February 24, 2023 | From City of New Orleans

Building Code Requirements for Short Term Rental or Bed & Breakfast use

The Department of Safety and Permits enforces the International Residential Code as well as the International Building Code. Based on informed interpretation of these codes, a residential property is not automatically considered to be a commercial use under the International Building Code when used as a rental porperty. This is applicable to standard rental (more than 30 days) or STR or B&B (less than 30 days).

In addition, for STR properties there are Permit Holder Duties and Responsibilities that afford a higher degree of safety through licensing requirements such as evacuation diagrams, fire extinguishers, and fire/smoke alarms. In a B&B the owner is required to live on the property. These conditions and requirements serve to offset the concerns that are associated with tenants that may not be as familiar with their surroundings in an emergency.

Once the occupant load reaches a higher number, the level of risk increases enough to warrant more measures to improve safety. To deal with this, cases where the number of overall bedrooms used for STR or B&B is more than five (5),* the property will require a "change of use" to an applicable occupancy type under the International Building Code when pursuing a B&B or STR license. The change of use will also require a review and approval by the Louisiana Office of State Fire Marshal.

If an applicant is renovating or building with the intent to operate a B&B or STR with more than five (5) bedrooms, it is recommended that they indicate this on their building permit submittal so that the change of use can be addressed at that time rather than postponing it for licensing, should changes to the property be required.

  • Memorandum B-23-01

* Note that Short Term Rental regulations do not permit STRs to offer or advertise more than five (5) bedrooms for rent.