NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - The message is becoming clear: Run an illegal short-term rental out of your home, and the City of New Orleans will try and shut it down.
"I have gotten a letter saying that I need to cease and desist on Airbnb without a license," homeowner Lakeba Griffin said.
Griffin is one of the many hearing from the city about using the controversial website Airbnb for short-term rentals. The problem is, Griffin says it's not her renting the room - it's her tenants.
"When people say I'm a super host for Airbnb, I really wasn't aware," she said.
Griffin's lease with the tenants clearly shows that both parties agreed to the use of Airbnb. But Griffin said that agreement was only supposed to be for Mardi Gras, and she claimed that was before she knew what Airbnb was.
The website allows people to rent out rooms in their homes without a license and skip out on paying taxes to the city, which is a violation of a city ordinance.
On that lease mentioned earlier, it gives Griffin the right to evict anyone who violates a city ordinance. Griffin said the tenants have rented out one room in the three-bedroom apartment 19 days out of 30. At the $75 rate posted online, that means the tenants are able to pay rent and then some, according to Griffin.
It seems this year, inspectors are stepping up their enforcement. Inspectors have issued 46 violations this year compared to 36 last year. City inspectors must get multiple complaints about a property before they can issue a violation. The city's enforcement looks at the property owner as the responsible party. But Griffin believes that leaves homeowners in a difficult position.
"We are complying by paying taxes and having insurance, and those things are in jeopardy because people are deciding to do what they want to do with property that is not their's," she said.
The tenants were not available for comment.