All owners wishing to begin or continue operating a short-term lodging of any kind must register.
All short-term lodgings legally operating (as evidenced by ongoing collection and remittance of Room Occupancy Tax) as of March 1, 2019, will be allowed to continue operating with registration until May 1, 2020, after which all lodgings must comply with city code.
The 400-foot separation requirement only applies to whole-house lodgings in residential districts. At the outset of registration, a lottery was used in areas where separation is insufficient to determine a single owner who is permitted to renew their registration beyond May 1, 2020. Other applicants in those areas are amortized and must cease operating by May 1, 2020. The deadline to register for the lottery was April 14, 2019. Permits are now available on a first-come, first-served basis.
Applicants may check the Registered Short-term Lodging and Bed & Breakfast map to see if their residences are sufficiently spaced from existing permitted short-term lodgings. If spacing is not sufficient, registration for whole-house short-term lodgings in residential areas will be amortized.
What is short-term lodging?
Short-term lodging includes stays up to 29 nights. Stays of 30 nights or longer are considered long-term. There are two types of short-term lodging permitted in the city: whole-house and homestay.
What is "homestay" lodging and what is "whole-house" lodging?
Homestay lodging is the rental of individual bedrooms within the host's home. The host lives and remains onsite during the rental period. This definition also includes accessory dwelling units as long as the host is living on the property full-time and is there during the entire rental period.
Whole-house lodging is the rental of an entire dwelling without a host present. A local operator must be within 25 miles and available 24 hours a day.
Where can they be located?
Both homestay and whole-house lodgings can be located in residential and non-residential districts with restrictions.
Residential districts include: HD, HD-R, HD-MU, R-20, R-15, R-10, R-7, R-5, R-3, MF-L, MF-M, MF-MH, and MF-H districts. No lodging is allowed in MHP.
Non-residential districts include: O&I, CB, RB, CBD, AI, RFMU, MSMU, MX, and UMX districts. Units are not permitted on the ground floor of any street-facing façade of a commercial building.
- View the city's zoning map
- View a map of currently permitted Short-term Lodgings and Bed & Breakfasts with 400-foot buffer
- Learn more about short-term lodging in residential districts
- Learn more about short-term lodging in non-residential districts
How do I file a complaint?
Complaints against short-term lodgings can be filed anytime using the online form or by calling 910.765.8844.
More frequently asked questions
On July 17, 2018, the Wilmington City Council approved an ordinance to allow homestay lodging, or renting bedrooms, including an accessory dwelling unit, with the host living in the residence full-time. This is permitted in all residential districts and some commercial and mixed-use districts.
On Feb. 5, 2019, the Wilmington City Council approved an ordinance to allow whole-house lodging in residential districts.