Division of Hotels and Restaurants
All information on this page is current and was last reviewed by the division on June 30, 2015.
Law Requires Public Lodging Establishments to Waive Minimum Age Requirements for Military Personnel
The 2015 Legislature passed HB 277, which requires hotels, motels and bed and breakfast inns to waive minimum age requirements for active duty individuals who present a valid military ID card. This law takes effect on July 1, 2015 and creates s. 509.095, F.S.
The 2014 Florida Legislature passed HB 807, which creates a new public lodging establishment classification for Timeshare Projects and separates timeshares from vacation rentals for licensing purposes. The law, which takes effect on July 1, 2014, defines a timeshare project as "a timeshare property, as defined in Chapter 721, that is located in this state and that is also a transient public lodging establishment." Public lodging establishments licensed as timeshare projects will be subject to the same licensing, inspection, and sanitation and safety regulations as vacation rentals.
All currently licensed public lodging establishments that meet the new classification for a timeshare project must notify the division. Letters explaining the new classification and the renewal and licensure process will be mailed with the annual renewal notices. New timeshare project licensees who are not currently licensed by the division must submit an application for a timeshare project license.
For more information on the new timeshare project license classification, please contact the division by e-mail to DHR.Info@myfloridalicense.com or by phone at 850.487.1395.
HUD-Inspected Elderly Housing Attestation Now Available
Owners and operators may apply to exclude from licensure those apartment buildings inspected by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) that are designated primarily as housing for persons at least 62 years old (elderly housing) by completing and submitting DBPR HR-7032, Attestation for Exclusion from Public Lodging Establishment License. The form is available on our Lodging Forms and Publications webpage.
This exclusion, created by Laws of Florida, Chapter 2012-165, only applies to individual apartment buildings, not entire apartment complexes. The division will still license and inspect any apartment building that is not inspected by HUD and designated as elderly housing. If all of the buildings in the complex meet the exclusion criteria, you may choose "Full Exclusion" and the division will not license or inspect your complex.
If you are applying for a new apartment license, please attach this form with your license application. If you do not have an existing license with the division, you do not need to complete the License Number information on the form.
The 2012 Legislature passed House Bill 249, which removes specific lodging establishments from regulation by the Division of Hotels and Restaurants and adds three-family dwellings back to the vacation rental classification after they were removed last year. Governor Scott signed this bill into law on April 27, 2012.
As of October 1, 2012, the division will no longer license and inspect any public lodging establishment classified as a rooming house. Additionally, the division will no longer have authority over apartment buildings inspected by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) that are designated primarily as housing for persons at least 62 years old (elderly housing). The apartment exemption in this law only applies to individual apartment buildings, not entire apartment complexes. The division will still license and inspect any apartment building that is not inspected by HUD and designated as elderly housing. More information on these new exemptions will be available soon.
The division will continue to license and inspect these establishments until the law, Chapter 2012-165, Laws of Florida, takes effect on October 1, 2012. Please contact the division if you have questions about these changes.
The Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) has upgraded its license application process, enabling the majority of applications for food service and lodging establishments to be completed online. The upgrade will have a significant impact on the length of time needed to process applications, allowing online applicants to bypass several components of the paper application system.
“Making the application process easier for licensees and potential licensees is going to help us keep Florida businesses strong,” said DBPR Secretary Ken Lawson. “The industry asked us to improve this procedure, and I’m pleased our technological upgrades have made this new system possible.”
Applicants may apply online for all food service, hotel, motel, and apartment licenses. The department is also offering a complete option for online plan review submittal, including the application, fees and all supporting documents. The Department plans to continue upgrading the applications process to an online system and will add applications for elevator- and escalator- related licenses in the future, as well as applications for licensed vacation rentals. Applicants for the various licenses can also still apply via hard copy applications, also available on our website.
The division now licenses “resort condominiums” and “resort dwellings” as “vacation rentals,” except for three-family units, which were removed from the vacation rental classification. The Division of Hotels and Restaurants Advisory Council now includes a representative from the Florida Vacation Rental Managers Association. Lodging operated by non-profits for only patients, patients’ families, and caregivers are no longer licensed as public lodging establishments. Please contact the division if you have questions about these changes.
