What is a Hotel?
A hotel is any public lodging establishment containing sleeping room accommodations for 25 or more guests and providing the services generally provided by a hotel and recognized as a hotel in the community in which it is situated or by the industry.
What is a Motel?
A motel is any public lodging establishment which offers rental units with an exit to the outside of each rental unit, daily or weekly rates, off-street parking for each unit, a central office on the property with specified hours of operation, a bathroom or connecting bathroom for each rental unit, and at least six rental units, and which is recognized as a motel in the community in which it is situated or by the industry.
Is a Separate Food Service Establishment License Needed?
If food is prepared, served or sold a separate Food Service Establishment license can be required. Many hotels also have food service licenses. For more information on what requires a separate food service license see our Definitions web page. And for information on applying for a food service license see our Licensing Guides web page.
Steps to Getting a Hotel or Motel License
There are generally two steps to acquiring a lodging license with the division:
- Apply for a license and pay the license fee
- Schedule and pass the licensing Inspection
The Division of Hotels and Restaurants offers two methods of submitting and application for a lodging license:
- Online – We recommend submitting lodging applications online, its the fastest way to obtain approval and receive your license.
- Mail – Paper (word doc/pdf) applications are available for download at our applications page. Mail us the completed application with the correct fee. Include the Balcony Certification form with your application if applicable.
* Please allow up to 30 days for processing if submitting by mail. If an application can’t be approved we’ll send a letter by mail noting the items that need attention.
Common Issues That May Delay a Hotel or Motel Application:
- On a new license – Not including the number of rental units. License fees are partly based on the number of units; if the number is incorrect or missing the fees are likely to be wrong. If the application is for a change of ownership we’ll use the previous number of units if none are noted.
- On a change of ownership – Not including the previous license number in section 2 of the paper application. Please verify the previous license number and include it on the application.
- On a change of ownership – Providing a location address that does not match the previous license location. We cannot process a change of ownership if the location address does not match. Please verify the previous license location address including suite or unit number.
- On any application – Payment is incorrect or no payment is submitted with the application. Please review the fees section below.
Verify the license number and location address of any DBPR license on our website and search the status of license applications in progress here.
Hotel & Motel License Fees
All Lodging License fees can be determined by going to our fee calculator form. An explanation of the fee schedule for Hotels & Motels is below.
Remember to add the $50 APPLICATION FEE when making NEW and CHANGE OWNER applications.
|Capacity||Full Year Fee||1/2 Year Fee|
|Single rental unit||$190||$100|
|2-25 rental units||$200||$105|
|26-50 rental units||$215||$112.50|
|51-100 rental units||$230||$120|
|101-200 rental units||$255||$132.50|
|201-300 rental units||$285||$147.50|
|301-400 rental units||$315||$162.50|
|401-500 rental units||$340||$175|
|501 or more rental units||$370||$190|
Hotel with 99 Rooms, New application, Prorating Full-Year: $230 + $50 = $280
Motel with 12 Rooms, Change of Ownership, Prorating Half-Year: $105 + $50 = $155
Hotel with 450 Rooms, Annual renewal: $340
Additional Requirements for Buildings of Three Stories or More
Each building three or more stories must file a Certificate of Balcony Inspection with the division every three years.
All new licensees are required to pass a sanitation and safety inspection prior to opening except vacation rentals and ownership transfers that previously had a satisfactory inspection within the past 120 days. After meeting all requirements and submitting your license application and fees contact the department at 850.487.1395 to schedule an opening inspection. For more information about inspections view the inspections page.
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 to local fire safety authorities. Please contact them to ensure your establishment meets fire safety requirements.
General Fire Guidelines are:
- Install smoke detectors in every living unit.
- Have at least one hearing impaired smoke alarm available for every 50 rooms or units up to a maximum requirement of 5.
- All units must comply with the requirements of NFPA 101, the Life Safety Code.
- Boiler safety inspection guidelines, certification requirements, and owner/operator responsibilities can be found on the State Fire Marshal’s Boiler Safety webpage.
- Have accessible fire extinguishers.
- If a majority of the rental units within a single building of three stories or more with interior means of egress or greater than 75 feet in height, hotels require automatic fire sprinklers installed according to NFPA Chapter 13.
All requests for public records, complaints, forms, and applications for licenses can be obtained by contacting the Customer Contact Center.
Steven von Bodungen, Acting Director
Division of Hotels and Restaurants
2601 Blair Stone Road
Tallahassee, FL 32399-1011