Vermont

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10/18/2008

Can anyone enlighten me on B&B regulations in Vermont such as permits, Breakfast service regulations, other food service regulations etc

I have someone asking me about looking after just a one room guest suite in a non city area house where they have the approval from the state for food and lodging

Any enlightenment would be appreciated

 

They also have same in MA so anything in this area would be useful too

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05/30/2008

I would definitely think that you have to look to that locality for the regs on what's required for licensure, health department inspections, and the paying of taxes.  In my city, you can get a business license as a "B&B Homestay" with only one room.  The only thing that is different for a homestay here is that they do not have to get a health department certificate and be inspected twice a year, which frankly I find odd, and they can only serve breakfast to their homestay guests, nothing else.  They still must get a certificate of occupancy to get a business license and collect and remit local hotel/motel tax to our revenue department.  They must also get a State sales tax number and collect and remit those local and State sales taxes.  And, they have to pay business personal property tax every year to our tax commissioner.  Our health department doesn't require ServSafe certification, but they highly recommend it.  I never got a good answer about fire department requirements/inspections. 

Anything above one room here, has to comply with everything. 

We looked in many areas of the country to buy a B&B, and the regs were different every single place that we looked - even cities & towns within the same State. 

You have to go to the permitting authorities.

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10/18/2008

Thanks M!

Both they and I were suprised becase they were told by the building inspector (this place is already built, not a new build) that the state supercedes the county and as long as they got tax id's from the state to pay lodging and food tax that was all they needed. I had always heard that VT and MA were some of the hardest in the US to get operating permits for B&B so I guess what you are saying clarifies that.!!

I had also heard that in a lot of areas "up North" you can only serve a cold breakfast.

I know there were things I learnt "after the fact" even after checking with city hall BEFORE I started operating ... like suddenly after 1 year they asked if I had been charging hotel tax whereas initially they had said I only had to pay sales tax!

Silverspoon's picture
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10/16/2011

You might be interested to know that, for MA room tax purposes, a bed and breakfast establishment (4 or more rooms) is different than a bed and breakfast home (3 or fewer rooms). 

 

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09/29/2011

Every B&B I've stayed at in N.E. has had a full, hot breakfast. Haven't ever had a continental so not sure where the cold breakfast rumor got started.

We had a 5 bedroom house in a very popular foliage area and we could have rented rooms out during Sept-Oct everyday of the week, but decided to not turn our lives upside down for 6 weeks every year. The PO's rented 3 of rooms all the time with one bathroom among them all. Not my idea of fun.

They had a sign, they had marketing materials but we still don't know if they were 'legal'. I do know the septic was up to code, tho, the inspector made a big deal out of it. He was surprised the house had a septic system that large for a single family home.

No idea where they parked all the cars.

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10/18/2008

Thanks Madeline, anything you or others can add from "personal" experience.?

Silverspoon's picture
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10/16/2011

First let me say that we have a legal, 3-room B+B..permitted, inspected, SS certified.  We have always served a full hot breakfast and we are the ONLY small B+B within 20 miles that does a full breakfast...all the other small B+Bs advertise a continental or continental plus (whatever that is) breakfast.  

To run a legal, permitted, inspected 3 or fewer room B+B in MA you need a health inspection, and Serv Safe certification if you prepare any food at all. (Even if it is just a muffin)   Many towns look the other way for small places who only serve "continental" breakfasts.  However, the larger inns in the area are likely to scream to the board of health, demanding proof of SS certification,  if any small B+B is good enough (and popular enough) to take business away from them.  

During an inspection here several years ago, while explaining why it is sooooo important for us to proudly display our SS Certificate in the dining room, the town's board of health agent  mentioned to me that some "guests" call her each year to see who is up-to-date with their SS certification....she thinks that guests really CARE!   I howled when she mentioned this and suggested, to her horror, that perhaps it was not a prospective guest who had called her but one of the larger inns.  OMG, she was crushed to think that it wasn't John Q Public who was so determined to find out who was "legit" and up-to-date on their SS!

I mention this to point out that many smaller B+Bs, that cook to order for a couple of guests each day, may, in fact, not be a high priority for enforcement for the local board of health...especially if the board is understaffed.  If the larger inns in the area know that they can pressure the smaller B+B's into offering fewer amenities, like a full hot breakfast, in exchange for not complaining to the BOH ( questioning about their SS certification) then the smaller B+B's will probably advertise a continental breakfast to avoid the hassle and $$$ of SS. 

 

Madeleine's picture
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09/29/2011

We were just required this year to do the SS program. If a small B&B is complaining about the tiny price of the class that's absurd given the information and peace of mind it afforded us. If there is some other fee attached then I could see a problem. Every license here has doubled or tripled in price over the past 2 years for inspections and the like that most B&B's never even go thru. Still have one B&B in town where they have never seen the health inspector in 6 years in business.