Local governments are now prohibited from imposing new restrictions or regulations on vacation rentals with some exceptions. The laws and penalties for unauthorized or illegal handbill distribution at public lodging establishments also changed. The division does not enforce these laws. You may want to contact your local government and law enforcement agency for information. Ch. 2011-119, Laws of Florida, (House Bill 883) became effective on June 2, 2011.
The Division of Hotels and Restaurants has streamlined its food and lodging application forms to remove obsolete requirements and facilitate processing. While the division will continue to accept old forms, we highly recommend applicants begin using the new forms. To access these forms, click on the Apply for a License link above.
The 2010 Legislature transferred regulation of carbon monoxide detectors under section 509.211(4), Florida Statutes, to the Division of State Fire Marshal, as of July 1, 2010. The division will stop enforcing the requirements on that date and all questions about carbon monoxide detectors in public lodging establishments should be directed to the Division of State Fire Marshal.
Carbon monoxide detectors were first required in boiler rooms in public lodging establishments by chapter 2007-181, Laws of Florida. The division started enforcing this requirement on July 1, 2007. See Industry Bulletin 2007-03 for more information.
Public food service and public lodging licenses may now be subject to penalty for failing to pay outstanding taxes. Changes to the Department of Revenue's laws allow the division to refuse to renew a license or to suspend a license if the licensee has an outstanding tax warrant for three months. Chapter 2010-166, Laws of Florida, took effect on May 28, 2010, when the Governor signed House Bill CS/HB 5801 into law. Chapter 2010-138, Laws of Florida, also allows this same license action. The division is implementing these laws and will notify licensees at the time of renewal if the new law impacts your license.
As the result of worldwide concerns with increasing bed bug resurgence, in recent months the division's Office of Program Quality staff conducted research on how other inspection jurisdictions across the nation handle bed bug complaints and with pest control experts. The research greatly diminished our prior concerns of inspector contamination and transferring the bed bugs within establishments or to other establishments. As a result the division has become more proactive in the investigation of bed bug complaints. Although we have received relatively few founded complaints, our inspectors have been instructed to explain our position and remedies to operators where bedbugs are confirmed.
For more information about bed bug infestation, please see our Bed Bug Guide .
Effective October 1, 2009, the Hospitality Education Program (HEP) only administers the school-to-career grant and no longer provides training programs. Any licensee required to complete a HEP training program as part of a Settlement Agreement or Final Order should contact the division. The law, Chapter 2009-195, Laws of Florida, also repealed the requirement for public lodging establishments to file room rates with the division, post room rates in each room, and restrictions on advertisement wording and sizing. The repeal does not impact price-gouging laws enforced by the Attorney General or unethical business practice laws enforced by the division.
Effective July 1, 2008, the division’s licensees no longer have to keep a copy of Chapter 509, FS, on premises and the definition of public lodging establishment separately defines transient and non-transient. The division may refuse to renew your license if you have past due fines and may file an administrative complaint against your license for failing to comply with a Final Order. The division will not file an administrative complaint for violating fire safety codes, but will note the violation on your inspection and notify the State Fire Marshal or local fire authority of the violation. Requirements for the number of restrooms and restroom signage in a public food service establishment now falls under the Florida Building Code and the local building authorities. The division still inspects restrooms for sanitation and safety issues and will ensure restrooms are provided for both employee and public use.
The Division of Hotels and Restaurants urges all lodging establishment owners/operators to check their water heating equipment for possible violations of boiler safety standards. Industry Bulletin #2007-01 contains more information about this important requirement.
House Rule Information for Transient Guest Ejection
Industry Bulletin #2003-01 reminds transient public lodging establishments of appropriate guest ejection procedures for transient guests claiming to be non-transient tenants.
Mold Infestation Information
Complaints regarding mold infestation are the fastest rising problem received by the division. Important Information Sheet #2002-04 is intended to provide information to public lodging operators regarding resources for combating mold infestations.