Norfolk Short-Term Rental Fire Safety Inspection: How to Pass
Updated: Feb 7
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
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.