Bed and Breakfast Consultant Service & Realtor
Guide to a Successful Sale or Purchase of a Bed & Breakfast Business
Click Here to see more Inns for Sale
      St. Augustine, Fl

10 Guest Room B&B  in the Heart of Historic St. Augustine, plus 12 parking spaces.  Beautiful luxury guest rooms all with private baths.  Good Wedding Business as well.

6 Guest Rooms.  5 in Main House plus Guest Cottage, over two properties. Great Craftsman Style House.  Comfortable & charming Guest Rooms well designed. Also includes 2 bedroom, 2 bath owner's quarters on premises.
Grandview BnB Mount Dora
Grandview BnB
Mount Dora, Florida
5 Guest Room, with Pool, plus separate Owner's House
30 days on Market
69 days to Close
Real Results

New Smyrna Beach, Fl

6 Guest Rooms plus
1200sf Owner's Quarters
Stylish, Casual, quaint yet Bohemian in a surfing beach town. Historic Craftsman Style BnB in Heart of Historic Downtown with off street parking.  Walking distance to restaurants & shopping, riverside parks.  2 minutes from beach.

Amelia Island Williams House
Mango Inn, B & B

Lake Worth Florida    
10 Guest Rooms, plus 2 Bed/2Bath Owner's Residence
Some potential Innkeepers are enthusiastic about restoring and decorating a historic home. Make sure you want to be an innkeeper - not a decorator.


Sponsored by the Florida Bed and Breakfast Inns Association

WHEN:  Sunday, January 8 - Tuesday, January 10, 2017

WHERE:  Victorian House Bed and Breakfast

                 St. Augustine, Florida  (Call to book your rooms directly 904-824-5214)

An all inclusive weekend full of knowledge about the Bed and Breakfast Industry from acquiring, retrofitting, building a Bed and Breakfast, including regulatory, zoning, government, Fire Safety, Alcohol Licensing, Marketing your Inn, Evaluating how your Inn is doing, and understanding Exit Strategies, plus every day Operations, to help you make an educated decision on how or if you want to proceed into the hospitality industry. 

Professional Speaker, Pattie Detwiler of and Seasoned Bed and Breakfast Owners will walk you through the process.  This is your opportunity to thoroughly understand the business you are thinking of investing in, while being a guest at a luxury Bed and Breakfast Property.  Two Night  Accommodations  are not included in the registration fee.  Space is Limited, so please register early to insure your place. 60 day cancellation policy.  It's good to understand the hospitality industry. New Innkeepers are invited to attend as well.  CLICK HERE TO REGISTER

What participants at the July 2015 Aspiring Workshop had to say:
100% said they would recommend this Workshop to other!
When asked the most valuable topic presented:  Valuation & Financing;  Regulations & Operational Tips; Vendors and Staffing. 
When asked the least valuable topic:  100% said there was no topic they deemed least valuable.


Are you a Buyer, Seller, or an Aspiring Innkeeper?  Considering opening a Bed & Breakfast, or do you have some practical questions on how to proceed?  Consulting an experienced professional Bed & Breakfast consultant and Realtor is the place to begin.  Selling your Inn?  This is the place to start.

When Buying or Selling a Bed and Breakfast, things to consider:

Does the Inn generate sufficient income to cover operating expenses, debt service (mortgage), and owner’s compensation?

Does the Inn have the realistic potential to become financially sustainable?  It may currently be distressed, closed, under-performing or used for another purpose.

Is the Inn a great property but revenues cannot cover all the costs.  Do you just want to live your lifestyle there and have guests supplement income so you can afford to live there yourself?

The process of creating something new or buying a turn key bed and breakfast can be daunting.  Our service shows you the path and we'll be there with you during the process.  Many can sell you real estate. Some will even hand you a manual. Then the rest is up to you! 

This is what sets us apart from the rest.  We collaborate with you to define your vision, and then we stay with you each step of the way from creating a business plan through your grand opening.


The reason to hire a professional is to save time, money... and the aggravation of having to reinvent the wheel!

Patricia F. Detwiler, Realtor                    
Keller Williams Realty Wellington
12008 South Shore Boulevard, Suite 201
Wellington, Fl  33414

The experience and expertise of a professional consultant and Realtor will help you develop a clear vision of the realities of the hospitality business, while making you aware of the little, everyday details which will make your Bed and Breakfast a success. Avoid the annoying surprises which unfamiliarity with construction problems, financing issues and regulatory restrictions can bring. Professional advice will enable you to focus on materializing your dream, and not be put off by unanticipated distractions.

Expertise & Experience

Creative Development
New construction
Creative design
Financial advice
Business Plan
Location Analysis
Zoning Issues
State and Local Licensing
Operation Logistics

Guest Management
Website Development

Lifestyle Inn - What is it?

Some innkeepers consider their Inn a Lifestyle Inn.  What does that mean and give me a good example, you ask?  Grady House in High Springs, Florida is a good example of a Lifestyle Inn.  It’s owners bought the property because they loved it and the area.  The Inn is a beautiful Craftsman style house with 7 guest rooms, 5 en-suite in the main house, plus a 2 bedroom, 2 bath owner’s quarters in the main house. It addition, it’s divided over two properties, one being Skeets Cottage which has two bedrooms, one bath and a kitchen.


