Thursday, July 13, 2017

Well this answers one question

About a month ago, the city announced with much fanfare the first round of STR enforcement hearings.  They began in the French Quarter because, we were told, that was where the violations were the most cut and dry cases.  
“At this point, if you’re still advertising your short-term rental without a license, it’s a violation,” Director of Safety and Permits Jared Munster said Monday. “We pushed the cutoff as far back as we reasonably could. At this point, it’s time to either comply or stop” advertising.

It’s little surprise that the first properties to face a formal hearing are all in areas of the French Quarter where short-term rentals are entirely banned.

We started in the French Quarter because that’s the place where it’s easiest to identify that you can’t do this,” Munster said.
Some of us, then, immediately wondered how long it would be before even this supposedly easy zone of enforcement faced its first legal challenge.

And now one month later, we know the answer to that
One French Quarter property owner is offering tourists and locals a deal: Buy a party catered with 20 po-boys for $595 and get one free night's stay in a Vieux Carre house, an arrangement offered on a short-term rental website.

The owner of 821 Gov. Nicholls St. is now challenging the city's enforcement of a ban on short-term rentals in the French Quarter in a lawsuit on the argument that what's being purchased is catering services -- not a short-term rental -- because the free night's stay is merely an optional bonus.

Despite the lawsuit, a city administrative hearing officer Wednesday (July 12) fined property owner 821 Gov Nicholls LLC $3,000 for six violations of the city's short-term rental ordinance. Officials showed a VRBO.com listing for "Melba's Mansion" during the hearing.
This is sort of like the loophole that lets drive through daiquiri shops operate so long as they hand you the drink and the straw separately. I wonder how many more will follow this sandwich rental model if it proves successful.

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