What You Need to Know About Getting a Lodging License

You will need a lodging license if you are operating a lodging business like a hotel, motel, tourist home or B&B that offers three or more guest rooms OR fewer units if you also prepare food.

How to Get a Lodging License
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Determine which license you need.
  • A lodging license is needed to operate a hotel, motel, tourist home or B&B that offers three or more guest units OR fewer units if you also prepare food.

  • Short-term rentals like Vrbo and Airbnb that do not offer 3 or more units or serve any prepared food do not need a lodging license, but must follow the Short Term Rental Guidelines.

  • A separate food service license is needed for a lodging facility that serves anything other than prepackaged items, whole fruit, or coffee. Apply for a retail food license

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Contact other state and local agencies.
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Submit a complete application packet.
  • Make sure the application is complete, legible and signed.
  • Include a copy of the wastewater permit, if necessary.
  • Include water test results, if necessary.
  • Submit at least 30 days before you plan to open.
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Pass an opening inspection.

Apply for a Lodging License Renew Your License

Specific Information About:

Short-term Rental Housing

During the 2018 special legislative session, the Vermont General Assembly passed legislation requiring that all short-term rental operators post a Vermont Meals and Rooms Tax account number on any advertisement for the short-term rental beginning July 1, 2018. This legislation also requires that the operator post in each unit the telephone number of the individual responsible for the unit. The operator also must post in each unit contact information for both the Department of Health and the Department of Public Safety’s Division of Fire Safety.

Existing and new operators should review information about the health, safety and financial obligations of short-term rental operators, prepared by the Department of Taxes, Department of Health and the Department of Public Safety. Also available is a self-certification form relating to health and safety precautions short-term rental operators must take into consideration prior to renting a unit. The form must be retained by the operator but does not have to be filed with the Department of Health.

Health Considerations of Short-Term Rental Operators

Safety, Health and Financial Obligations Self-Certification


A residential children’s camp that is a combination of programs established for the primary purpose of providing an experience for children operated and used for five or more consecutive days during one or more seasons of the year and supervising children for 24 hours a day requires a license from the Department of Health. 

Read the Requirements: Licensed Children's Camp Rule

Read the Requirements: Health Regulations for Food Service Establishments

Important Resources for You
two pieces of paper signifying a document or PDF
Application for License to Operate a Lodging Establishment
More Resources for You
Title Description
Bedbugs and Lodging Establishments This guide to bed bug identification, control and prevention helps lodging establishments plan for and respond to bed bug infestations.
Boil Water Notice Guidelines Guidelines outlining temporary methods that must be followed in order to continue food service operations when a Boil Water Notice is issued.
Americans with Disabilities Act Requirements: Service Animals This publication provides guidance on the term “service animal” and the service animal provisions in the Department of Justice's regulations.
Americans with Disabilities Act and Service Animals: Frequently Asked Questions Read for more details about service animals and the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Licensed Lodging Establishment Rule Current regulations for lodging facilities. 
Licensed Children's Camp Rule Current regulations for residential children's camps. 
Frequently Asked Questions
When did the lodging regulations change?

The new regulations for lodging rules went into effect January 1, 2018. 

Who is my health inspector?
I want to do short term rental housing like Airbnb or Vrbo. Do I need a license?

The licensed lodging establishment rule covers anyone offering three or more guest rooms or units of lodging OR fewer units if you are also serving prepared food. If you do not prepare food and you offer one or two rooms for short term rental housing, you must follow the Short-Term Rental Safety, Health, and Financial Obligations but a lodging license is not required from the Health Department. 

I want to offer lodging but I'm not sure which requirements would apply to me?

While most establishments that offer lodging will need a license from the Health Department, some short-term rental housing establishments have different requirements. There are other types of accommodations that don't fit either of these categories. Use the flow chart to determine which requirements might apply to you.

flowchart to determine lodging requirements
Contact Us

Food & Lodging Program

108 Cherry St., PO Box 70 

Burlington, VT 05402-0070

Phone: 802-863-7221 or 800-439-8550 (toll-free within Vermont)

Fax: 802-863-7483

Email: FoodLodging@vermont.gov

Find the public health inspector in your area