The husband is a successful attorney and the wife is a retired attorney who wanted to live a simpler lifestyle that’s not in the middle of a big town.  High Springs is a great area of Florida not to far from the University of Florida in Gainesville, which is about 20 minutes away  and unique offerings of art, antiques and outdoor adventures that make it a refreshing getaway. Considered an international eco-tourism destination the area is surrounded by natural attractions, the town attracts canoeists, cave divers and campers heading to the nearby Santa Fe River. High Springs is a place for snorkeling, diving, tubing or swimming in natural springs that flow at a steady 72 degrees all year long. Ginnie Springs was listed in Country Living Magazine in 2015 as one of the Nation' s Best Swimming Holes. They received the best of both worlds.  Not too far from a major city and in the heart of a smaller town with award winning restaurants.   Would this be a good investment for someone who wants to own and operate an Inn?  Yes, for the right buyer.


Is the Inn financially sustainable? Yes.  Can the owners prove the income? Yes.  Does the owner’s tax returns reflect the accurate expenses of the Inn?  No.  That’s why I always say, only write off the expenses of the Inn and nothing else.  All lenders look at the tax returns for the past 3 years to verify growth, income and expenses.  Are all the deductions legal?  Yes!


Why would someone want to buy this type of Inn?  Most likely for the same reasons these owners did.  Is it harder to find the right buyer?  Yes.  Will it take longer to sell?  Most likely.  How will lenders look at this property from their point of view?  Well, they will look at the proven revenue, which is a good thing.  They will also look at the expenses and at first glance see there is not enough net operating income to cover the new debt.  Unless you have a cash buyer, or the owner is interested in holding the financing, this could be a problem for a potential buyer. 


What can you do if you have a lifestyle inn and want to sell it?  I recommend you document the expenses that are not directly related to running the inn.  Some lenders will look at your documentation and take that into consideration when underwriting the loan.  Also, there are many potential buyers who will have one person operate the inn and the other work outside of the Inn.  I’ve seen several examples of this over the years.  One was a fireman, the other an attorney and one a doctor, while some are in technology.  It doesn’t matter the profession, it matters if the outside income can support the debt of the lifestyle inn one is looking to purchase.


If you find yourself in this position and would like an evaluation of what needs to be done before considering a sale, I’m always willing to help.  The reason to ask a professional is to save you  time, money... and the aggravation of having to reinvent the wheel!


From AIHP Innkeeper Magazine I wrote for Innkeepers.


The answer is yes to both.  It seems that in the last year there have been plenty of buyers and plenty of sellers.  I don’t think the market suggests there is an advantage to being a seller or a buyer at this time in the market.  Many Inn properties have changed ownership over the past year at reasonable and defensible pricing reflecting a healthy market.   After 2008 when the economy tanked, there were many Inns that couldn’t hang on and did go out of business or had to sell their Inn for less than value.  That was also true of the housing market as well.


Commercial interest rates are low comparatively speaking, and many Small Business Administration Loans are being used when purchasing an Inn.  There are even USDA Loans available in certain areas.


What are some of the preparation items a seller can accomplish prior to listing an Inn for Sale?


1.              If there are any repairs needed, or regular maintenance items needed, do them.  Don’t say, “Well the new owners can do those things”.  That can hurt the value of the property and the perception of the buyer who will be viewing your property.

2.              List of major repairs that have been completed over the term of your ownership.  Especially Roof, Appliances, Heating and Air Conditioning systems (HVAC), etc

3.              Keep your Financial Information up to date and current.  Don’t add items that are not directly related to the expenses of the Inn.  Many do this to keep their taxes lower, but the end result is the value of your Inn can be hurt.  Profit & Loss Statements for last 3 years & include current year to date information.  This is needed to help evaluate and set a sales price and prospective Buyers will ask for this information.  You may want to know that the buyer’s lender will want to see the certified tax returns for the past 3 years, so the profit and loss statements provided should accurately reflect the Inns’ tax returns.

4.              List the items that will be included in the sale by room, and the items that will be excluded.  If you are planning on keeping certain paintings or artwork, you may want to replace them before you starting showing the property to a potential buyer.  The same goes for pieces of furniture that are special to you and will not go with the sale of the property.

5.              Buyers want to know what your occupancy rate, average daily rate, and room rates are.  Income by month to help establish an understanding of cash flow or seasonal income.  Is there a potential for growth if they purchase the Inn.


These are just a few tips for Sellers, there are other items to gather together to be ready to put your Inn on the market for sale.  I’m more than happy to answer any questions you may have about preparing your Inn for sale.  Pattie Detwiler, Consultant/Realtor, Bed and Breakfast Consultant Service,  561.223.3201 or email your questions to

Longer Timelines to Close with New Rules

WASHINGTON – Oct. 19, 2015 – It has barely been a couple of weeks since a nationwide changeover in mortgage and settlement procedures went into effect, but lenders and brokers are already charging that just about everything is taking longer and that homebuyers' costs are increasing.

As of Oct. 3, lenders, title insurers and settlement agents had to comply with an almost 1,900-page new rulebook. The change was designed to improve transparency and accuracy in real estate and mortgage transactions to help both buyers and refinancers.

