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Starting a Bed and Breakfast


Planning Department

Town of Essex
33 Talbot Street South
Essex, Ontario N8M 1A8
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T. 519-776-7336 ext. 1128
F. 519-776-8811
Email Planning Department

Woman opening door to bed and breakfastThe Town of Essex has introduced new provisions to encourage the creation of Bed and Breakfast (B&B) establishments throughout the municipality.

Providing accommodations for visitors is vital to supporting tourism, economic development and cultural activities.

Fortunately, setting up a B&B is a fairly straightforward process.

What is a B&B?

A Bed and Breakfast is a single detached dwelling in which, as a home occupation, accommodation for the travelling public is provided in the form of overnight sleeping facilities and a breakfast.

Where are they permitted?

A B&B is permitted in most residential and agricultural zones, and in neighbourhood commercial and general commercial zones.

What regulations apply?

As a home occupation, the B&B must be operated by the resident(s) of the dwelling, and limited to a maximum of 5 guest bedrooms. The B&B cannot be located within an accessory building, and one on-site parking space is required for every two guest beds.

Do they have to be licensed?

The Town does not require licensing of a B&B, but we do maintain a registry of various business activities. In order to advise people of your establishment, you are encouraged to register with us. Registration of your B&B also assists the Town of Essex in identifying the total room-night inventory the community has to promote.

Other matters to consider

A B&B is subject to preliminary and annual inspections and approvals by the Windsor Essex County Health Unit, only if more than 10 persons are to be accommodated. For more information, please contact the Health Unit at (519)258-2146 or 1-800-265-5822, or visit them at www.wechealthunit.org.

Some additional things you may want to consider when establishing a B&B:

  • Overflow guest parking
  • Additional services to enhance the attractiveness of your B&B
  • Outdoor relaxation areas
  • Indoor lounge
  • Brochures and location maps for area attractions

Additional sources of information:

Provides a list of B&Bs by region.

Federation of Ontario Bed and Breakfast Accommodation
Works to promote members and speak on their behalf to government ministries and agencies. Lists Ontario B&Bs and contact information. FOBBA will inspect and certify compliance with its standards and members are governed by a code of ethics.

Southwestern Ontario Bed and Breakfast Association
Lists contact information for members.