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Bed and Breakfast Regulations

By Pattie Detwiler | September 06, 2013 at 10:59 AM EDT

Bed and Breakfast Regulations

 By Lydia Gonzalez and Ann Johnson

Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation

Division of Hotels and Restaurants


 Bed and Breakfasts are a unique lodging alternative when traveling away from home or enjoying a brief respite locally.  This type of public lodging establishment is created when an individual opens their own family home to overnight guests.  Many people don’t realize it, but Bed and Breakfasts are regulated by the Department of Business and Professional Regulation’s Division of Hotels and Restaurants, just like hotels and motels. 


Bed and Breakfast operators must complete and submit an application to the division in order to obtain a public lodging license.  Most Bed and Breakfast establishments also require a separate public food service license - although this depends upon the level of food service provided.  (If only commercially pre-packaged products are served to guests, such as individual pre-wrapped pastries and individual containers of milk, a public food service license is not required.) 

The first step in applying for a public food service license is completing and submitting an application for plan review to ensure all the necessary food service equipment is available and properly placed.  Minimum requirements for a public food service license include a handwash sink, three-compartment sink or commercial dishwasher, mop or utility sink and a public bathroom that is accessible for customers without traveling through the food preparation, food storage or dishwashing areas.  To access these applications along with their corresponding fees, visit our website at

Another lodging alternative to hotels and motels are “vacation rentals”.  Formerly referred to as “resort condominiums” and “resort dwellings”, vacation rentals are establishments such as condominiums, cooperatives or timeshare plans, single-family homes, duplexes, quadruplexes and townhouses that are rented to guests more than four times a year for periods of less than 30 days.  These establishments are also regulated by the division and operators are required to obtain a public lodging license.

Everyone knows that unlicensed activity not only affects the safety of consumers but also the livelihood of licensed operators.  When the division receives an unlicensed activity complaint, the issue is investigated as soon as possible.  While operating without a license may be subject to disciplinary actions, the division’s primary goal is to work with operators to bring them into compliance so they may be able to operate legally within Florida.

Combating unlicensed activity is a collaborative effort and we appreciate the help of the industry and citizens.  Whether you have a tip on unlicensed activity or a complaint regarding a sanitation or safety issue for a licensed establishment, you can report the problem to DBPR by calling the Customer Contact Center at 850.487.1395 or accessing our complaint form online at

The Division is committed to providing the best service possible to our licensees and the general public.  We all want guests to be safe, enjoy their stay and come back again.  Protecting the health and safety of the public is everyone’s “business”.