Most mortgage experts view the new disclosures as an improvement over the ones they replaced, but worry remains that the reformed process would draw out the typical time span between loan application and closing.

However, what has received less focus are the impacts of longer timelines on how much consumers pay to close the deal – increases that are just starting to become more evident.

According to Mortgage Bankers Association Chief Economist Michael Fratantoni, the expenses added by the new settlement rules are in addition to a long series of federal regulatory changes in the last few years that have hiked the cost of originating a typical home loan from $4,500 to $7,000.

"A lot of it is personnel, quality control, spending on new technology" and reprogramming systems, says Fratantoni.

As lenders and settlement agents gain more experience in managing deadlines under the new rules, Fratantoni and others hope that 30-day closings will become more common again.

Source: Daily Herald (10/16/15) Harney, Ken

© Copyright 2015 INFORMATION, INC. Bethesda, MD (301) 215-4688

Aspiring Innkeeper Workshop July 17 - 19, 2015 West Palm Beach Fl


Sponsored by the Florida Bed and Breakfast Inns Association


WHERE:  Casa Grandview Bed and Breakfast
              1410 Georgia Avenue, West Palm Beach, FL  33401

Unlike any other Aspiring Innkeeper Workshop.  An all inclusive weekend full of knowledge about the Bed and Breakfast Industry from acquiring, retrofitting, building a Bed and Breakfast, including regulatory, zoning, government, Fire Safety, Alcohol Licensing, Marketing your Inn, Evaluating how your Inn is doing, and understanding Exit Strategies, plus every day Operations, to help you make an educated decision on how or if you want to proceed into the hospitality industry. 

Professional Speaker, Pattie Detwiler of and Seasoned Bed and Breakfast Owners will walk you through the process.  This is your opportunity to thoroughly understand the business you are thinking of investing in, while being a guest at a high end luxury Bed and Breakfast Property.  All Accommodations and Meals are included in the registration fee.  Space is Limited, so please register early to insure your place. It's good to understand the hospitality industry. New Innkeepers are invited to attend as well.  CLICK HERE TO REGISTER

In the meantime, if you have any questions regarding decisions you may have to make prior to the Aspiring Workshop, the Florida Bed and Breakfast Inns is always ready, willing and able to answer any questions to help you begin.  561.223.9550

What Buyers Want to Know when Purchasing Bed and Breakfast

One of the most important thing buyers want to  know is what your verified income and expenses are.  Sounds personal, but you can't make a business decision without the information.  How much income is room revenue, private parties, up sales, weddings, etc.  What have the expenses been for the past few years.  What is your occupancy.  What is your Net Operating Income? A major concern of buyers is will the Inn cash flow when I add a mortgage payment to the bottom line.  How much are taxes and insurance on the property.

Is your business licensing up to date.  Do you have a Bed and Breakfast License and Restaurant License?  Do you have an Alcohol License?  They want to know which licenses are assumable and which are not.

Are all items being purchased.  If not, make a list of items that will not be transferring with the sale. Furniture, Fixtures, Equipment?  What is the Property Value?  What is the FFE Value?  What is the Business Value?

Have your paperwork ready to share with your Realtor.  Buyers are evaluating the purchase price and what's included on what is verifiable, not what could be if someone else put in more work.

When a Seller says the B&B is a Turnkey Operation, what does that mean to the buyer?  It simply means a buyer can step into your property tomorrow and run it without any interruption, repairs, all licenses are up to date and the guest bookings are solid.

Florida Bed and Breakfast Inns Innkeeping Conference Orlando 2014

Florida Bed and Breakfast Inns is hosting an Innkeeping Conference on September 28 & 29, 2014 in Orlando, Florida.  If you are an Aspiring Innkeeper this is the conference for you.  Separate Aspiring Innkeeper Seminar all day Sunday, September 28th.  Don't miss the Full Conference with Trade Show.  This is the place to learn about the hospitality business.  For more details Click Here.

Trip Advisor Friend or Foe

Does your Trip Advisor listing say you are fully booked when you are not?


I knew this was a problem, but I don't think potential guests looking for accommodations realize that if you are not listed with one of the OTA's that Expedia owns, Trip Advisor site will indicate they cannot find rates for your Inn and suggest another that is listed with the conglomerate.  If you don't have a Business Listing and/or you're not listed with OTAs, travellers can be misled.  Trip Advisor is owned by Expedia who also owns, Veneer and a couple of other big OTA's.


Alongside this are their visit date query boxes to take them away from your Inn.  If you enter a date then your Inn will disappear if you are not signed up to an OTA or Trip Connect. I don't think a Business Listing will change this at all other than allow you to give them even more money through Trip Connect.


It didn't use to be like that. They showed your details and allowed people to find you. Now, if you don't have a business listing, your business is quickly swept aside. I am aware of this, and if I search for accommodation and see some lovely reviews, I know to go searching out of Trip Advisor.  But the average traveler could well take their word for it that you just don't have any availability. This is a big issue for those of you who do not want a business listing, but I have no solution on how to combat it.


Having a business listing won't make any difference as it just adds a direct link to your website. This does make it easier for people to get to your website, but if they want to know your availability from within Trip Advisor you will disappear once they enter dates.

