Overview of Short Term Rentals in New Orleans

Like the rules regarding many other types of business, the rules regarding the business of STR can be complicated. In addition to a basic understanding of the fundamentals, it is essential for anyone engaged in the business of STR to keep their knowledge base up to date. The STR Office is dedicated to providing complete informational materials to the public and, as a part of the OneStop, provides individuals the opportunity to discuss specific questions and issues in person with a member of our team.

The STR permitting process can involve all the various elements of property use including tax, licensing, and permit history, zoning restrictions, and code compliance. The deep and unique history of New Orleans has traditionally made accurate record-keeping a challenge and it is not unusual for the licensing process to reveal unanswered questions about a property. The City’s interest is in ensuring the public’s questions are fully answered, and your patience is appreciated for any specific and/or detailed inquiries.

This is intended to serve as a primer for those who are new to the business of STR and as a compliance guide for STR permit holders. This website is for informational use - the enabling legislation which regulates STR in the City is the ultimate authority. STR permit holders and applicants are expected to know and understand the current rules and requirements of the business at the time they apply for an STR permit.

Brief History

In August of 2015, the New Orleans City Council adopted a motion that directed the City Planning Commission (CPC) to study the regulation of STRs. At that point, rentals shorter than 30 days (or 60 days in the Vieux Carré) were illegal under City Code. That report was completed in January of 2016 and the City Council adopted a motion to enact STR regulations in October of 2016. Those STR regulations were signed into law in December of 2016 and became effective on April 1, 2017 when the City began issuing STR Permits.

After implementation of STR regulations under the December 2016 ordinance, the City Council noted growing concerns regarding the effects STRs have on the communities and neighborhoods in which they are located. In May of 2018, the City Council once again directed the CPC to study the STR regulations. That study, completed in September of 2018, recommended certain changes to the STR regulations to address these concerns. The changes recommended by the CPC became the basis for a new STR regulatory structure which was adopted by City Council in August of 2019 and signed into law by Mayor Cantrell that same month. These new STR laws become effective on December 1, 2019.

Enabling Legislation

STR is a property use which is not legal without a permit. The legal authority for STR permitting comes from both the Municipal Code of New Orleans (CCNO) and the Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance (CZO). These laws are administered and interpreted by the Director through the Department and the Director may issue Zoning Interpretation Memos which define the way in which the language of the CZO will be applied by the Department.

The business of STR can involve legal and regulatory considerations that are complex. The STR Office and the Zoning Department are committed to working with property owners and interest holders to ensure that applications of the City’s laws are equitable and accurate. We appreciate your patience when working with intricate property-specific issues.

On March 23, 2023, the New Orleans City Council passed new regulations on Short Term Rentals. Those ordinances become effective July 1, 2023:

Ordinance 029381 MCS

Ordinance 029382 MCS

Municipal Code of New Orleans (CCNO)

Access the complete CCNO at library.municode.com/la/new_orleans. Within the CCNO are other important regulations regarding building and property construction, use, and maintenance, as well as fire safety, accessibility requirements, and more. The STR-specific revisions to the Municipal Code of New Orleans may be found at Ordinance No. 28157 MCS.

Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance (CZO)

Access the complete CZO at czo.nola.gov/home/. The CZO also contains important regulations regarding historic preservation, property use, parking requirements, and more. The STR-specific revisions to the Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance for the City of New Orleans may be found at Ordinance No. 28156 MCS.

Zoning Interpretation Memos

Because the business of STR can involve questions regarding the permitted construction, zoning designation, and uses of buildings, Zoning Interpretation Memos issued by the Director on topics other than STRs may have an effect on how the STR ordinances are interpreted. View and download all Zoning Interpretation Memos from the Director online at nola.gov/safety-and-permits/zoning-Office.

Official decisions of the Director, such as policies, interpretations, and license determinations can be appealed by any interested member of the public. All appeals must be filed within 30 days of the Director’s determination. Find out more about appeals at: nola.gov/city-planning/applications/

What are Short Term Rentals?

STR is defined in the Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance (CZO) as "the use and enjoyment of a Dwelling Unit or any part thereof, by guests for a period of less than thirty consecutive days, in exchange for money, commodities, fruits, services, or other performances." This means that STR must take place in a legal Dwelling Unit and is the rental of that Unit for fewer than thirty days at a time. Rentals of greater than thirty consecutive days are considered long-term rentals and do not require an STR permit.

There are other permitted types of rental for fewer than thirty days, such as Bed and Breakfasts or hotels, which are not regulated by the STR Office. For information on other licensing programs, visit www.nola.gov/onestop/business/. Long-term rentals and other permitted rentals like licensed Bed and Breakfasts can be mistaken for STRs if they advertise on an STR Platform. State your permit number and/or term-of-stay limits prominently in advertising to avoid confusion.

As defined by the CZO, a Dwelling Unit is "a room, or group of rooms, providing complete, independent living facilities, including permanent provisions for living, sleeping, eating, cooking and sanitation for one or more persons." This means that STR guests must have access to cooking and eating facilities. If the STR is within a single family home, the STR guests must have their own bedroom facilities and must have access to the living, kitchen, and bathroom spaces of the home; one bedroom must be reserved for the owner’s full time occupancy. If the home is a two-family or multi-family home, where STR may encompass one entire Dwelling Unit, that STR unit must have the same required kitchen and bathrooms.

STR transactions—when a property is offered for STR and that offer is accepted—can take place in any number of ways. Transactions can be made with written agreements, handshake agreements, direct contact, or by communicating through a broker. By far the most popular method for conducting STR transactions is by using an online booking service, such as Airbnb or VRBO. These and all other services which facilitate STR transactions are private entities – they do not issue permits or enforce regulations. Any information provided by these platforms is information from a private entity, not from a municipal office. The permits and requirements related to STR in the City come from the Department, as does the regulation of those permits and the enforcement of those requirements.

For the Department to ensure that all STRs in the City are conducted legally, the STR Office addresses any unpermitted or otherwise illegal STR activity through an enforcement process. This process identifies any possible violations of the STR regulations, informs the responsible party of the possible violations, and provides an opportunity for those violations to be corrected or abated. If a violation is not abated in a reasonable amount of time, the violation case may progress to an Administrative Adjudication Hearing (Adjudication). In Adjudication, a Hearing Officer could impose monetary fines for un-abated violations, revoke an Owner or Operator permit, or impose other penalties on the responsible party. This enforcement process is intended to educate individuals and the public to the rules and regulations of the business of STR and to provide assistance to those individuals in addressing and abating any violations. The Department recognizes that there is a balance between the interests of STR hosts and neighbors, and strives to ensure legal operation of all STRs in order to maintain that balance.