short term rentalWe Inspect and License All Dane County Short Term Rentals

All Dane County Short-Term Rentals must be licensed and inspected each year. We do this to make sure they meet all requirements of Wisconsin law related to general public health.

You can read our inspection reports for short-term rentals. They tell you the conditions we saw at the time of inspection. Reports may not reflect corrective actions the establishment made or the current condition.


What is a Short-Term Rental?

Rental of all or part of a residence to visitors for less than a month is commonly known as a Short-Term Rental (STR). Its legal term in Wisconsin is a Tourist Rooming House. Wisconsin allows the rental of one to four sleeping accommodations, which can be rooms of a home or an entire home or cabin.

How to Get Licensed (Steps must be completed in order)

  1. Zoning and Taxes

    Zoning: Find out if you need to meet zoning conditions.

    • For the City of Madison:  Call Madison Zoning at (608) 266-4551. Read the Zoning FAQ for Tourist Room Houses.
    • For Dane County (outside the City of Madison): Contact your municipal or township clerk.

    Sellers Permit*: Get a Wisconsin Seller’s Permit.

    Room Tax*: Register with your local clerk if your municipality collects room taxes.

    * Exceptions: Airbnb & VRBO collect and remit sales tax throughout Wisconsin and room tax within the City of Madison. If you are renting solely through Airbnb &/or VRBO:

    • You don’t need a Seller’s permit. Write “Airbnb/VRBO only” in this field on the license application form.
    • There is no fee for room tax registration in the City of Madison. Check the box saying “my business is not subject to the Madison Transient Room Tax” on the room tax registration form.
  2. Apply for a license

    Check the license fee schedule. Complete a lodging license application and send it to the City Clerk’s office with payment

  3. Schedule an inspection

    Steps 1 & 2 must be done first.

    Call (608) 242-6515 or email us to schedule a pre-inspection of your property.  Your license must be approved before you can rent out sleeping accommodations.


Call (608) 242-6515 or email us with complaints about short-term rentals in Dane County.