If you want to show up on date searches then you need either to sign up for Trip Connect, or use an affiliated OTA.

Trip Advisor is evolving into a booking site and a pretty powerful one.


In 2011 Florida Legislature enacted House Bill 7209 allowing individuals to manufacture, sell and store certain types of "cottage food" products in an unlicensed home kitchen.  Cottage food laws are somewhat restrictive, though fortunately it's very easy for a producer to start selling.  No license or permit is required, and there are no training or inspection fees, and the laws are fairly lenient when it comes to the allowed foods that a producer can sell.  Unfortunately, the producer is restricted to only $15,000 of sales per year, and they may only sell directly to consumers - no wholesale, mail order, or internet sales are allowed.


The new law does not cover many food items, including meats, dairy products, ketchup and canned pickled products. If these products aren't made properly, they can cause salmonella or botulism. To prevent any sanitation disasters, take an online course in food handling.  Although you don't need a license from the Agriculture Department to get started, you may need to get a standard business license, if your city or county requires it. You can call your planning division to find out if any zoning requirements apply to you.


Miami-Dade County does not allow cottage food operations at all, and other counties or cities may have similar restrictions.


The Division of Food Safety is responsible for assuring the public of a safe, wholesome and properly represented food supply through permitting and inspection of food establishments, inspection of food products, and performance of specialized laboratory analyses on a variety of food products sold or produced in the State. The Division monitors food from farm gate through processing and distribution to the retail point of purchase.  The new law does not cover many food items, including meats, dairy products, ketchup and canned pickled products. If these products aren't made properly, they can cause salmonella or botulism. To prevent any sanitation disasters, take an online course in food handling.


The Division is charged with administration and enforcement of the food and poultry and egg laws, and also provides support in the enforcement of other food safety laws. In addition to regulatory surveillance and enforcement, the Division evaluates consumer complaints related to food.


Florida Statutes

Chapter(s): 500, 501, 502, 503504, 531, 583, 586, 601

Florida Administrative Code and Register

Chapter(s): 5K-45G-6


Boutique Hotels

There is some overlap between the concept of a small boutique inn and a bed and breakfast. Boutique Inns are described as personalized, customized, unique, and individual, combining historic details with chic elegance. The most important defining features of boutique Inns are cultural, historical, authenticity; the boutique hotel is not part of a chain and that it provides interesting, unique services. Other important defining descriptors of boutique hotels include, social spaces such as living rooms, libraries with social rooms and many, high-quality inroom features.


A "Boutique Inns" describes an approach and attitude, with no regard to hotel size. A Boutique hotel is a term that describes Inns that contain luxury facilities of varying size in unique or intimate settings with full service accommodations. Typically boutique hotels are furnished in a themed and stylish manner. Boutique Inns are often individual and focused on offering their services in a comfortable, intimate, and welcoming setting,


Guest rooms and suites may be fitted with telephone and Wi-Fi Internet, air-conditioning, honesty bars and cable TV, but sometimes none of these, focusing on quiet and comfort rather than gadgetry. Guest services are often attended to by 24 hour  staff members.  Many boutique hotels have on-site dining facilities, and offer bars and lounges that may also be open to the general public.  Boutique Inns have typically been unique properties operated by individuals or companies with a small collection.


Travelers nowadays expect more than simple comfort and convenience. An increasing number of travelers prefer to be "surprised". When planning trips, they seek properties that are noticeably different in look and feel from branded hotels.


Hotels girding for a fight against AirBnb

City regulators and the hotel industry want to crack down on Airbnb and other sites. By Lisa Fickenscher  Crain’s New York Business

August 19, 2013 5:00 a.m.

Hotels girding for a fight against Airbnb

Meanwhile, city regulators and Attorney General Eric Schneiderman are looking into cracking down on companies that help folks rent out their apartments to tourists.

Each week, Mayor Michael Bloomberg's Office of Special Enforcement fields about 10 complaints about residential apartments that are being rented out to tourists for overnight stays—which is illegal in New York but one of the hardest laws to enforce.

While thousands of New Yorkers advertise their apartments on Airbnb, and VRBO (which stands for Vacation Rentals by Owner) as an alternative to pricey hotel rooms, some of their neighbors are complaining about the coterie of strangers filing into their buildings on a nightly basis. Government agencies are looking at new ways to regulate this shadow industry, while hoteliers are mapping out strategies to punch back at what they see as unfair competition.

Recent well-publicized cases have fed a new urgency to do something about this segment of the so-called sharing economy. One involved a tenant who was fined $2,400 by a court for renting out his East Village apartment; another case highlighted the effort of landlord Ken Podziba to evict a tenant in his building who reportedly made $500,000 over four years running a business renting her apartment to tourists.

"These people [who rent out their apartments] don't pay taxes," said Vijay Dandapani, chief executive of Apple Core Hotels in New York, "The web sites may tell them they need to pay all taxes, but they don't require it."

Airbnb, however, does submit tax information on the rental income of its hosts to the federal government.

