Fighting Back with Facts: Understanding the Negative Image of Short-Term Rentals

Fighting Back with Facts: Understanding the Negative Image of Short-Term Rentals

Depending on what city you live in, you may have heard chatter over the last few years about short-term rentals being disruptive to the community. We want vacation rentals to enrich the local economy and create jobs for residents, and we’re sure you do too! So we sat down to talk to Eric Bay, President of New Orleans’ Alliance for Neighborhood Prosperity (ANP). They’re setting the industry standard for using research to understand the economic effects of short-term rentals and working together with the local government to reach a compromise that benefits everyone. Their mission is to “provide visitors with a variety of housing choices and the opportunity to experience diverse New Orleans neighborhoods, preserve , repair, and restore residential housing stock, and promote economic opportunities for local neighborhoods while preserving or improving the overall quality of life.”

How did the ANP get started?

The Alliance for Neighborhood Prosperity began in 2014 as a group of local short-term rental hosts and property owners. The objective of the organization was to advocate to New Orleans city government to change the local ordinances prohibiting rentals that lasted less than thirty days.

Why do short-term rentals get a bad rap?

Disruptive technology is a term describing new trends in a changing society which upsets typically an old school monopoly. Online retail sales giants upset the traditional brick and mortar storefront industry. Uber disrupted the taxi cab industry. Vacation rentals utilizing online platforms like HomeAway, VRBO, and Airbnb have upset the hotel industry. Slow to adapt to changing business patterns by their customer base, industry leaders led by powerfully funded lobbying groups have fought back against these “disruptive technologies,” influencing political decision makers with fear based talking points.

How has the ANP worked to improve the relationship between the city and the vacation rental industry?

The fact-based approach of the the ANP caused New Orleans to compromise and create new freedoms and rules of operation for short-term rentals.

The ANP cites the University of New Orleans’ 2013 Economic Impact Study on private home rentals for understanding the realities of the market.

Now the City of New Orleans approach to home rentals is looked upon nationwide as the industry standard best practice. By granting the city access to platform data sharing, the ability to tax registered licenses, and mechanisms for regulating the short-term rental market, the ANP moved the industry into a more modern and community- oriented model.

What might people be surprised to learn about the benefits of the short-term rental industry?

Currently the New Orleans industry employs an average of 1.8 part or full time employees for every rental at an average rate of $24.94/hour. The industry staffs more employees than the [local] cruise ship industry and pays more than double of the average hotel employee.

The short-term rental industry also expands the tourist footprint by bringing visitors to less-frequented neighborhoods beyond the flashy French Quarter.

How else is the ANP generating additional funds for the local community?

The ANP successfully proposed an additional NHIF funding tax beyond standard city and state lodging taxes for nightly rentals at $1.00/night, which ultimately will generate in excess of $750,000 annually for City Council to earmark towards affordable housing programs city wide.

How can people learn more about the ANP?

The ANP maintains a public Facebook page as well as a private membership option as we continue to advocate for expanded rights as property owners, while being keenly aware of minimizing potential negative aspects to both our neighbors and neighborhoods, and the city as a whole.

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