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  • Scott Westfall

Norfolk Short-Term Rental Fire Safety Inspection: How to Pass

Updated: Jun 26

Preparing for a Fire Safety Inspection for your short-term rental in Norfolk, VA? Read on to explore what elements the Fire Marshal will be looking for.

Getting your property ready to operate as a short-term rental? To legally operate your property as a short-term rental in cities like Norfolk, Virginia, a fire inspection of the property is required. Inspections for businesses like short-term rentals will occur every one to five years, and if there are fire or safety hazards on your property, it’s more likely they will be scheduled more often.

Before the Fire Marshal will perform an inspection in Norfolk, your application for a short-term rental permit must be approved by the Zoning office. Once that’s in hand, you are ready to call the Fire Marshal’s office to set up an appointment during business hours for the inspection.

There is a fee for a fire inspection of your property. Typically, this ranges from $50 to $75.

The Norfolk City Fire Marshall will inspect the following items:


  • Keep them away from any ignition sources

  • Keep them in an orderly manner

  • Make sure they are in approved containers and storage cabinets

Approved Fire & Life safety plan

  • Provide a drawing or image of the layout of the property showing all entrances/exits with arrows pointing the flow of traffic from every room to an exit

  • Clear, unobstructed paths to exits

  • No overcrowding that would hinder someone’s exit from the building

Electrical hazards

  • Extension cords should be heavy-duty and in good condition

  • Cover plates installed correctly on all electrical receptacles

Fire extinguishers found in:

  • The kitchen (multipurpose fire extinguisher)

  • Recommended in garage, utility room, or near outdoor fire features

Smoke detectors installed:

  • outside of each sleeping area

  • in each bedroom

  • on each story within a dwelling (including basements)

  • Test these every month to make sure they are in working order

Carbon monoxide detector installed if there are:

  • fuel-burning appliances present or

  • the occupancy has an attached garage

The Fire Marshall also highly recommends installing a KNOX Box with:

  • a set of keys

  • a copy of emergency contact information

Often, the Fire Marshal’s office can provide you with a copy of your fire inspection upon request.

What happens if a violation is found?

The City of Norfolk states that if a violation is found, “our inspectors will inform the violator in writing and a re-inspection will be required after a limited amount of time to ensure compliance with the code requirements.” The re-inspection will be done at no charge, but if the violations aren’t corrected at that time, another re-inspection will be scheduled for $50.

Make sure you don’t neglect the Fire Marshal’s instructions if he finds any violations. If the second re-inspection is done and violations haven’t been rectified, you could be charged with a Class 1 Misdemeanor and face up to a $2,500 fine and a year in jail. Additionally, every day the property is found in non-compliance is considered a separate offense.

The Bottom Line

Fire inspections are required for all businesses, including short-term rental properties in Norfolk. Prepare ahead using this checklist to make sure that your vacation rental or Airbnb is in compliance for a smooth, easy inspection process.

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