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Complete Guide to Short Term Rentals
Are you thinking about listing your Portage County home or property for short-term rental but don’t know where to start? Look no further! This guide takes you step by step through the process of getting your property ready to rent to visitors.
If you're not sure short term rentals are for you, check out our list of Things to Know Before You List, which gives you an idea of all the things property owners must consider before renting out their homes.
Want a print-friendly version of this guide? Download the guide to short term rentals here.
7 STEPS TO STARTING A ONE-TIME ONLY SHORT TERM RENTAL
STEP 1: REVIEW THE GUIDELINES
Be sure to check out guidelines from the state of Wisconsin to set yourself up for success with your short term rental.
STEP 2: START LOCAL
Contact your municipality (city, town, or village) to learn what local requirements your property location has for short term rentals. Some municipalities will require a zoning permit, separate from the Portage County Zoning permit in step 5.
Not sure where to start?
- Check out the Portage County Directory to find the contacts in your municipality. (Town Offices begin on page 38, and Village Offices begin on page 46.)
- For the Town of Almond, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- For the Village of Amherst Junction, email: email@example.com
- For the Town of Buena Vista, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- For the Town of Pine Grove, email: email@example.com
STEP 3: APPLY FOR A LICENSE
Before you can offer your property for short term rental to tourists and visitors, you need to apply for a license through Portage County.
Be sure to mail in your completed application AND payment to:NOTE: It will take a minimum of 10 business days to process your application!
Portage County Health & Human Services
817 Whiting Avenue
Stevens Point, WI 54481
The Portage County Department of Health and Human Services is the official licensing agent for the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection.
STEP 4: ARRANGE A PRE-LICENSING INSPECTION
After your application has been processed, you can expect a call or email from an inspector.
This person will help you set up a date and time for the pre-licensing inspection. The inspection must be completed and passed for your application to be approved.
This Checklist outlines some items covered in the pre-licensing inspection.
The licensing year is from July 1 to June 30 each year.
- A health inspection will occur once every licensing year after that to ensure continued compliance with the law
- If an initial license is approved in April, May, or June the license will be valid until the end of the following year, on June 30.
STEP 5: OBTAIN A ZONING PERMIT
If renting out property for only the 2023 U.S. Senior Open (less than 10 days):
Zoning Permits are not required. Please note: some municipalities require a zoning permit, including the city of Stevens Point which should be identified during step 2.
If you decide later on to rent out your property for more than 10 total days in a 365-day calendar year:
Zoning Permits through Portage County are required.
Before filling out the Zoning Permit Application, check out the Zoning Permit Procedures for Portage County Zoning for all requirements.
Then, fill out a Portage County Zoning Permit Application and mail the completed form to: Portage County Planning and Zoning Department
1462 Strongs Avenue
Stevens Point, WI 54481
STEP 6: CONTACT THE STATE FOR A SELLER'S PERMIT
Next, you may need to obtain a seller's permit from the Wisconsin Department of Revenue.
A seller's permit is required for every individual, partnership, corporation, or other organization making retail sales, leases, or rentals of tangible personal property or taxable services in Wisconsin unless all sales are exempt from sales or use tax.
In a 365-day calendar year, if you anticipate earning:
- Less than $2,000 from short term rentals, no seller's permit is required.
- $2,000 or more from short term rentals, you must apply for a seller's permit.
Visit this page for seller's permit information: Wisconsin Department of Revenue
STEP 7: LIST YOUR PROPERTY
The final step is to list your property on a third-party site where visitors can book their stay.
Before entering this step, make sure you have completed and/or received the following:
- Reviewed all guidelines and policies regarding short term rentals
- Contacted your municipality for any special required documents or actions you need to take
- Mailed in your Portage County Lodging Application and payment
- Completed and passed the Pre-Licensing Inspection
- Received notice that your Portage County Lodging Application has been approved
- Obtained a Wisconsin Seller's Permit
NOTE: Booking.com only allows for completely private sites, meaning you cannot reside on the property while guests are staying there.
These are just three examples of sites that you can list your property on. It's important that you find the right fit for you and what you want to accomplish with renting out your property.
Learn industry definitions, who to contact, and more with our FAQ.
Looking for more information about what to do behind the scenes? Check out our Things to Know Before You List page, where we walk you through what each property owner should consider before setting up a short term rental.