“UnfairBnB” from Antigravity Magazine

I disagree with the writers’ stance that airbnb is the chief cause of rentals to be unavailable to residents. As someone who believes in the informal economy, I have used it quite often in my travels. Almost all of the airbnb places where I have stayed have been people’s homes with an extra set of rooms for guests or a mother-in-law house. Many of the folks have raised kids who are now off at college and want to share their home still and so I have met some wonderful people and felt safer being in a neighborhood than staying in a large corporate hotel often found in a industrial park without access to local business or any where to walk after the work day is over. And as someone who has been a renter in this city for over 30 years, it is my contention that it ain’t airbnb that has stopped rent controls or that reduces the number of rentals for residents, but the corporate infrastructure that encourages profiteering on home flipping or corporate rentals without any management oversight, as well as the inability of the city or state to enact a post-disaster punishment for those who delay their repairs for no reason except that they own too much or refuse to pay for good repairmen to get it all done right in a reasonable time. Let me be clear-I am not identifying those folks who STILL wait for payments or are fighting bureaucracy, or have been ripped off by unsavory workers as the problem because the system is also weighted against them to work in favor of those connected and ruthless profiteers. Also, slumlords or invisible homeowners who abuse airbnb.com probably abused Craiglist, or the TeePee classifieds, or any other short or long term term rental situation that has benefited other neighborhoods or visitors who want to be good citizens and keep their property kept up and rented. Outlawing airbnb.com is not the answer; the answer is more likely direct action among citizens on rental property rules and protecting renters rights along with good homeowners rights. Too many short term rentals in one block IS wrong, but is not the stem issue, I believe.
The writers’ assertion that the bike lane along Esplanade is a white stripe of divide is so foolish that is shows that the basis of the article is far-fetched, and badly researched. The percentage of New Orleanians that do not have regular access to automobiles has always been a large number (over 25% before the federal levee breaks) and for anyone who gets around before the sun is entirely up will see more working men using those lanes than porkpie wearing hipsters. As one commenter points out, the complete streets approach to adding the lanes is based on adding the chosen and researched lanes when the streets are repaired. That St. Claude was outfitted before Esplanade and that these lanes act as a traffic calming device for regular people to cross the streets or to check for a bus are important points of which the writers seem unaware.
Honestly, the issue with short term rentals is one that should be discussed in each neighborhood but to identify neighborhood associations as the savior that the city has not been is as foolish as his bike lane bashing; My opinion is that these organizations are often protectionist home owner associations and do almost nothing for renters. I left a longer comment at the end of his article and would recommend that folks peruse some of the thoughtful comments left by others on there as well.

UnfairBnB: What Unlicensed Short-Term Rentals Mean for New Orleans – Antigravity Magazine.

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About D.W.

Works as an independent researcher, trainer and analyst for public markets and on larger community food systems. Also works in her home of New Orleans LA on sustainable civil society issues through blogging, community organizing and networking.

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