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NEW ORLEANS — Responding to residents who say short-term rentals such as those arranged by Airbnb are driving up property taxes and steadily denigrating the character of historic neighborhoods, the New Orleans City Council voted Thursday to impose broad new restrictions on such rentals.

The 7-0 vote bans the short-term rentals of whole houses not occupied by the owners. It also puts limits on the number of short-term rentals on commercial properties and bans all short-term rentals in most of the historic French Quarter and the Garden District.

College professor Helen Regis said her neighborhood near popular entertainment areas has been harmed by the proliferation of short-term rentals. "I have lost a lot of neighbors in the last few years," she told council members prior to the vote.

But there were opponents.

Eric Bay, a city resident who manages short-term rentals, said the council was bowing to a "well-funded hotel lobby" and wrongfully taking away property rights.

"While this vote provides much needed regulatory certainty for home sharing in New Orleans, the rules unfairly punish responsible short-term rental hosts who are contributing to the local economy," Laura Spanjian, of Airbnb, said in an emailed statement.

The regulations will still allow homeowners to rent out part of their residences they occupy to short-term visitors. A person who owns multiple units on one property also could get short-term rental permits — if the person lives on the property.

The work isn't done. Council members and residents said methods of beefing up enforcement will be needed. Andreanecia Morris of the Greater New Orleans Housing Alliance said she was concerned that, absent strong enforcement, many investors in short-term rental property will ignore the restrictions. "They are just going to go underground and stay underground," she said.

 

SAN FRANCISCO — Facebook is reportedly in talks with news publishers to offer "millions of dollars" for the rights to publish their material on its site. The move follows years of criticism over its growing monopolization of online advertising to the detriment of the struggling news industry.

The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday that Facebook representatives had told news executives that they'd pay as much as $3 million a year to license stories, headlines and other material. Facebook declined to comment but confirmed that the company is working on launching a "news tab" for its service this fall.

A person familiar with the matter confirmed that Facebook has approached News Corp. about paying to license Wall Street Journal stories. The person requested anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly about the matter.

The Journal report was not clear as to whether Facebook was offering $3 million to individual publishers or in total to all news organizations.

Many in the news industry have long blamed Facebook and Google for using their content for free while the social network slurped up the majority of digital ad dollars, imperiling the news industry. A bipartisan bill introduced in Congress this year would grant an antitrust exemption to news companies, letting them band together to negotiate payments from the big tech platforms.

The Washington Post, which was also named in the report as a company Facebook approached, declined to comment. The Walt Disney Co., which owns ABC, did not immediately respond to a message for comment.

 

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