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  • Scott Westfall

A Complete List of Short-Term Rental Regulations for Norfolk, VA

Updated: Jun 25

To operate a new short-term rental in the city of Norfolk, VA, owners and their properties must be compliant with several laws and regulations. In this post, we will cover the recently updated rules and regulations for vacation rentals in Norfolk.

In the summer of 2022, significant changes were made to short-term rental laws in Norfolk, Virginia. This blog includes all the updated regulations.

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What Do I Need to Begin Operating a Short-Term Rental in Norfolk?

There are several items you’ll need to have to start legally operating a property as a short-term rental in Norfolk, VA. As of the summer of 2022, regulations and requirements were updated significantly. To begin running a vacation rental, you’ll need to get these items in order:

  1. A property that complies with the Norfolk vacation rental rules and regulations outlined below

  2. A Conditional Use Permit (if required; see next section)

  3. A Short-term Rental Permit from the city’s Zoning Department

  4. Proof of a passed Fire Safety Inspection & Zoning Inspection

  5. A Business License with the City of Norfolk (obtained after the Zoning Permit)

An additional note: If you own a duplex or triplex that you’d like to rent out, you’ll need to secure separate permits and documentation for each unit.

How Do I Know if I Need a Conditional Use Permit?

If you own a property that meets certain conditions or is located in certain parts of Norfolk, you will need to apply for and obtain a Conditional Use Permit (CUP) to legally operate it as a vacation rental. CUPs cost $1,080 and it can take two or three months for your application to be considered. Because they are fairly expensive, make sure to schedule a pre-application meeting with the Norfolk City Planning Department.

Your short-term rental will need a Conditional Use Permit if any of the following are true:

  • It has four or more bedrooms.

  • It doesn’t have the required amount of parking spaces (more on that below).

  • It’s located in one of these Zones: SF-T, SF-10, MF-NS.

  • It’s located in a multi-family property with four or more bedrooms total in the Coastal Character District OR Zones R-C, SF-2, SF-4, or SF-6.

  • It’s a property with three or more dwelling units located in the Coastal Character District or Zone R-C or D.

The Norfolk Planning Department’s website suggests that additional properties may require CUP due to reasons not posted on their website. It’s a good idea to reach out to them before you apply or renew your rental home to confirm if you’ll need one.

What Norfolk Character District and Zoning District is My Property In?

Some regulations for Norfolk vacation rentals, such as parking requirements, are dependent on the Zone and Character District in which it is located. The four Character Districts for Norfolk, Virginia are Coastal, Downtown, Suburban, and Traditional, as outlined on this map.

To determine your property’s Character and Zoning Districts, you can enter its address into the Norfolk AIR (Address Information Resource). Scroll down to the Zoning section on that page to find out which Character District and Zone is yours.

Rules and Regulations for Operating a Short-Term Rental in Norfolk, VA

To own and operate a legal short-term rental in Norfolk, Virginia, there are several City-ordained regulations your property must adhere to. Here is the complete list of current Norfolk vacation rental laws:

  • Parking: Rental properties are required to have a minimum number of paved, 8’ x 18’ parking spaces on the actual property. The minimum number is determined by character district (see the chart below). You have to keep garage space clear to count it, and garages can only count as one parking spot no matter how large.

Parking Requirements for Norfolk Short-Term Rental Properties by Character District

  • Maximum Occupancy: Each property may only have a maximum occupancy of two guests per bedroom.

  • Responsible Party: The unit must have a sign inside and one on the exterior of the property that lists the name and phone number of a person who can be on-site within 20 minutes to respond in case of emergency. Additionally, it should have the City’s call center number and website.

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  • Shared Driveways: If your property has a shared driveway, your short-term rental application must include written permission from the adjacent property owners.

  • Remote Access: Your short-term rental must offer a remote entry option, and the access code has to be changed between each stay.

  • Surveillance Cameras: You’ll need to have cameras monitoring the parking area and any outdoor common areas, and keep the recordings for 30 days after a stay so the city staff can request them if needed.

  • Excessive Noise: You’ll need an interior decibel meter in the home’s main spaces so that you can be aware of when excessive noise is made inside the home.

  • Garbage Pickup: You’re responsible for making sure waste containers are put away within a day of trash collection day.

  • Liability Insurance: You must have at least $300,000 in liability insurance to cover injuries to guests on the property, which includes medical payments.

  • Vacation Rental Taxes: The rental business must be registered with the Commissioner of Revenue and proper Vacation Rental Taxes must be regularly reported and remitted.

  • Certificate of Occupancy: If you’re running a short-term rental business with three or more rental units in one building, you’ll need to get a new Certificate of Occupancy from the City of Norfolk’s Zoning Department.

Looking for the rental property laws in Virginia Beach? We’ve got you covered right here.

Before you start operating a short-term rental home in Norfolk, make sure that your property complies with all of these regulations.

The Bottom Line

Starting and operating a rental property in Norfolk, Virginia requires attention to detail to make sure your property is in compliance with the short-term rental laws and regulations. If you’re looking to buy or sell a vacation rental in Norfolk, work with local experts today to make sure your property meets all the requirements to entice the perfect buyers or guests.


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