7-22-16 – Keep the Government Out of Our Bedrooms!

by Rob Roper

Vermont Digger reports that the state is considering 35 new pages of regulations (up from one) that would apply to innkeepers, bed and breakfasts, and summer camps. These are businesses that play and have played a pretty key role in establishing the Vermont brand. The gist of these new regulations would be to force these mostly small businesses to meet the same health standards as major hotel chains.

Give… Me… A… Break.

Does anyone go to a summer camp expecting fresh towels delivered daily and a brightly lit parking lot? Or do we expect the cookies served in a bed and breakfast to be baked in an industrial kitchen? No. In fact, we go to these places because we expect and are paying for the opposite – rustic solitude and a home cooked meal.

What’s really going on here is another attack on small businesses, instigated by their larger competitors using government as the cudgel. The big businesses that can afford to absorb the cost of complying with these regulations benefit when those that can’t drop out of the market.

As one B&B owner explained in the article, in order to comply she would have to install locks on all the doors in her establishment, and hire someone to be on duty 24/7 to replace any potentially lost key lost by a customer. A totally untenable, unaffordable mandate.

In the information age we live in, certainly any potential guest would know ahead of time that doors in this particular B&B do not lock. If that’s a turn off for you, don’t go there. If it’s been a problem for other guests, read about it on the comments section on a ratings website and make your own informed decision.

Technology has changed the marketplace for rental properties, and the status quo players don’t like the fact that AirBnB, etc. have lowered the barriers to entry to participate in this market, allowing many people to compete for customers. These customers are looking for a good deal, convenience, more home-like amenities, whatever. Government wants to come in and say, no you can’t have that. If a customer says, I really don’t care that the meal I received did not come from a kitchen with three sinks, the government says you must care. And, you must pay.

This is an abuse and misuse of government power.

– Rob Roper is president of the Ethan Allen Institute.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

jim bulmer July 22, 2016 at 9:43 pm

Once again the bearuacrats are trying to have it both ways. On one hand they sell Vermont as a rural, bucolic, unspoled treasure, and then they ruin the concept by foisting rules and regs on the small inn keepers. My wife and I prefer to stay in
B & B’s for all the reasons these regs will crush.


Ed Brault July 22, 2016 at 11:57 pm

“What’s really going on here is another attack on small businesses.” This is key part of what has been ruining Vermont’s “atmosphere”, economy, and driving the “lack of affordability” that plagues the state. The result is more and more Vermonters, including me, saying “That’s all i can stands, I can’t stands nomore!” as we relocate to another state with lower taxes, fewer regulations, and a lower cost of living.


John Maroney July 23, 2016 at 1:55 am

Who lies awake nights inventing these absurd and outrageous regulations ? Do they have a real day job to get up and go to next morning ? Could there be anything in their lives toward which thought and effort might better be directed ? I hope those who came up with this gem for the Bed & Breakfasts and summer camps are proud of themselves. But for many thinking people, it’s very discouraging.


Mark Shepard July 24, 2016 at 3:46 am

Having a family of six we have long had to deal with the regulation in many state, including Vermont, of no more than five in a room … regardless of the age. From my first encounter with this law, I suspected it was lobbied for by the hotel, motel and inn owners with an interest in selling two rooms rather than one. When we had four young boys, the safest setup in our mind would be that all six of us were in one room. So I have to agree with this article … more of the same. And in our case the hotels lost more than they gained … we avoided them if they pushed us to be in separate rooms. We have all slept in our van more than a few nights and we have a tent that holds us all. The market always wins and is never tricked by burdensome regulations. :-).


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