Bed & Breakfast

Bed and breakfast establishments operate essentially like small hotels inside the owner's own residence. In recent years the internet has helped drive their popularity, since owners can more easily advertise to a wider out-of-town audience. They are a popular option for property owners looking to rent out some space in their own homes, and obtaining a license for a bed and breakfast is typically cheaper than obtaining other licenses to rent property (e.g. a hotel/motel license). However, certain requirements must be met in order to make sure a bed and breakfast license is appropriate instead of some other license. 


Bed and Breakfast establishments are defined as any place of lodging which:
  • Provides no more than 8 rooms for rent
  • To no more than 20 total tourists 
  • For more than 10 nights in a 12-month period
  • Is the owner’s personal residence
  • Is occupied by the owner at the time of rental
  • Serves only breakfast as a meal

Obtaining Licenses

Follow these steps to work towards obtaining a lodging license:

  • Review the Bed & Breakfast licensing packet links, to the left.
  • Contact the following:
    1. TOWN: Contact the Township, Village, or City for any local requirements regarding conditional use or zoning permits that may be required.
    2. COUNTY ZONING: Contact Rusk County Land Conservation & Development at 715-532-2156 to determine if a land use permit must be submitted.
    3. WELL/WATER TESTING: If a private well is present, the well must be constructed, maintained and operated according to NR812. The water must also be tested annually for coliform and nitrates. (This will be evaluated during your annual health inspection.)
  • Complete the Lodging Application, including Bed & Breakfast establishments, which can be found on our Lodging and Recreation page.
  • Submit your completed application with the required license fee(s) to our office.
  • Contact our Environmental Health Specialist, at (715) 532-2299 to schedule an onsite inspection based on the scope of rules in DATCP 73. Provide a copy of your water sample results, the completed lodging license application and pay the required license fees, if not done previously.


License Duration

  • Licenses are valid from July 1st of one year to June 30th the following year. 
  • Licenses granted on or after April 1st will extend to June 30th of the following year (rather than expiring on June 30th of the year the license was issued). 
  • Licenses expire June 30th of each year. 
  • Renewal fees for existing establishments shall be submitted to Public Health before June 30 each year.
  • Licenses are non-transferrable. If ownership changes, a new license must be attained.