Coronavirus (COVID-19) Updates
Beginning June 8, 2020 the Building Inspection plan review and zoning review counters will be open to the pubic by appointment only.
For information about scheduling an appointment and other Building Inspection services please see the Building Inspection Coronavirus (COVID-19) page.
View all impacts to City service on the City's COVID-19 website.
What is a Tourist Rooming House (TRH)?
Short-term rentals, or rental for less than 30 nights of any partial
or whole structure for sleeping accommodations is called a Tourist
Rooming House (TRH) in Wisconsin law. Airbnb, VRBO, HomeAway,
and Fairbnb.coop are a few online business platforms offering to
connect hosts and travellers.
REQUIRED: Zoning Tourist Rooming House Permit (ZTRHP)
Currently, all Tourist Rooming Houses (TRHs) must have a Tourist
Rooming House license from Public Health before advertising or
renting out any short-term rental. As of Spring 2020, a Zoning
Tourist Rooming House Permit (ZTRHP) is also required, but time
is being allotted to acquire that permit. As of 10/1/20, all TRH
operators are required to have obtained a valid Zoning Tourist
Rooming House Permit (ZTRHP) and that permit number must be
displayed in all advertisings. Operators must first possess a Public
Health TRH license before applying for the ZTRHP permit.
Why have regulations?
Websites such as Airbnb and VRBO connect homeowners with
people who need a place to stay when they’re traveling. Though
many homeowners use these platforms for intermittent on-the-side
rentals, some property owners have gone far beyond this modest
ideal. In some parts of the country, property owners are using these
web platforms to operate de facto hotels, and people are buying
property with the sole purpose of using it as a short-term rental.
Taken to these more extensive lengths, short-term rentals have a
substantial effect on neighboring property owners, changing the
character of a neighborhood, and limiting the stock of affordable
Madison has enacted ordinances that seek to strike a balance
between the competing rights of property owners. Under city
ordinance, homeowners or renters can earn some extra money
renting out space in the dwelling they occupy, but reasonable
restrictions ensure that neighbors retain the right to control the
type of neighborhood they are living in.
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Permit & License Required
Currently, all TRH operators must have a valid TRH license from Public Health before advertising or renting out any short-term rental. As of 10/1/20, all operators must also have a valid Zoning Tourist Rooming House Permit (ZTRHP).
Remember - If you are unsure, ask the Zoning Staff
- (608) 266-4551
For interpreter, translator, materials in alternate formats or other accommodations, please call the Building Inspection Division at (608) 266-4551.
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