Residents search for answers over illegal short-term rentals

Concerns over illegal short-term rental properties across the city prompted a capacity crowd at a meeting on the issue Tuesday.

The meeting, organized by Vieux Carre Property Owners Residents & Associates and the Faubourg Marigny Improvement Association, was a chance for residents from various neighborhoods to learn more about current city laws on short-term rentals.

In the French Quarter, properties rented for fewer than 60 days are considered illegal. For other parts of the city, the minimum is 30 days.

Some residents who spoke out at the meeting said they see signs that the number of illegal properties, which are often rented out through various websites, is growing rapidly.

"If you're standing at my house at the corner of Pauger and Dauphine, there's a total of 14 illegals (rentals), two legals (in the immediate area)," said Marigny homeowner Matt Easley. "Look up and down the street, there's no people walking. There's no people stoop sitting, because so many of the apartments now are used for illegal (bed and breakfasts). There's no people anymore."

The situation, some say, is eroding the quality of life in their neighborhoods. Another concern centers on the reduction of available housing for New Orleans residents, which leads to higher rents, neighborhood leaders said.

However, some people at the meeting acknowledged that they have used short-term rentals while on vacation.

"It's not all bad. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. Sometimes it's appropriate, and sometimes it's not," said David Rosenberg, another Marigny resident.

Some residents, however, said it's time to organize a unified plan of attack against those renting their properties illegally.

"This is my third meeting about this subject, and still, there's nothing to seek your teeth into," said Gary Zachariah.

Neighborhood leaders said they'll be watching closely as the City Planning Commission works to redefine the current city law on short-term rentals, in hopes the move will add more teeth to the enforcement process.

Copyright 2014 WVUE. All rights reserved.