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Lodging Licensing

If you are thinking of starting a lodging establishment in Vernon County, please take the time to review the following information about the licensing process and requirements. Lodging establishments include: Hotels, Motels, Bed and Breakfasts, and Tourist Rooming Houses. Lodging establishments should follow either the WI State Lodging Code or the Bed and Breakfast Code. It is against the law to operate a lodging establishment without a license. This includes homes that are listed on,, or similar sites. These homes are lodging establishments and an operating license is required.


  • A lodging license is not the only approval you will need to operate. Your local planning and zoning department must also approve your business.


  • A completed Vernon County application must be submitted to VCHD


License Types

  • License type is determined by use of the facility and number of rental units available.
  • The license types are Bed and Breakfast (8 maximum rental units), Tourist Rooming House (1-4 rental units), Lodging (5-30 rental units), Lodging (31-99 rental units), Lodging (100-199 rental units), and Lodging (200+ units).
  • If you are unsure of the type of license your establishment requires, please contact us at (608) 637-5251.

Plan Review

  • A plan review is required prior to lodging expansion, remodel, or new lodging operation.
  • Plan Review includes floor plan and application (see above). This must be submitted to the department for review.


  • A pre-inspection will be conducted when you are ready to start operating. This is to ensure that the facility has the appropriate design, equipment, and management to comply with the Lodging Code.
  • Once your application and plan review has been submitted, a sanitarian will contact you to schedule the pre-inspection.
  • Keep in mind that a new license, including change of ownership, requires the facility to get into full compliance before a license is issued.

Your License, Routine Inspections, and License Renewals

  • Your license is valid for one year from July through the following June. If you are licensed in April, May, or June, your license will not expire until June 30 of the following year.
  • You will have at least one annual inspection during the license year (not calendar year). If there are any complaints attributed to your establishment, additional inspections will be conducted.
  • Renewal notices for annual license fees are sent out in May of each year. Annual license fees are due by July 1st.
  • If the license fee is not received or post marked by July 1st, a late fee will be charged.

Supporting Documents