NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - The future of what short-term rentals will look like in New Orleans is now in the hands of the city council, who heard new a new proposal Wednesday (July 17).
One change would be categorizing those who have short-term rentals into four groups: partial, small, large and commercial.
All residential rentals would require a homestead exemption.
Partial permit rentals would be granted to properties renting out one or more bedrooms in a home where the homeowner lives. No more than five guest bedrooms and 10 guests would be allowed at partially permitted properties. While there must be a room for the full-time owner of the property, they do not need to stay while the guests are there.
Small permit rentals would be allowed to dedicate an entire unit of a multi-unit property for renting out. For example, the owner of a four-plex, could use one unit for short term rental, so long as one of the other units is the owner’s main residence. Again, no more than five guest bedrooms and a total of 10 guests would be permitted per rental unit.
Under a large permit, up to three locations would be allowed for short-term rental in one property. In a five-plex, three of the units can be used as short-term rentals, with one unit as the primary location for the homeowner. No more than six guest bedrooms would be allowed and no more than 12 guest per unit.
Under each category, the owner of the property does not necessarily have to be on the property during a visit, but they would have to have an operator. That person could assist the owner of the property when they are not in town and could oversee several units at a time. They would also be responsible to make sure all requirements are met.
The proposed change would also include a $50,000 annual fee for platforms like AirBnB to operate inside Orleans Parish, along with a range of fees for residents if they want to list their homes. It is these fees that grew criticism from residents Wednesday, some saying it will hurt them.
“If you pass this ordinance it is like sucking the wealth out of middle-class people in New Orleans that have worked hard all of their lives,” Stamford Barre said to the council. "I ask you to reconsider some of this stuff.”
Councilwoman Kristin Gisleson Palmer said the fees presented Wednesday might not be exactly what the council would enact.
“We hear you loud and clear,” Palmer said. “As my comments were from the very beginning, a lot of these fees were place holders from when we first started this process.We know things have changed and we know the institution of the tax and those fees have all changed the playing field quiet substantially.”
Under the proposal, permits range from $250 for someone who rents out a room in their home up to $5,000 for someone with a commercial property. The hotel-motel sales tax would stay the same at a 4 percent rate, meaning if you rent for $100, you would owe $4 to the city.
The proposal would raise the city of New Orleans fee from one dollar a night to $5 a night for residential permits and $10 for commercial.
If a permitted owner does not follow any of the proposed guidelines, they could face fines or the suspension of their permit.
The full council will vote on the final ordinance either next Thursday or at their August 8th meeting.