Tomorrow is Mardi Gras. It’s continually a hard time of 12 months to find a room in New Orleans. These 12 months, it’s tough on Airbnb. The town has decided there are just too many Airbnb. Reporter Tegan Wendland of WWNO in New Orleans partnered with our Planet Money crew for this tale. TEGAN WENDLAND, BYLINE: When she was a child developing up in New Orleans, Charlene Griffith recollects her dad telling her she would be a businesswoman. CHARLENE GRIFFITH: That sounds good – didn’t surely know what it was. But I’m like, yeah, I’m going to be that business girl. WENDLAND: After running in inns as a housekeeper, then a supervisor, she wanted to move from lodge employee to lodge proprietor.
She poured her savings into shopping for and rehabbing the antique beat-up belongings subsequent door to her inside the historically black neighborhood of Treme. She placed it up on Airbnb. GRIFFITH: We had the box spring and a mattress. We had… WENDLAND: And commonly, Mardi Gras is her busiest time. This year, her huge green residence on Ursulines Avenue is eerily quiet. The beds are perfectly made, matching sheets waiting for guests but covered in plastic. GRIFFITH: Normally, it wouldn’t have this plastic on it. You realize it might be just welcoming guests to are available in and take their entertainment here. WENDLAND: The city won’t renew her permit. To recognize why you should take a brief stroll from Griffith’s residence. In some areas, it seems like complete blocks have come to be inns. Groups of university-age dudes bring coolers and instances of beer into one house. An institution of Polish tourists carrying Mardi Gras beads heads out of any other. Most of the houses on this avenue look easy but bland and with those keypad locks at the doors. On the nook, Richard Kendrick grumbles on his front stoop. He’s lived right here his complete existence. He’s eighty-three now. RICHARD KENDRICK: Everything – the whole lot in this block is B&B – the entirety. WENDLAND: He says the whole community used to be packed with households, on the whole, black households with youngsters. KENDRICK: Oh, predominantly – nothing but youngsters around here, however now you don’t see no kids round right here or not anything. WENDLAND: City Councilwoman Kristin Gisleson Palmer says she hears from loads of residents like Richard Kendrick. KRISTIN GISLESON PALMER: There’s become an inflow of folks that they do not know. They sense less safe because of the constant turnover. You know, there is heightened trash, noise, the one’s kinds of problems. WENDLAND: It’s gotten contentious. That’s partly because the city has flip-flopped on the way to regulate Airbnb. Two years ago, the metropolis gave the large cross-beforehand and formalized rules that invited in masses of funding in quick-time period rentals. PALMER: What we commenced seeing turned into that out-of-town traders could come in and purchase belongings at a miles inflated value – right? – Because they are searching at purchasing a house distinct from the way a house owner purchases a residence, right? WENDLAND: One San Francisco-primarily based corporation owns extra than 300 gadgets. They perform like hotels, with managers, cleaning workforce. Palmer says that’s riding up home costs, making it harder for locals to rent or buy. There’s now not plenty of research on New Orleans. But one study from New York City found that doubling the quantity of Airbnb in a place can increase home values through up to 13 percentage. So City Council voted to alternate the laws. It’s a first-rate approximately-face, nearly a ban. The policies partially went into effect ultimate fall but may want to take effect permanently this spring. The new policies create some unique industrial districts. Otherwise, they only allow those who live in a home to rent it out. PALMER: Those homes, pretty frankly, wherein somebody lives in there and rents the opposite side or short-term rentals the opposite aspect, we’ve got in no way heard lawsuits approximately that. It becomes a business model for traders that are available in and buy the properties for inflated prices. WENDLAND: Airbnb told us that banning entire home leases will devastate New Orleanians who rely upon quick-time period rentals and hurt the local economic system. The metropolis deals with a tradeoff, protective human beings like Richard Kendrick and his block, but additionally shielding homegrown businesswomen like Charlene Griffith. Airbnb allows Griffith to go from resort employee to resort proprietor. And now her condominium belongings next door are stuck up in the new guidelines. GRIFFITH: I’m looking to – how should you say – nevertheless claw my way, claw my manner, preserve on, hold on, keep on and try to make some funding because I don’t want to dismantle this whole residence. WENDLAND: For now, she’s using Uber to make ends meet. For NPR News, I’m Tegan Wendland in New Orleans.