A federal judge ordered the city of New Orleans to temporarily halt enforcement of its new short-term rental rules, again upending the City Council's efforts to regulate the industry and allowing more than 900 homeowners to continue operating under permits that were set to expire. U.S. District Judge Ivan Lemelle issued his ruling on Aug. 31, granting a temporary restraining order to plaintiffs in a longstanding lawsuit against the city who want to strike down rules, passed in March, for rentals in residential areas. The rules included limits on permits to one per square block. The Council first passed short-term rental regulations in 2016. Revisions aimed at tightening the rules followed in 2019 after debates. One of the key provisions in the 2019 rules was a homestead exemption requirement meant to ensure owners lived in the properties they rented. But out-of-state property owners filed suit, claiming that requirement violated their constitutional rights. An appellate court ruling last year sided with those out-of-state owners. In response, the City Council passed new rules in March that required an on-site operator instead of a homestead exemption, allowing owners to live anywhere.
NOLA.com (08/31/23) Ben Myers
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