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10/07/2008

Silverspoon wrote:

To run a legal, permitted, inspected 3 or fewer room B+B in MA you need a health inspection, and Serv Safe certification if you prepare any food at all. (Even if it is just a muffin)   Many towns look the other way for small places who only serve "continental" breakfasts.  However, the larger inns in the area are likely to scream to the board of health, demanding proof of SS certification,  if any small B+B is good enough (and popular enough) to take business away from them.  

Many innkeepers get riled up about this subject, big brother comments and all of this, but contaminated food can be deadly. This is why health dept rules most inns may not have "oven baked" french toast, the kind that sits all night in the fridge and can get nice and cold and then put in the oven and never reach the proper temperature in the middle. Casseroles are a whole other animal to be cautious about.  I prefer to see a health dept inspection and safe serve cert at an inn. We can post stats here on food borne illness and all of that, as people make mistakes, unfortunately. Most of them due to ignorance and improper handling.  

Go to your local DOH online and view the citations for your dining establishments in your area, you will be shocked at some of them "How in the world! Why?" but they do all the time.   

Thankfully we only need to worry about our own inns and how we handle food,properly.

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Joey Bloggs wrote:

This is why health dept rules most inns may not have "oven baked" french toast, the kind that sits all night in the fridge and can get nice and cold and then put in the oven and never reach the proper temperature in the middle.

 

That is the first I have heard of that.  I do an oven baked french toast multiple times a week.  The one thing I thought strange when the health inspector came last time is she told me I could reheat leftovers from a previous day and serve them to guests.

Madeleine's picture
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Barry_Manilow wrote:

Joey Bloggs wrote:

This is why health dept rules most inns may not have "oven baked" french toast, the kind that sits all night in the fridge and can get nice and cold and then put in the oven and never reach the proper temperature in the middle.

 

 

That is the first I have heard of that.  I do an oven baked french toast multiple times a week.  The one thing I thought strange when the health inspector came last time is she told me I could reheat leftovers from a previous day and serve them to guests.

We've had guests ask us to 'just heat up whatever you have in the freezer'. I don't know what they think we do here. I had heard about the 'made the night before, cooked in the morning' casserole problem. We don't do casseroles any longer. They are just not as good reheated the next day after they've 'fallen'.

Madeleine's picture
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Joey Bloggs wrote:

Go to your local DOH online and view the citations for your dining establishments in your area, you will be shocked at some of them "How in the world! Why?" but they do all the time.   

Thankfully we only need to worry about our own inns and how we handle food,properly.

What's worse around here is that restaurants get dinged on something and then the health inspector never comes back. They may have repaired every problem the original inspection brought up but they can't get the inspector back to show him and now their online rating is low but everything is fixed. I know that for every good restaurant with a bad rating there are 10 restaurants that should have been shut down!

Madeleine's picture
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09/29/2011

Personal experience is that if the local CVB is looking for rooms anyone can rent them out on an 'as needed' basis. So, other than the rules I linked to, it's a free floating kind of thing until you get involved in the payment/non payment of taxes.

If the person you are dealing with is open and running and has the permits and you would be working for them, it's their lookout as to whether or not they've done the right groundwork.

Every place we looked at in VT was up and running and permitted so we never really got into having to sort it all out. If I had to sort it all out at this point I would contact a B&B broker and pick their brain about what is required for a one room establishment in x town.

Madeleine's picture
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http://www.anr.state.vt.us/dec/permit_hb/sheetBBbedbreak.pdf

http://healthvermont.gov/enviro/food_lodge/lodging_reg.aspx

http://www.vtgreenhotels.org/articles/fireprev.htm

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10/18/2008

They asked me because they are interested in me looking after their property for them, and I know info may be slightly different from county to county but am looking for some general info that anyone can provide

In the same way if anyone had questions for a Georgia Innkeeper I may at least be able to shed some light with regards to yes we can serve a hot breakfast or a buffet breakfast and no you don't need Serv Safe unless you are serving meals other than breakfast.

Also, if I found this was not right for me then maybe I could pass this onto people in VT or MA

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05/22/2008

 IF you don't live in Vermont, why would they ask you ?  Tell them to ask the town directly. Second hand knowledge is not to be trusted..we know that from experience.

Silverspoon's picture
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10/16/2011

 That is correct, each town's Board of Health is different...some inforce and inspect, others just collect the fees and call it a day.

egoodell's picture
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06/01/2008

 Only someone in the county/city in Vermont or MA that you are considering could help you. Suggest you contact the health dept and city or county for your answers.

Riki

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