So you're wondering what you'll have to do to meet State requirements when opening a B & B in Maine?

First determine how many bedrooms will be available for rent. You are allowed to rent to 3 outsiders without needing State approval. At 2 people per bed, that equals 1 bedroom (the 2nd rental bedroom might include a 4th person). Once you are set up to rent more than 8 beds, (16 people), then the occupancy changes from the B&B classification of Rooming & Lodging to Hotel. Hotel use has more stringent requirements than does Rooming & Lodging.

Second, obtain a permit from our office to document that your plans will adhere to State law, and the NFPA 101 Life Safety Code, 2018 edition. The application form, fee schedule and a submittal criteria summary form are available on the Applications Page. This permit is called a Construction Permit, even though there may be no new construction or only minor renovations. The permit is still required because the building will be either getting a new use classification, or an expanded use. This permit is in addition to any local permits that the town may require, so check with them to see what their requirements are. The stamp of a design professional, such as an architect, is required on the set of plans if the construction/renovation cost is over $50,000. One set of plans will have to be submitted whether the design professional's stamp is required or not. The plans will include a site plan, elevations, and floor plans.

Third, consider this list of basic requirements for new or expanded use of Rooming & Lodging:

  • A Sprinkler System. Stored water & a pump may be used for the water supply.  A sprinkler system is required to be installed in all new rooming and lodging facilities.
  • Smoke detectors are required in every bedroom or sleeping room, outside each sleeping area, and on all levels of the building with a den or other room that might be used for sleeping. These smoke detectors may sound independent of each other. In addition, there must be at least 1 smoke detector in a common area of each level that is interconnected to the fire alarm system. In other than existing buildings, the smoke alarms shall be interconnected.  All smoke detectors are to be hard-wired to the building electrical system, and have battery back-up in case of power failure, unless existing battery-powered smoke alarms, rather than house electric-powered smoke alarms, shall be permitted where the facility has demonstrated to the authority have jurisdiction that the testing, maintenance, and battery replacement programs will ensure reliability of power to the smoke alarms.
  • Carbon monoxide detection shall be required in all rooming and lodging facilities.  
  • Fire alarm system, which includes at least 1 pull station on each floor, plus horns to sound throughout, and strobes in common areas. (An exception to requiring the pull stations is when activation of the fire sprinkler system will set off the fire alarm system.) Also, there are to be 2 bedrooms to have strobes unless the owner lives in the building and there are 5 or less rooms for rent.
  • Protection of vertical openings requires self-closing, rated doors at the top and bottom of stairs. Certain exceptions may apply if there is a sprinkler system and depending upon the nature of escape routes.

This list summarizes only the main points, and is not exhaustive. Once we have your information to review, we will be able to answer more specific questions.

Fourth, in addition to the fire & life safety requirements above, the Division of Health Engineering at 207-287-5675 issues B & B licenses, so call them too. Their issues have to do with drinking water, plumbing, and providing food to the public.