b. Innkeepers rights
2. Reasons to Evict
a. Nonpayment of a bill
c. Disorderly conduct
d. Serious or contagious illness
e. Objectionable character or improper conduct
f. Business competitors seeking to solicit customers
3. How to Evict
a. Legal forms
b. Innkeepers lien
c. Excessive force
d. Liability for wrongful eviction
4. Tenant vs. Guest
a. Guidelines of differences
b. Actions to be taken under circumstances
Under certain circumstances an innkeeper has the right to withdraw hotel privileges and evict a guest. Evict means to remove someone from property. A hotel can evict a guest for nonpayment of a bill, overstaying, disorderly conduct, serious or contagious illness, or objectionable character. In addition to those conditions a hotel may also evict business competitors seeking to solicit customers under certain circumstances along with non-guests (Cournoyer, p. 356). The hotelkeeper must first make certain the person occupying the room is a guest and not a tenant. If the person is a tenant, than the above reasons for evicting them must be accompanied with a court proceeding.
The right to evict stems from the duty of the innkeeper to receive and provide adequate accommodations, without discrimination, to all who come in a fit condition to be received, who are willing and able to pay as long as the hotel has a room. If, after the guests admission, circumstances occur which would have justified the innkeeper in refusing to admit that person, the innkeeper has justification for evicting that guest (Kalt, p. 53). Once admitted, a guest is in a better position to demand the services of the innkeeper than when that person first applied for admission, but that alone does not secure the guest from being evicted (Sherry, p. 109).
Failure to pay a hotel bill is grounds for eviction. Ordinarily, the hotel makes a demand upon the guest for the amount of the bill and requests the guest to leave by a certain hour if the bill is not paid. The hotel has the right to evict immediately as long as the person is a guest, and not a tenant.
From the earliest times, the rule was that an innkeeper had the right to request payment before furnishing accommodations. By the nineteenth century, it had become customary not to require payment in advance, though the right to do so still remains (Sherry, p.114). A classic case on ejection for refusal to pay is Morningstar v Lafayettte Hotel Co. In this case the guest refused to pay his bill for both room service, and dining in the caf. Then when he retuned for breakfast he was refused service. It was proven that the hotel is not required to entertain a guest who has refused to pay a lawful charge.
If a guest overstays the agreed time limit that person may be required to leave. If the guest refuses, he may be evicted in a reasonable manner, not inflicting injury or undue humiliation upon the guest. A good practice that most hotelkeepers do is to print or stamp the date of departure on the registration card and on a copy given to the guest. If the hotel has made other commitments for this room, the innkeeper should just remove the guests luggage from his room during his absence and to double-lock the door so the guest cant get back in to their room (Sherry, p. 115).
Three states Hawaii, Louisiana, and North Carolina have passed statues that codify the common law position and make a holdover guest a trespasser. For example, Hawaiis statute specifies:
Any guest who continues to occupy an assigned bedroom beyond the scheduled departure without the prior written approval of the keeper shall be deemed a trespasser.
In the forty-seven states that dont have statutes specifically covering the rights of innkeepers with regard to overstays, to reduce the possibility of any lawsuits, innkeepers should proceed with caution when evicting a guest (Cournyer, p. 357).
Another right of an innkeeper is to eject guests, and non-guest who engage in disorderly, undesirable, or unacceptable conduct at the inn. Most states have statutes similar to the following:
Eviction of disorderly persons: Every owner or keeper of any hotel, inn, motel, boarding house or lodging house in this state shall have the right to evict from such premises anyone who acts in a disorderly manner, or who destroys the property of any such owner or keeper, or causes a public disturbance in or upon such premises.
In absence of this statute, common-law right to so evict remains. In exercising ones rights under these laws, common or statutory, discretion and care would always be in order (Goodwin, p. 402).
In the case of Le Mistral v. Columbia Broadcasting System, the television crew sent a camera crew to a restaurant that had been cited for health code violations. In an effort to catch unsanitary practices on camera, they went in with the cameras rolling. With the lights blaring, disturbing other diners, the restaurant ordered the crew to leave and sued for damages on the grounds of trespassing (Cournyer, p.360).