City officials say they are driven by concerns over public safety issues, apartments, for example, that don't meet the fire prevention standards that hotels are required to comply with. But enforcing a 2010 state law that makes it illegal to rent out an apartment for less than 30 days when the owner is not at home, falls to a meager staff at the Office of Enforcement, which investigates cases when a complaint is filed.

"This office focuses on quality of life issues citywide, but illegal hotels takes up most of our time," said a city official.

The agency has logged 3,200 complaints and 6,600 violations since 2006 when Mayor Michael Bloomberg expanded enforcement to handle the illegal hotel issue.

About two months ago, a city hall official met with executives from San Francisco-based Airbnb, asking the five-year-old company to work with the city on a new business model that doesn't run afoul of the law. Nothing yet has come of those conversations.

Airbnb fought passage of the law three years ago and is lobbying for new legislation that allow people to rent their apartments as hotels if they pay hotel occupancy taxes and make safety modifications to their apartments like adding smoke detectors among other stipulations.

Airbnb says that 87% of its hosts are renting out their primary residence for less than four weeks a year and that many of them are home during the rental, according to a survey the company asked its hosts to complete.

For now, enforcement has focused on landlords and tenants who rent out residential buildings or units rather than on the companies like Airbnb that facilitate the rentals.

The problem is that many hosts are unaware that they may be violating the law—if they even know that one exists. Earlier this year, an East Village resident, Nigel Warren, who advertised his apartment on Airbnb, was fined $2,400 by an administrative law judge. Later, Mr. Warren blogged about his experience complaining that Airbnb should have been more explicit in informing hosts about the laws. Airbnb responded by defending him in court.

Airbnb acknowledges that its hosts were lacking knowledge about local laws concerning illegal hotels.

In May, the company added a pop-up screen when hosts register their apartments, advising users to "review their local laws before listing their space on Airbnb." It says the company "is working with governments around the world to clarify these rules so that everyone has a clear understanding of what the laws are."

Industry sources say a chief reason Airbnb and its competitors have not been targeted by regulatory authorities is that they are protected under section 230 of the federal Communications and Decency Act of 1996, which originally sought to regulate Internet pornography. Section 230 provides safe harbor for Internet service providers that simply provide a platform for online content, exempting them from liability.

According to sources who have met with the attorney general's office, Mr. Schneiderman's staff is looking at ways to get around this legal conundrum. A spokeswoman for the attorney general declined to comment for this story.

The hotel industry is hoping to organize a class action lawsuit against Airbnb, said Mr. Dandapani, a director of the Hotel Association of New York City and a member of its executive committee. He believes the government could also compel Airbnb and its competitors to collect disclosure of tax forms, essentially forcing the companies to prove that their hosts are paying all of their taxes.

"We are not sitting still," Mr. Dandapani said. "They are violating the law and we are the affected class."

Bed and Breakfast Regulations

Bed and Breakfast Regulations

 By Lydia Gonzalez and Ann Johnson

Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation

Division of Hotels and Restaurants


 Bed and Breakfasts are a unique lodging alternative when traveling away from home or enjoying a brief respite locally.  This type of public lodging establishment is created when an individual opens their own family home to overnight guests.  Many people don’t realize it, but Bed and Breakfasts are regulated by the Department of Business and Professional Regulation’s Division of Hotels and Restaurants, just like hotels and motels.

Bed and Breakfast operators must complete and submit an application to the division in order to obtain a public lodging license.  Most Bed and Breakfast establishments also require a separate public food service license - although this depends upon the level of food service provided.  (If only commercially pre-packaged products are served to guests, such as individual pre-wrapped pastries and individual containers of milk, a public food service license is not required.) 

The first step in applying for a public food service license is completing and submitting an application for plan review to ensure all the necessary food service equipment is available and properly placed.  Minimum requirements for a public food service license include a handwash sink, three-compartment sink or commercial dishwasher, mop or utility sink and a public bathroom that is accessible for customers without traveling through the food preparation, food storage or dishwashing areas.  To access these applications along with their corresponding fees, visit our website at

Another lodging alternative to hotels and motels are “vacation rentals”.  Formerly referred to as “resort condominiums” and “resort dwellings”, vacation rentals are establishments such as condominiums, cooperatives or timeshare plans, single-family homes, duplexes, quadruplexes and townhouses that are rented to guests more than four times a year for periods of less than 30 days.  These establishments are also regulated by the division and operators are required to obtain a public lodging license.

Everyone knows that unlicensed activity not only affects the safety of consumers but also the livelihood of licensed operators.  When the division receives an unlicensed activity complaint, the issue is investigated as soon as possible.  While operating without a license may be subject to disciplinary actions, the division’s primary goal is to work with operators to bring them into compliance so they may be able to operate legally within Florida.

Combating unlicensed activity is a collaborative effort and we appreciate the help of the industry and citizens.  Whether you have a tip on unlicensed activity or a complaint regarding a sanitation or safety issue for a licensed establishment, you can report the problem to DBPR by calling the Customer Contact Center at 850.487.1395 or accessing our complaint form online at

The Division is committed to providing the best service possible to our licensees and the general public.  We all want guests to be safe, enjoy their stay and come back again.  Protecting the health and safety of the public is everyone’s “business”. 

