AirBnb gains popularity in Jefferson Parish, attracts council at - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports, Social

AirBnb gains popularity in Jefferson Parish, attracts council attention

Source: AirBnb Source: AirBnb
METAIRIE, LA (WVUE) -

The popularity of short-term rental websites has made its way to Jefferson Parish, and now officials are looking to possibly get in on the action. 

"It's a new thing that is happening within the last couple of years, and I was surprised how many residents there actually are on those websites," Jefferson Parish Councilwoman at-Large Cynthia Lee-Sheng said. 

Just a quick scan of AirBnb shows dozens of Jefferson Parish residents are supplementing their income by renting out their homes or portions of their homes to complete strangers. 

"Every time there is a big event in New Orleans, the big hotels and everybody is overcharging the people and the tourist. Maybe that's the reason the people start using it a little bit more [in Jefferson]," said one AirBnb user who wished to remain anonymous.  

He rents out a room for $65 a night in Metairie and said more tourists turn to Jefferson for safety and cheap rates. 

"We are, what? Ten minutes from the Quarter," he said.     

"To the extent that [short-term rentals are] not permitted, it's against the law," Lee-Sheng said.  

Lee-Sheng will request a study of the pros and cons of regulating AirBnb at Wednesday's council meeting. She said several constituents complained their neighbors used the site and felt uneasy with the constant influx of new faces. 

"I think we just need to study it and just look at if it's appropriate in certain neighborhoods," Lee-Sheng said. 

If the parish decides to regulate AirBnb, certain homeowners could be barred from the site, depending on where they live. Lee-sheng said she is not opposed to short-term rentals in Jefferson Parish, and even agrees AirBnb could work in some areas along the lakefront. 

The councilwoman is concerned some homeowners may be running an un-permitted year-round business by renting out several rooms, like an unregulated bed and breakfast. 

"We're really just looking at it. We don't have a permit in place and we don't have regulation in place. Until, we really study it, we're not going to do anything yet," Lee-Sheng said.  

Others see this as the first step of local government trying to control residents' personal activities and profit from it. 

"They don't want the population to do things with each other without the government being involved, control, regulate and obviously make a lot of money over it," the AirBnb user said.  

"Usually when we have our permits, we collect such a nominal amount of money that we don't make money off of it," Lee-Sheng said. "We'd like to collect enough money to have enforcement of it. but usually, i would think that we don't generate that kind of money for it. 
 

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