Tourist Rooming Houses (TRHs)

Tourist Rooming Houses are private properties rented out for lodging to others by the property owner. Tourist rooming houses include properties like cottages and cabins. Tourist rooming houses are similar to bed and breakfasts but have some important differences, including the number of units they can rent and the requirement that the owner occupy a bed and breakfast while it is being rented (no such requirement exists for tourist rooming houses). 


A tourist rooming house is defined as: 

“All lodging places and tourist cabins and cottages, other than hotels and motels, in which sleeping accommodations are offered for pay to tourists or transients.” 

  • This definition does not include bed and breakfasts or private boarding/rooming houses not accommodating tourists or transients. 
  • Tourist Rooming Houses are typically vacation homes, cabins, and cottages that are briefly rented to tourists and transients. 
  • Up to four units (rooms, cabins, etc.) may be rented under a tourist rooming house license; for more than four units a hotel license is needed. 

Obtaining Licenses

Follow these steps to work towards obtaining a lodging license:

  • Review the TRH 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 Tourist Rooming Houses, 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 72. 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.