Short Term Rental versus Bed and Breakfast

Whats the difference?
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“Town Clarifies the Difference between a Bed and Breakfast and a short-term rental”

Chesapeake Beach, MD, November 24, 2020- The Town of Chesapeake Beach adopted a Housing Code via Ordinance O-19-11 in May of 2019 that provides an avenue for residents to apply for a rental permit for a period of more than (30) thirty days in the Town limits. As residents review their property, to determine investment income opportunities, residents should review the Housing Code, the Town’s Zoning Ordinance and the Land Use Classification Table before taking any action.

When reviewing your rental income options, residents should first understand their property’s current zoning. A zoning map is viewable here: Any use within a specific zone requires a zoning permit to be issued by the Town.

Once you know your properties zoning, you will need to look at the Land Use Classification Table.  It is located here:

If you are considering a Bed and Breakfast establishment, note that the Zoning Ordinance defines “Bed and Breakfast Establishment” as “An owner-occupied or manager-occupied building where, for compensation, and only by prearrangement (transients only) for definite periods, lodging and meals are provided.”  Take note that the owner or manager of the bed and breakfast must occupy the house and meals must be provided to the guests.

If you comply with the definition and are considering a Bed and Breakfast establishment, follow the Land Use Classification Table to Item # 32 “Bed-and Breakfast establishment” where it will lay out the parameters for each zoning district.  You will see that Bed and Breakfast establishments are allowed in most districts as either an SC use (Special Exception, subject to Conditions) or as a C use (conditional use - permitted use subject to conditions).

Those conditions may be found by following this link: 

§290-11 Conditions and standards for conditional and special exception uses:

P. Bed-and-breakfast: special exception with conditions use in the R-LD District and conditional use in the R-MD, R-V, C, M and RPC Districts, subject to the requirements of the district where located, except as herein provided:

(1) An owner or manager lives on the premises.

(2) The facility is part of a dwelling unit.

(3) No separate kitchens are provided.

(4) Meals shall be provided for overnight lodgers only.

(5) The facility is operated through a state-approved bed-and-breakfast registry.

(6) One off-street parking space is provided for each guest room.

In order to obtain a permit to operate a Bed and Breakfast, the owner must submit a permit application with the Town, which includes an inspection by the County.  After they are fully permitted by Town & County, and establish themselves, then they can work towards obtaining membership on the State registry, which is required prior to operation as a Bed and Breakfast.

If you have questions regarding this process please visit our website at or call Town Hall at (410)257-2230 to be routed appropriately.