
Filed under: BlightStat Meetings · Tags: bayou, bayou st john, faubourg, faubourg st john, fest, fsjna, housing, jazz, jazz fest rental, New Orleans, orleans, rental, short, short term rental, temporary, term