Protect your Inn and Home from Flooding

Protect Yourself and Your Home from Flooding

Few places in Florida are considered free from flooding, so protect your Inn, home and family.

Protect your home

It’s not a good idea to bet the odds — 20% of flood claims come from places where the flood risk is low, according to Check with your insurance agent to see what flood insurance will cost you. If you live in a community that participates in the National Flood Insurance Program, you can buy an NFIP flood policy. Participating communities agree to adopt and enforce ordinances that meet or exceed FEMA requirements to reduce the risk of flooding, according to NFIP.

Protect yourself

If you live in a high-risk area, it’s a good idea to have a “go-bag” ready in case you need to leave quickly. Include:

  • A few changes of clothing for you and family members
  • Insurance policy numbers
  • Phone numbers of your agent
  • Your insurance company’s main number
  • Essential toiletries
  • Money to get you through a week

It’s also wise to have an evacuation route mapped out and to have a location to which you can go.  Always  follow the direction of local and state authorities if ordered to evacuate. Remember: Your possessions and your home are small comfort if your guests or family are injured or worse.

Preventative measure: If you believe water will begin to accumulate in your Inn or home, shut off power at the main electrical panel in your home,. But never stand in water to do so — if the area around the box is already flooded, leave it alone.

In addition, know what to do in the first 24 hours after a flood to avoid additional risks to your health and home.

Keep water from damaging your home with flood control tips

Before hurricane season begins, take these 10 steps to protect your home from water damage:

1. Fix leaks immediately. Leaky roofs and foundation cracks allow water to get into your home, which can weaken the structure and provide a perfect habitat for mold. When you see wet spots on the ceiling or cracks in the foundation, fix them as soon as it’s safe to get up on the roof or the material is dry enough to repair. Check that roofing shingles are secure.

2. Spring for extra roof protection. When it’s time to replace your roof, spend a few hundred dollars more to install a rubber roof underlayment, a waterproof barrier that goes under the shingles and protects the roof from water intrusion.

3. Close foundation cracks with mortar and masonry caulk or hydraulic cement, which expands and fills gaps completely and costs only a few dollars. Don’t patch solely with mortar or cement, which may crack again. If water is a recurring problem, be sure to investigate other solutions for issues like wet basements.

4. Clear gutters and drains. Keep gutters and drainage systems clear to carry water away from your home. Check storm drains on your street, as leaves and debris can block them, causing water to collect.

5. Invest in a battery-powered sump pump. Sump pumps let you pump water out of your home and can be an excellent defense against flooding — unless they’re powered by electricity and the power is out. Battery-powered sump pumps are a relatively inexpensive ($150-$400) solution.

6. Catalog possessions. Using a digital camcorder or camera, create a home inventory for insurance. Inexpensive digital cameras start at about $100. Although traditional video and photographs are adequate, they can be bulky to carry and may get damaged if left in a flooded home. Digital files can be stored on a small USB drive and kept in your go bag, sent to a friend or relative for safekeeping, or stored on an online backup system like or, which offer a small amount of space to store files for free or a larger data storehouse for $50 to $60 per year.
7. Move expensive items to a safer location. If you have a second floor or an attic, moving furniture, photographs, and artwork to a higher level will protect your possessions in all but the most severe floods. Elevate furnaces and water pumps when they’re installed, if possible, to a height of 12 inches above the highest known flood level for your area, suggests FEMA.

8. Anchor your fuel tanks. Unanchored tanks can float, rupture, and release fuel. Once the power sources of system units like furnaces and water heaters are disabled and the units cooled, you can also wrap them in waterproof tarps to mitigate water damage.

9. Prevent sewer backup. Install (or have a plumber install) sewer or septic line check valves, which allow waste to flow only one way. Plan to spend $100 or more per valve to have a pro install them, or do it yourself for $10 to $15 each to ensure sewage can’t back up into the standing water in your home. Install at a point in the pipe that’s easy to access for repair.

10. Install French drains if you have a persistently wet basement or soggy lawn. A French drain collects water in your yard and diverts it safely away from your house.

Floods are a common challenge in Florida, that many Inns and home owners will face at one time or another. However, by keeping your home in good repair, moving valuables out of water’s way, and creating good drainage around your Inn, you can stop or reduce potential flood damage.


Signs of Chinese Drywall

Chinese drywall has been distinguished from other carpentry drywalls by the discovery of its defective and harmful manufacturing ingredients, which emit harmful chemicals. Chinese drywall was introduced into the United States from 2001-2007. Chinese drywall has been found, in some cases, to produce unusual odors, corrode wiring made of copper and cause some irritant health effects to home occupants. Not all exported drywall from China has been found defective, but certain signs remain evident in the worst cases.


Manufacturing Source and Appearance

Some of the most recent samples of tainted Chinese drywall have been traced to a single mine in the Shandong province of China. The primary mineral components used to produce the drywall occur in natural gypsum and have to mined in large quantities. One stamped logo that has been associated with tainted Chinese drywall can be found on the individual panels and reads “Venture Supply Company”, a company that, according to the Better Business Bureau is no longer in business. The panels are dated from 2006 to 2007 and measure ½ inch thick.


