Bywater neighbors fed up with airbnb rentals

Published: May. 29, 2015 at 1:19 AM CDT|Updated: May. 29, 2015 at 1:37 AM CDT
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Source: Caroline Thomas
Source: Caroline Thomas

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - You see them all over the city now. But some living in one New Orleans neighborhood are fed up with the amount of airbnb rentals.

Some neighbors even turned their frustrations into an art project and posted to Facebook saying "we've slowly come to realize that the entire neighborhood is being overrun by airbnb to the point where it's near impossible to find long-term leases."

Bywater resident Anne Souvignier said she, too, has noticed the landscape of the neighborhood change in recent months.

"It bothers me when it comes into play that the property owner doesn't live here and isn't involved in the actual management of the rental, and they're not vetting the people who they are renting to," she said.

All you have to do is search airbnb to see that New Orleans listings are easy to find. There are more than a 100 in the Bywater alone.

Local artists put their frustration on display with a public painting that reads, "affordable housing is so pre-Katrina."

While some neighbors we talked to didn't mind the airbnb rentals - some even saying it's good for business to have tourists visit - others worry the number of airbnb rentals in the Bywater could drive locals out. That's why Souvignier would like to see the city enforce tighter regulations.

"It also bothers me that affordable units are not being rented to people who want to live here. It's all about high turnover and high income," Souvignier said.

The city says under current law it's illegal for residents to use their property as a short-term rental unless they are properly zoned and licensed to do so. That may be a tough law to enforce. The city adds that it's difficult to prove property owners who are renting their homes on a short-term basis are breaking the law. The city says it investigates properties that receive multiple complaints and sends the owners warning letters. The City Council is also looking at ways to modernize the current law to make it fair and enforceable.

We reached out to both airbnb as well as some homeowners listing their properties in the Bywater, but have not received a response.

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