Tourist Rooming House/Short Term Rentals

Rental of a whole or partial residence to visitors for less than a month is commonly known as a Short-Term Rental (STR). Its legal term in Wisconsin is a Tourist Rooming House (TRH). Due to the growing popularity of house sharing and vacation rental websites that match visitors with residential host locations, many Wisconsin residents are offering short-term rentals in their homes.

 Wisconsin allows the rental of one to four sleeping accommodations, which can be rooms of a home or an entire home.

All City of West Allis Tourist Rooming Houses must be licensed through the West Allis Health Department and inspected annually to verify the operation meets all requirements of Wisconsin law related to general public health.


How to Get Licensed (Steps must be completed in order)


Zoning verification: The City of West Allis permits tourist rooming homes/a.k.a. short term rentals in all residential zoning and commercial districts when the following are met:

• The structure is a single or two-family residence, or a mixed-use or multi-family containing not more than 4 dwelling units.

• Meets the definition of a Tourist Rooming House - All lodging places, other than hotels, motels, and bed and breakfasts, in which sleeping accommodations are offered for pay to tourists or transients. A tourist rooming house is a type of short-term rental.

• Offered for rent for a fee and for fewer than 29 consecutive days.

Zoning questions: Contact the West Allis Development Department/Planning Division at or (414) 302-8460.


Review the Room Tax Registration form (PDF).

Review the Short Term Rental Guidance PDF brochure.

Complete the Tourism Rooming House (PDF) checklist.  The checklist shows the main items covered during a Tourist Rooming House health inspection.

Review the Wisconsin Short Term Rentals Law (PDF).

sTEP 3: Apply for the license and schedule an inspection

Complete the License and Scheduling application.  After the approved pre-inspection, you will receive the license and be able to rent out sleeping accommodations.


Contact the West Allis Health Department at or 414-302-8600.