number of rooms and codes

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07/23/2008

I'm wondering how many of your cities/counties have codes that dictate how many guest rooms you are allowed to have? 

Is it more than 5 and you have to be ADA compliant too? 

What does your city/county dictate? (Mine doesn't care how many rooms, but if we have more than 5 we have to be ADA compliant etc...)

I'm looking at one and the code there is only 5 (I was planning to eventually do 6). I'm wondering if since its much bigger sq ftage, and in the county with acreage, if I can petition to have 6 instead of 5. Has anyone ever done this? 

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Madeleine's picture
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09/29/2011

Supposedly our max # of rooms (as a B&B) is 7. But there's another place in town with 11 rooms so I may have been misinformed or they got a variance.

ADA compliance is federal so be sure you're meeting those guidelines, too.

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If it's Kitsap be careful, they are control freaks and meanies! Sad  

We built an entire home and couldn't move in because we didn't have a backsplash behind one counter top. 

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Joey Bloggs wrote:

If it's Kitsap be careful, they are control freaks and meanies! Sad  

We built an entire home and couldn't move in because we didn't have a backsplash behind one counter top. 

That is so crazy JP. No, its Clallam  county. 

Highlands John's picture
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04/16/2010

Here the rule is that up to 6 paying guests and your house still counts as a domestic property, over that and all the business regulations kick in. You can have more than 6 guests and call yourself a B&B, but it's a business property.

I guess that comes from the old tradition of B&B here being people just letting out their spare room to tourists during the summer.

There's been some argument about fire regulations over the past couple of years, the Scottish government decided that the regulations should apply to all which lead to the fire brigade telling little old ladies who'd been doing B&B for years that they suddenly needed fire doors or sprinkler systems in their homes costing £1000s. They've since  relaxed that a bit until they can work out a happy medium.

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Arks's picture
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05/22/2010

Our local building inspector had a few suggestions regarding ADA, but said it was all up to me, since the local government doesn't enforce federal laws. In fact, he said NO agency enforces ADA. It's strictly a matter of, if you don't comply and somebody takes you to court, you could lose.

ADA is unbelievably complex, and how much of it you do is up to you and your level of comfort with how well you have made a reasonable attempt to comply. And of course it's up to state and local inspectors in some locations (but not mine).

For instance, it's not just ramps of a certain level of slope, and doors of a certain width. It also gets into stuff like flashing lights for people who cannot hear a doorbell, and bathroom cabinetry that is lower than standard, and open underneath so a wheelchair can roll up under it. Bed heights low enough to easily transfer from a chair into bed. Benches for tubs so people can sit and bathe. And about 500 additional pages of specifications.

In the end, it's up to the property owner to decide how much of it to follow, and hope it's enough! (it usually is)

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07/23/2008

 How crazy is that?!! You can walk into any 'store or restaurant' and they won't have ALL that! If... IF we do go over 5 rooms (not likely, but if we did), We do have a ground level room with french doors, the front entry is french doors, so door with is not a problem, and we'd add a ramp to the deck, and as far as functions go, there is a drive to the basement level so no stairs. 

My questions wasn't really so much about being ada compliant, as much as I was wanting to know if anyone had county codes restricting them to a certain number of rooms and they were successful at getting a variance on it... 

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06/24/2008

Arkansawyer wrote:

Our local building inspector had a few suggestions regarding ADA, but said it was all up to me, since the local government doesn't enforce federal laws. In fact, he said NO agency enforces ADA. It's strictly a matter of, if you don't comply and somebody takes you to court, you could lose.

....

In the end, it's up to the property owner to decide how much of it to follow, and hope it's enough! (it usually is)

Arkie, you have less than 5 rooms correct?  So how much YOU decide to do to be ADA compliant is totally up to you.

If the property owner has over 5 rooms they must be ADA compliant.  It is up to the state/local gov. (in my area the Fire Marshall) to inspect and approve each property for this compliance.  In these cases it is not up to the property owner how much of it to follow. (maybe in your area Arkie but not most)  If the FM decides to look the other way so be it but that will not protect the owner from a potential lawsuit.  Ignorance of the law and all that!!! 

Given that people are actively out there TRYING to find places non-compliant, I would not risk it.  A year or so ago there was a thread on this subject.  A 'group?' of people were calling around B&B's around the country asking for a handicap room.  They called here as well.  Threatened to report me as non-compliant.  I sited the law and she hung up.  

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06/24/2008

Innkeep is correct...  ADA is a federal law, over 5 rooms and you must be ADA compliant.  The only exception to that would be if it is a historic property that renovating to be compliant would destroy the historical value.  Not sure how this is approved etc.  but you may need to address with historical society in the area if that were to be an issue.

Additionally:  The way the law is set, Fed. laws are standard and you must abide but state and local laws can be more strict.  Once you feel sure the place is what you want, contact the local permit office for the laws governing B&B's in the area so you can decide if what you would like to do is possible there.  

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07/23/2008

Right, I knew ADA was federal. and no, its not a historic property that we are looking at.

 I was planning on contacting the county about the 5 rm limit code and see if it were possible to have 6. I was just wondering if anyone on the forum has been successful at getting exceptions like that....

Innkeep's picture
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06/04/2008

The problem is that a handicapped traveler has the ability to sue you if you have a 6-room property and you haven't made any attempt to accommodate.  Some properties have a ground floor room that may have its own entrance that is accessible, a bathroom with some degree of modifications, and are comfortable with that.  I doubt that because the county gives you an exception (for whatever inspections the county is going to be doing) that that would make any difference if you are ever sued by a handicapped traveler because it's a federal law.  It's always a better defense in court to show you've acted in good faith even if you don't have absolutely every regulation covered.  

With 4 rooms, when someone says they can't climb stairs, I just say "I'm sorry, but we can't help you."  With six rooms, 99.9% of the time, the same scenario plays out.  It's just that the handicapped person has the right to take you to court if you're not compliant.  You'll probably be consulting a local lawyer with the start-up, anyway so see what he/she advises you to do.

Perhaps JB will chime in on what she did when they added a sixth room.

Innkeep's picture
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06/04/2008

I believe ADA is a federal law. 

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