The Division of Hotels and Restaurants provides the following information as a general guide for bed and breakfast inn licensing in Florida and does not represent this to be all requirements for maintaining a license. For complete information, we recommend you refer to applicable laws and rules and our licensing website.
This webpage replaces our brochure: DBPR Form HR 5030-036, Guide to Bed and Breakfast Establishments.
Bed and Breakfasts
Florida law defines a bed and breakfast as a family home structure with no more than 15 sleeping rooms that provides accommodation and meal services generally offered by a bed and breakfast. The community or hospitality industry must recognize the establishment as a bed and breakfast. The Division of Hotels and Restaurants licenses lodging establishments renting to guests on a transient (temporary) basis.
If the establishment conducts food handling or preparation beyond the scope of prepackaged food products, fresh whole fruits, cereal in individual packages, or bulk milk, juice or coffee, the facility must also meet the minimum requirements for a public food service establishment and be separately licensed for this activity.
The establishment must display all current licenses or copies of licenses in a conspicuous place on the premises.
Maintain a guest register showing the signature of each guest, the dates of the guest’s stay and the rate charged for the rental unit. Maintain this information in chronological order for two years and make available for inspection upon request.
These requirements were repealed by Chapter 2009-195, Laws of Florida, effective October 1, 2009.
Install secondary locking devices that cannot be opened by the guest’s key on all guest room doors that open to the outside, to an adjoining room or to a hallway. Locking devices must meet standards approved by appropriate life safety agencies.
Telephone surcharges, if any, must be posted near each phone on a card 3 X 5 inches or larger.
Provide hot and cold potable water from an approved source to all fixtures. Sewage and wastewater must be disposed of in an approved manner. Provide a utility/custodial service type sink or a can wash provided with hot and cold water. It must connect to a sanitary sewer. Provide splash protection if the sink is located where splashes can contaminate nearby sanitary surfaces.
- Provide soap to guests either in individually wrapped bars or as liquid soap in a dispenser.
- Provide a minimum of two towels for each guest. Towels must be cleaned and changed between each guest or daily, whichever occurs first.
- Size mattress pads, bed sheets and blankets appropriately to the mattress or bed so that the entire sleeping area of the mattress is covered.
- Sheets and pillowcases must be in good condition, and cleaned and changed between each guest or once a week, whichever comes first.
- Bedding items, such as mattresses, comforters and pillows must be thoroughly aired, disinfected and kept clean.
- Baby cribs provided to guests must meet safety standards established by the Consumer Products Safety Commission.
- Keep the establishment free of vermin.
- Properly ventilate the establishment. Maintain a minimum temperature of 68ºF in all areas.
- Provide adequate lighting in halls, entrances and stairways. Bathrooms should have lighting brightness of at least 20 foot-candles.
- File a Certificate of Balcony Inspection, form DBPR HR-7020, for any building three or more stories or 17 feet in height from the lowest grade level.
Minimum Fire Safety Requirements
The division records readily observable fire safety items during inspections. The division reports any item that may violate fire safety requirements to the State Fire Marshal and local fire safety authorities. Please contact them to ensure your establishment meets fire safety requirements. General guidelines are:
- Install portable fire extinguishers in accordance with National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 10.
- Provide a fire alarm system in accordance with NFPA 72.
- Install an automatic fire sprinkler system in accordance with NFPA 25. Exception: If all rooms open directly to the outside at ground level or lead to an exterior stairway.
- One smoke alarm for the hearing impaired must be available.
- Install hard-wired smoke alarms in each sleeping area.
- Smoke alarms must be located no closer to the ceiling/wall juncture than four inches and no further from the ceiling/wall juncture than 12 inches.
- The local authority having jurisdiction determines the installation of emergency lights and exit signs.
- Establishments that exceed 16 occupants must meet the same fire safety requirements as hotels.
- Transoms are prohibited.
- Automatic fire suppression systems are required over cooking equipment when grease-laden vapors or smoke are produced.
Food Service Requirements
If a separate food service license is required, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Food Code and Chapters 61C-1 and 3, Florida Administrative Code (FAC) are the standards that apply.
If the food service operation is new, reopening after being closed over one year or being remodeled, a plan review is necessary. See our plan review website for more information.
Food Service Plumbing Requirements
For bed and breakfast inns, a three-compartment sink with drainboards at each end (or the equivalent) is recommended (but not required) to wash, rinse and sanitize equipment and utensils. A household dishwasher may also be permitted to be used. Plan Review will address what the establishment will need for dish washing during the plan review process.
A separate sink used only for hand washing must be located in each food preparation, ware washing and food dispensing area. Handwash sinks must have hot and cold running water under pressure and be equipped with soap and sanitary hand drying devices.
Additional Food Service Requirements
- Family style service of food is not permitted.
- Refrigeration equipment must hold potentially hazardous food products at or below 41ºF.
- Food manager certification is required within 30 days after employment and all food service employees must complete approved food safety training.
Human Trafficking Awareness
In 2019 section 509.096 was added to Chapter 509, Florida Statutes. This section requires all public lodging establishments to provide annual training on human trafficking awareness to employees of the establishment who perform housekeeping duties in the rental units or who work at the front desk or reception area where guests check in or check out. The training must be provided for new employees within 60 days after they begin employment in a housekeeping or reception area role, or by January 1, 2021, whichever occurs later. For more information please visit our Human Trafficking Awareness page.
All requests for public records, complaints, forms, and applications for licenses can be obtained by contacting the Customer Contact Center.
Steven von Bodungen, Director
Division of Hotels and Restaurants
2601 Blair Stone Road
Tallahassee, FL 32399-1011