Unusual Odors

One telltale sign of Chinese drywall involves the presence of unusual or strange odors in the house. Some reported smells include the odor of rotten eggs (sulfur), ammonia and sometimes a sickly sweet smell. The intensity of the smell does depend, however, on the individual’s ability to detect it as well as on the amount of Chinese drywall material used in the construction of the house.


Electrical Corrosion


One sign indicating the presence of Chinese drywall involves the corrosion or pitting of copper wires, especially ground wires. Air Conditioning evaporator coils located inside the air handler case will show a layer or accumulation of black soot in their fins and coils. The major Freon lines can be contaminated with black soot. Black soot can also appear on the ground terminals and connections inside wall receptacles. Wire comprised of copper can have black deposits on non-insulated sections.


Erratic Circuit Breaker and Lighting Function


Erratic circuit breaker operation has been attributed to faulty wiring corroded by hydrogen sulfide gas, a chemical released in Chinese drywall. Circuit breakers and relays have been known to “trip” off for no apparent reason. A recurring flickering of household lights and lamps indicates the presence of shorts or bad ground contacts attributed to wiring corrosion. Bright flashing sparks that come from wall outlets, switch plates and appliances indicate faulty wiring connections. Another sign involves the smell of burnt plastic near wiring sources, indicating melted wiring insulation.


Health Issues


Some samples of Chinese drywall contain strontium sulfide, a know hazardous gas that proves harmful when inhaled for a prolonged period. Any unexplained illnesses associated with nausea, dizziness and labored breathing could be the result of increased concentrations of strontium sulfide gas. The gas emissions affect visual and sensory perception, especially in small children and the elderly. Concentrated exposure can damage the central nervous system, kidneys, skin, heart, and liver. People who have preexisting diseases like diabetes and emphysema have higher risks of illness; the gas emissions can accelerate and exacerbate their diseases.

Meeting with Florida Governor Rick Scott

Yesterday I had the pleasure of meeting with Governor Scott, Florida House Representative Ben Albritton and Florida Senator Bill Galvano to discuss the Florida Bed and Breakfast Industry and the effects the deregulating of the Vacation Rentals, and unlicensed BnB's have had on this industry.  I suggested the State either deregulate Bed and Breakfast Inns in Florida or go after the unlicensed bed and breakfast inns. 

An alternative discussion on licensing Bed and Breakfast Inns was had regarding the possibility of only needing one license for a Bed and Breakfast instead of the additional Restaurant License.  If you have a Bed and Breakfast license in Florida, it should automatically include serving breakfast without the additional expense of the restaurant license as well.  The state inspectors for your BnB and Restaurant License are the same people and usually inspect both at the same time.

We also discussed the surplus insurance market that Bed and Breakfasts fall into.  BnBs are mostly residential in nature with much added fire safety measures in place that make their properties more protected than a regular residential home.  Ben Allbritton was in favor of looking into this issue on our behalf.

I also received a telephone call from Julius Halas, the Florida State Fire Marshall and we will be having many more conversations about how the Bed and Breakfast fire safety requirements are being interpreted around the state.

I'll keep you informed on these issues.

American with Disabilities Act, Pool Lift

January 31, 2013, is the deadline for pool and spa accessibility under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).  Make sure you are up to date on the current requirements for pool lifts. 

Happy Thanksgiving

For all of you who are working hard to create your own Bed and Breakfast, please take a minute and enjoy the day of Thanksgiving.  We get so caught up in our work, that we sometimes forget to stop and revel in the day that is. 

I recently untangled myself from too many things that distracted me from what I wanted to accomplish.  It's amazing how you sleep better and night when you remove the distractions from your life and learn to say no.

My focus is now dedicated to the Bed and Breakfast Industry and how to help you accomplish you goals of opening a Bed and Breakfast.

I am here to help when you need it.

Will Tampa Florida allow Bed and Breakfast Inns?

Will Tampa Florida allow Bed and Breakfast Inns?  Would allowing bed-and-breakfast inns boost Tampa tourism?  A group of city business leaders thinks it might. They've begun exploring ways to open the city to this type of small-scale lodging.

"Not only can we remove impediments, but there might be other things we can do to encourage tourism," said Ron Christaldi, head of a group Tampa City Council seeking ways to turn the city's unique cultural assets into economic engines.  The group's next campaign – rewriting the city code to allow for B&Bs – could have longer-lasting effects.

Christaldi said the B&B idea grew out of a visit by the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce to Baltimore earlier this month. He joined Councilwoman Yvonne Yolie Capin and Mayor Bob Buckhorn on the trip.

Among other things, the group saw that Baltimore was using B&B's to help expand its cultural tourism."The B&B community is the foundation, the bedrock of that," Christaldi said.

Christaldi hopes Tampa will take a lesson from Baltimore and other cities that have opened their neighborhoods to B&Bs, which are virtually nonexistent in Tampa.

B&B advocates are up against an outdated city code that doesn't even consider B&Bs an option for overnight stays. The fact that B&Bs traditionally operate in residential areas further complicates matters.

"It's like we drive cars, but the code is for horses," said Mike Arodak, who has two buildings he operates like B&Bs. City code enforcement officials have ticketed him at least once for lacking enough parking at one of them.

The same is true for Bruce Holland, who runs Gram's Place in the Tampa Heights neighborhood.

