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City says new regulations will likely reduce number of short-term rentals

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NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) -

The city says new regulations will likely reduce the number of short-term rentals like Airbnb in New Orleans.

On Thursday, the City Council voted in favor of regulating the industry. The move now clears the way for New Orleans property owners to legally rent out their homes on a short-term basis. 

Airbnb host Kathleen Lori Mentel was happy with the council's vote.

"Personally, I'm thrilled to see a path ahead of me to make what we're doing legal," she said. "I'm happy to do it and I look forward to the day when, you know, I can go and get my permit."  

After recovering from two different types of cancer, Mentel quit her job as a corporate attorney and moved to New Orleans. Now, she and her husband rent out part of their Mid-City double to help pay the bills. 

"Airbnb has allowed me to have that more stress-free life," she said. "Without it, I would have to go back to a corporate job. Frankly, that's just not good for my health, so I'm really grateful and thankful to have this opportunity to rent out my place on a short-term basis."

Mentel was one of several people who spoke before the council in support of short-term rentals before the Thursday vote. But those against it also argued their case, saying short-term rentals increase home prices and negatively impact neighborhoods. Council D representative Jared Brossett was the only member to vote against.

"I am a strong supporter of affordable housing, and I can't turn my back on that for short-term rentals," Brossett said at Thursday's council meeting.  

But, the city says by establishing regulations, it can now successfully regulate, tax and limit the impact of short-term rentals. 

"I don't want the bad actors or the party houses or the horror stories you hear about, you know, I don't want them as my neighbors or my guests either, so, I really hope that they hammer out the enforcement provisions and make sure that they're applicable to everyone and that they're able to truly follow up on it and enforce them," said Mentel. 

The motion still needs final approval. If that happens, the city has proposed allocating about $850,000 to enforce regulations. 

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