Airbnb home in NOLA causes controversy

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NEW ORLEANS, La. (WWL / CBS) - A home is causing a bit of controversy in the Treme neighborhood of New Orleans.

The three-bedroom shotgun was built using affordable housing grants, but now it's an Airbnb going for at least $400 a night.

"In the last year, it's every other house right here on this block which is drastic," Jeff Warner of Treme said.

According to a story first reported by the lens, the Dumaine Street home was originally one of the historic houses that used to be on the site of the V.A. hospital. It was preserved by the Mitch Landrieu administration and moved.

The house was eventually torn down by the owners, Providence Community Housing, without permission from the city the lens reported. It was rebuilt using public affordable housing money. Then, the house was purchased by a single low-income owner for $180,000.

Last month, the owner sold it to a man who owns at least 14 total short-term rentals in the 7th Ward and Treme. It went for $290,000.

"There were no covenants or whether or not she could sell it in a certain time period,” said Kristin Palmer, the New Orleans City Council District C. “She did sell it legally. When the house was sold the soft second money was paid back."

Last month, councilwomen Kristin Palmer came up with a measure that imposed a 9-month moratorium on certain Airbnb licenses and renewals while a study is done to determine the effects of the rentals.

She wants to prevent large investors from driving out permanent residents but admits it's all a balancing act.

"I think short term rentals could be used as a catalyst for reinvestment and revitalization,” she said. “I think oversaturation can then be a detriment."

Neighbors like Warner miss knowing their neighbors. However, he points to nearby abandon homes that have been getting snatched up and remodeled.

“This house right here, it's getting worked ‘butted.’ It's going to be an Airbnb nothing would ever happen on it unless it's the Airbnb money," Jeff Warner said.

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