The New Orleans City Planning Commission voted 5-1 on Tuesday to recommend the city council approve a temporary freeze on the most popular type of short-term rental license in historic neighborhoods throughout the city.

The council gave its preliminary approval to the freeze on whole-home licenses in some residential neighborhoods in May, immediately putting it into effect. But it hasn’t yet been codified into the city’s zoning law. After Tuesday’s vote, it goes back to the council for a final vote. If approved, it will last nine months or until the city adopts major, long-term changes to its short-term rental law.

Changes to the law could come about following the completion of an ongoing study on the law, which was also covered at Tuesday’s meeting. The commission heard hours of testimony from more than 100 members of the public, including dozens people on both sides of the debate.

The study could result in significant changes to short-term rentals in New Orleans, possibly tightening a law that affordable housing advocates have characterized as too permissive, allowing too many units to be taken off the long-term market and converted to de facto hotels. On the other side, short-term rental proponents, who have said that the industry allows residents a greater stake in the city’s tourism economy, have called for expanding it, allowing more people to rent out their homes to tourists for more of each year.

The planning commission is accepting public comments through August 20 and will forward its recommendations to the council by mid-September.

Read The Lens’ coverage of Tuesday’s meeting

Charles Maldonado

Charles Maldonado is the editor of The Lens. He previously worked as The Lens' government accountability reporter, covering local politics and criminal justice. Prior to joining The Lens, he worked for...