Posted By: Environmental Health,

Lodging Program

The Partnership4Health Environmental Services Section is responsible for delegated health and safety inspections for lodging establishments within Otter Tail County, Minnesota. In addition, we are the delegated authority for:

  • Performing regulatory inspection services as delegated
  • Issuing licenses for regulated establishments. These include:
    • Hotels & Motels
    • Resorts, Bed & Breakfast Establishments
    • Vacation Home Rentals
  • Responding to complaints, nuisances and natural disasters
  • Lodging safety complaints or concerns
  • Fire, Floods and Disaster Response


Lodging Licensing

Public lodging establishments within Otter Tail County are required to be licensed by the regulatory authority before operating.  This process may require a plan review of the establishment along with a required on-site inspection and submission of the appropriate fees. To apply for or renew your Lodging License please fill out this Food Beverage and Lodging Application.
Note:  New construction or remodel of existing establishments require a Plan Review Application by the Health Authority prior to licensing.



Lodging establishment – a building, structure, enclosure or any part thereof used as, maintained as, advertised as or held out to be a place where sleeping accommodations are furnished to the public as regular roomers, for periods of one week or more, and having five or more beds to let to the public.

Hotel or Motel – a building, structure, enclosure or any part thereof used as, maintained as, advertised as or held out to be a place where sleeping accommodations are furnished to the public and furnishing accommodations for periods of less than one week.

Resort – a building, structure, enclosure or any part thereof located on, or on property neighboring, any lake, stream, skiing or hunting area or any recreational area for purposes of providing convenient access thereto, kept, used, maintained or advertised as, or held out to the public to be a place where sleeping accommodations are furnished to the public, and primarily to those seeking recreation for periods of one day, one week, or longer, and having for rent five or more cottages, rooms or enclosures.

Vacation Home Rental– any home, cabin, condominium or similar building that is advertised or held out to the public as a place where sleeping accommodations are furnished to the public on a nightly or weekly basis and is not a bed and breakfast, resort, hotel or motel.

Boarding Establishment – a food and beverage service establishment where food or beverages, or both are furnished to five or more accommodations, for periods of one week or more.

Bed & Breakfast – owner occupied establishments which offer lodging and breakfast, without a limitation on the number of rooms offered. If breakfast is offered to more than 10 persons, a commercial kitchen is required.

Boarding with Special Services- establishments provide sleeping accommodations for residents.  A boarding license may be required. Please contact the appropriate licensing authority to determine if a lodging or boarding license is necessary:

Lodging Frequently Asked Questions

1.I’d like to start a Bed and Breakfast. Is a license required?
Yes it is. Anytime you offer lodging to more than 1 person, a license is necessary.

2.I’d like to offer dinner at my Bed and Breakfast. What do I need to do?
A Bed and Breakfast is only allowed to serve breakfast, unless there is a commercial kitchen and zoning approval.

3.We’re going to open a resort for a limited number of people and eventually expand it. Do we need a license?
If your resort is going to be offering lodging for 5 or more, a license is needed. If it’s going to offer for less than 5, no license is needed. Make sure local zoning rules allow you to have this sort of business before doing so. Local laws may be more restrictive than state rules or statutes.

4.My parents don’t need full nursing service yet. Is there a lodging business that can meet some of their needs without having the expense of a boarding care or nursing home type setting?
A Board and Lodge with Special Services might meet your needs. These types of facilities can provide help with making medical appointments, special diets, monitoring and reminding resident to take their medications, help with dressing and so on.

5.A local motel is up for sale. I’d like to buy it. Is the license transferable or will I have to apply for my own?
The license isn’t transferable; you’ll have to get your own. However, if it has been licensed in the year that you buy it, you only have to pay half of the required fees.

6.How much does the license cost each year?
The cost depends on the number of bedrooms you offer. Each licensee pays a base fee along with an amount per lodging room. If you offer a swimming pool, spa pool, food, beverages or have a public water supply or septic system there is an extra charge.

7.I would like to expand my lodging business but I don’t know where to begin. Where do I start?
View the Application Page and review the Plan Review Application. Follow the directions for developing your plans, getting zoning approvals and so on. Once the plans have been submitted, approved and returned, construction may begin. Contact your sanitarian for a final inspection and pay the required annual license fee.

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Posted By: Environmental Health,

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