Gram's Place bills itself as a hostel – a designation that brings in lots of young foreign travelers. The sign facing Ola Street describes Gram's Place as a bed-and-breakfast. City officials consider it a rooming house.

Excerpts from Tampa Tribune Article written By KEVIN WIATROWSKI  
Published: October 29, 2012

Professional Association of International Innkeepers (PAII) Conference. Aspiring Innkeeper Workshop

I am writing from the PAII Conference in Charleston, SC.  What a great start yesterday even though the weather is very cold and icy here.  I taught the Aspiring Innkeepers about being a Regulatory Detective.  When it comes to planning how, when and where to begin with starting the dream of becoming an Aspiring Innkeeper.  It's a pleasure to meet with new Aspiring Innkeepers and help them navigate the path to success. 

I was an aspiring innkeeper once myself with the creation of The Quilter's Inn Bed and Breakfast  and also The Footed Tub Bed and Breakfast in Wauchula, Florida 11 years ago.  I am still a happy Innkeeper and think the hospitality industry is one of the best to be in.

Definition of a Bed and Breakfast

The State of Florida defines a Bed and Breakfast as a family home structure with no more than 15 sleeping rooms that provides accommodation and meal service generally offered by a bed and breakfast.

Kitchen Layouts

I'm currently working with someone to help establish a new restaurant.  As in many ventures, there are so many decisions to make simultaneously in order for all to fall into place in a timely fashion.  The most important factor in the beginning is to have a clear vision of what you want.  What do you have in mind and how do you want it to work.  There are so many people in your life, friends, family, associates, etc. who want to tell you how to do things when these well meaning people have no idea of the logistics of what you are trying to accomplish, nor do they know how the local and state zoning, health, fire safety regulations, licensing requirements entail. 

My advice is to keep in mind your vision, and don't be afraid to be creative or different in what you would like to present to the public.  Whether you are creating a Bed and Breakfast with a kitchen, or one with a restaurant, or even just a restaurant.  Use your imagination and keep the "wow factor" in mind.

Good Luck

ADA Interpretations

Recently I received a telephone call regarding the ADA requirements for a Bed and Breakfast with less than 5 guest rooms where the owner lives on the premises.  The Federal ADA Laws specifically states that this type of establishment is not required to have a Handicapped accessible guest room.

Now, this is where the confusion lies.  In most counties, this law means that you do not have to have a handicap parking space.  When you operate a Bed and Breakfast, the State requires you to have an individual parking space for each guest room, plus one more.  If you are not required to have a Handicap Room, why would they require you to have a handicap parking space?  Most counties realize this, but others still require the handicap parking space, which creates confusion from place to place and also requires additional expense on the part of the owner. 

ADA clearly does not intend to put this additional expense on small, tiny establishments, but the local municipalities interpret this law different and therefore sometimes add this requirement where I don't think the law intended.

Before you Begin

I’ve met many people who’ve told me about their dreams of owning a Bed & Breakfast, although the actual process of creating something new may be daunting.  It’s easy enough to buy a piece of property---perhaps too easy.  Before you purchase a new or used automobile, you can have it checked out by a mechanic to reassure yourself that it will perform and to be made aware of any potential items which might require maintenance in the near future.  But how do you evaluate the reliability and potential expenses of a Bed & Breakfast?  Even an existing B & B may require certain updates, not previously required, upon change of ownership.  Perhaps a certain special use permitted on the property by previous owners may not automatically transfer to the new.  There are countless such details where the advice of an expert Bed & Breakfast consultant can save you tens of thousands of dollars.

Sorting through the minutiae to find out what actually applies to your property is the key.  Recently, while registering with local authorities, a property owner was invited to fill out the very same zoning application form used for a high-rise building or a housing development--- an overwhelming challenge for someone merely wishing to establish a Bed & Breakfast and it was enough to discourage her from even beginning the process.

Knowing all the requirements and then negotiating with both Fire Marshall and Building Inspector can be difficult.  These officials have the authority to require fire sprinkler systems, monitored alarms, ADA compliance and the retrofitting of the property.  Nonetheless, Bed and Breakfast Inns are established all the time without expert advice--- even though, in the end, the cost proves to be considerably higher than necessary.  For example, lacking knowledge of the complexity of exceptions may prompt an owner to meet the standard of hotel requirements, even though a Bed & Breakfast is a different entity.  Such is often the case while negotiating contracts with fire sprinkler or alarm companies, who often are unaware of the difference and therefore submit bids for systems which are far more expensive that what is actually required.

In addition to obtaining permits, the Bed & Breakfast owner is sometimes required to present information to a Historic and/or Zoning Board.  Here, an expert can prove invaluable in analyzing and reviewing the process, not only starting the owner off on the right foot, but saving him/her time, energy and money.

As each venture is unique, it is important to investigate what the current preconditions are.  Just because a friend opened a Bed & Breakfast ten years ago, doesn’t mean the regulations have remained unchanged.  Sometimes a Bed and Breakfast is a new business for a town and its officials have no previous experience with the process, being uncertain of their own requirements and those of both County and State.  In all such cases, the process can be more expedient with the services of a consultant.

CONTACT:  (561) 223.3201