At MaCCNO, we know that while cultural policy is extremely important, there are some citywide issues that impact all communities—which often have an outsized effect on culture-bearing neighborhoods. The sustained impacts of gentrification and displacement due to the proliferation of short-term rentals (STRs) is one of these issues. Recognizing this, we have been working with a coalition of organizations to develop what we believe are workable solutions. While we may not agree on every point, we all understand the urgency that short-term rental regulation needs to be addressed. We strongly encourage you to contact your City Council member and/or attend any of the upcoming City Council meetings (see the sidebar of meeting dates) on this issue to express your opinion. We’ve turned over the rest of this month’s column to housing justice organizer Y. Frank Southall to provide more information and context. —The MaCCNO Team
Short-term rental proponents have framed this fight as a fight for racial and gender justice. However, the ugly truth is that Black folks, women, and queer folks are used as a shield and facade for an industry that’s run by white, male-dominated, multinational corporations. Just because a few of them are benefitting from this treacherous and insidious industry doesn’t mean all of us can. The statistics are clear as day. This industry isn’t about your grandmother renting out a room in her double shotgun, it’s about the commodification of our homes, culture, and neighborhoods for tourists and profit!
(found via the latest JPNSI report written by Russell Moran at nostrnola.com/info)
- 85% of ALL Airbnb listings are for whole home rentals.
- 60% of ALL Airbnb listings are from hosts with MORE than one listing.
- 27% of ALL Airbnb listings are from hosts with 10 OR MORE listings.
- ONLY 12.8% of ALL Airbnb listings are for a private room (i.e. someone renting out a room in their house which was the initial purpose of Airbnb in our city and market).
- In the Treme, 10% of ALL housing units are Airbnb whole home short-term rentals.
- NO ONE is able to factor the potential for short-term rental income when applying for a mortgage for their primary home.
- 75% of all short-term rentals listed on Airbnb are illegal.
- There are over 6,000 Airbnb listings in our city. The 85% listed as whole home listings could house 20,000 to 30,000 people.
- NO short-term rental platform delists illegal properties. They only do this when cities threaten to outright ban them.
What Other Locales Are Doing
Short-term rental platforms are restricted in many jurisdictions of our country that have tourism-based economies, including next door in Jefferson Parish where they are banned in residential neighborhoods. In Honolulu, they are restricted to a very narrow tourism zone to prevent the erosion of affordable housing for renters and working and middle-class homeowners. In Las Vegas, short-term rentals are restricted to 1% of all housing stock and must be at least 1,000 feet from another short-term rental.
The Eviction Issue
At least 566 evictions from January 2019 until February 2022 were associated with an address in the city’s Short-Term Rental Permit Application Database. This doesn’t include the thousands of units that were turned into short-term rentals from 2013 until 2019. Even if every single Airbnb listing was owned by one unique individual (instead of multinational corporations), that ownership would represent only 2% of the population. Meanwhile, the whole-home rentals listed on Airbnb could house 20,000 to 30,000 people. It also wouldn’t impact the quality of life of hundreds of thousands of people via party houses, parking issues, and more. The long-term impact of short-term rentals is clear: They don’t benefit the city. We need a ban of all whole home short-term rentals in residential and mixed-use commercial areas in our city.
Upcoming Dates to Remember for STR Legislation Meetings
- Tuesday, March 141The print version of this column lists Monday, March 13 but has been updated here: Governmental Affairs Committee Meeting at 10 a.m.
- Thursday, March 23: Regular Council Meeting (Final Vote) at 10 a.m.
This space is provided to MaCCNO as a community service and does not necessarily reflect the opinions or editorial policies of ANTIGRAVITY.
Photo by James Cullen