Short-term lodging

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Register your short-term lodging.

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 July 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. Where separation is insufficient, a lottery will determine a single owner in that area who will be permitted to renew their registration beyond July 1, 2020. Whole-house lodgings in residential districts within 400 feet of existing Bed & Breakfasts cannot renew their registration beyond July 1, 2020. 

Owners wishing to apply for a whole-house lodging in a residential district must submit their registration with supporting documentation and fee between March 15 and April 14, 2019, to be entered in the lottery.

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. After July 1, 2020, whole-house lodgings cannot be within 400 feet of other whole-house lodgings or bed & breakfasts. A map of existing bed & breakfasts can be found below. A map of whole-house lodgings will be available and updated as locations are registered.

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. 

More frequently asked questions

Expand/Contract Questions and Answers

  • What are the compliance requirements for short-term lodging?

  • How do I register my property?

  • How do I know which properties are already registered?

  • Is registration required annually and will I have to renew it?

  • How is a short-term lodging establishment terminated and what are the consequences?

  • How much does it cost to register my short-term lodging?

  • Does my registration number have to be posted?

  • My property is no longer being rented on a short-term basis. Do I need to do anything?

  • My property is being managed by a company. Do I still need to register it?

  • Can my property manager register my lodging on my behalf?

  • How many short-term lodging units can I register?

  • How do I pay my Room Occupancy Tax (ROT)?

  • What records do I need to maintain and how long do I need to keep them?


On July 17, 2018, the Wilmington City Council approved an ordinance changing city regulations 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.

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