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District 2

Alder Patrick Heck

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Alder Patrick Heck

Contact Information

Home Address:

123 N. Blount St #303

Council Office

Common Council Office:
210 Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd
Room 417
Madison, WI 53703
Phone: (608) 266-4071
Fax: (608) 267-8669
WI Relay Service

Alder Heck’s Updates

FAQ: Tourist Rooming Houses

October 28, 2013 2:52 PM

A number of questions have come up regarding the proposed Tourist Rooming House ordinance.  Following are common questions and answers.  The proposed ordinace will be considered at the October 29 Common Council meeting...agenda item 8:

Definition: Tourist Rooming House. (TRH) A building or portion thereof, other than a Hotel, Motel, Bed and Breakfast Establishment or Hostel, in which sleeping accommodations are offered for pay to tourists or transients. The definition does not include private boarding, lodging or rooming houses not accommodating tourists or transients.


Supplemental regulation:


a) The establishment shall have a current license from Public Health of Madison and Dane County, as required by Wis. Admin. Code ch. DHS 195.

b) The tourist rooming house shall be the owner's primary residence.

c) Owner shall register with Treasurer's office and shall pay room tax as required under Sec. 4.21, MGO.

d) Only the owner of the property may operate a Tourist Rooming House, except that a renter may operate if explicitly allowed in the lease.

e) A tourist rooming house may operate no more than thirty days per licensing year; July 1 to June 30th.

f) Maximum tourist occupancy shall comply with maximum family occupancy rules in the underlying zoning district regulations (red is a suggested change).


Zoning/Use scenarios:

  • Can I rent a bedroom in my apartment?

Yes a tenant may rent a room as a TRH for up to 30 days if the lease allows the arrangement.

  • Can I rent a room in my home?

Yes (BATHROOMS below) a maximum of 30 days in a license year.

  • Can I rent a room in my condo?

Yes (BATHROOMS below) a maximum of 30 days in a license year.

  • Can I leave my apartment and rent it?

Yes, see bathroom comment below, a maximum of 30 days in a license year.

  • Can I rent my house or condo where I leave for rental?

Yes, a maximum of 30 days in a license year.

  • I own a home that is vacant. Can I rent this home as a TRH?

No. If you own a home that you do not live in, is not your residence, no short-term rental is allowed.

  • What if my renter occupied for more than 30 consecutive days?

TRH regulations in the zoning code do not apply to people occupying for over 30 days.

  • How many people can I rent the space to? What are the occupancy limitations?

Same as the limitation of occupancy for the dwelling. A family is generally considered a group of related individuals. Roomers are considered unrelated individuals. The regulation of a family plus roomers depends on the zoning of the property. Check with the zoning office to clarify the correct limitation. A few scenarios:

§ Typical low-density residential area, primarily single-family owner occupied homes = family plus one roomer or no more than two unrelated individuals.

§ A multiple-family zoning district, higher density, apartments or condos = typical occupancy is limited to a family plus four roomers, or up to five unrelated individuals.


Public Health Madison and Dane County

  • Tourist Rooming House License is required
  • May or may not be owner occupied at the time of the rental
  • Owner can offer prepackaged, shelf-stable food or whole fruit to their guests without a food license.
  • Guests may not share bathrooms unless the house is rented to a single family.
  • For unrelated guests each bedroom must have its own bathroom or separate designated men's and women's bathrooms must be provided.
  • Individual locks on the bedroom doors are required unless you rent the home to a single family.


Building Code

No building code issue beyond what is otherwise required for the residential use

  • Is there a Smoke detector rule?
    Yes, current rules for smoke detectors apply, no change required for TRH.


For Common Council Meeting, 10/29/13


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City Meetings of Interest
Liquor License
Neighborhood Information
Neighborhood Meeting
Redevelopment/Development Proposal Meeting


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