According to common-law, hotel operators have the right to evict a guest who contracts a contagious disease that is easily spread. The innkeeper is obligated to use extreme care to avoid aggravating the guests condition by using the assistance of a public health official, a doctor, or an ambulance. The innkeeper can exclude the guest with an easily spread disease because accommodating them would expose many others to the illness, violating the innkeepers duty of reasonable care for guests well being (Cournyer, p. 360).
The improper conduct or objectionable character should not be tolerated in hotels. In Raider v. Dixie Inn the court, upholding the right to eject a common prostitute enumerated the types of undesirable conduct which have been held to justify exclusion from an inn:
It appears, therefore, fully settled that an innkeeper may lawfully refuse to entertain objectionable characters, if to do so is calculated to injure his business or to place himself, business, or guests in a hazardous, uncomfortable, or dangerous situation
It should be noted that the cases on ejection and refusal to receive for undesirable character are quite old. The question is simply not litigated today (Sherry, p. 112).
A guest, who is engaged in a lawful occupation as a salesmen and who attempts to sell his wares to other guests, may be ejected from the hotel. Despite the legality of his occupation, if the management objects to his pursuing his trade among the guests, he may be stopped and ejected, even though his action may not be annoying to the guests. While the hotel has a duty to accept all fit to be received who come to its doors, this does not give the right to individuals to sell their wares without the consent of the management (Kalt, p. 56)
Non-guests is a section for many others to fall under, from prostitution, to solicitation, to disorderly conduct, and even just trespassing. If a person is not a patron of a hotel, they must be promulgated, or given permission by management to be on property. Otherwise they can be in violation of D.C. Code 22-3102, Unlawful entry on property, which is a misdemeanor. In the case of People v Thorpe, the defendants were charged with disorderly conduct. They were Jehovah Witnesses, going door to door, and disturbing all the guests. The manager was able to summon the police and have the defendants peacefully removed. In another case, Kelly v. United States, security officers observed the appellant in the hotel going upstairs with a different guest approximately five occasions.
It is a general rule that
[Where a person does] not enter the hotel as a guest nor with the intention of becoming one, [it is] his duty to leave peaceably when ordered by the [innkeeper] to do so
Hotels have a right to make and enforce reasonable rules. Such rules may be designed to prevent immorality, drunkenness, and other forms of misconduct that can offend other guests or bring the hotel into disrepute (Cournyer, p. 349)
Physical force and harsh words should be avoided when evicting a guest. The innkeeper can prevent this by first informing the person that they are no longer welcome on the premises and that they need to leave. One way of informing the guest of eviction is by giving them a legal notice to vacate from the Am Jur Legal Forms 2d, 137:16. Its a more formal way of informing the guest the statute in which applies to them for the reasons of why they should leave. In addition to that form, if there is a situation in which a guest has refused to pay, there is a legal notice of lien sale supported by the Arizona Statute 33-951, and 33-952. The legal form 137:17 in the Am Jur Legal Forms 2d informs the guest there is a legal lien on their luggage until the unpaid bill is taken care of. The Arizona statute states the innkeeper may sell the luggage after four months if the bill is still unpaid.
After being asked to leave, if the person still refuses the persons license to remain on the property has been withdrawn and a second request to leave should be made. If the person still refuses to leave, then the hotel employees should call the police. If the guest is out of control and delay until police arrive is too long, the courts have consistently held that the innkeeper may with reasonable force remove the guest. Reasonable force is justified as the amount of force that is reasonably necessary to remove the person or to counter force used by that person. (Cournoyer, p. 368)
The Innkeeper must be careful when deciding to evict a guest. If the reasons are personal or based on discriminatory reasons, the hotel can be held liable for wrongful eviction and/or discrimination. They would also be in violation of the civil rights act of 1964 in 42 U.S.C. 2000a. The best example of a case that is related to this subject would be Jones v. City of Boston. In 1990, a hotel bartender uttered a racial epithet about Mr. Jones, and then forcibly escorted him into the lobby. There the hotel manager asked Mr. Jones to leave and did not refund the $86 he paid for the room.
When considering an eviction, a hotel must distinguish between a guest and a tenant. The distinction between the two is very important on how to evict a guest. In the case of Neely v. Lott Hotels Company, where the plaintiff received general maid service, towels linens, etc. The plaintiff had failed to pay for his debt, so the defendant took possession of the hotel room. The relation of innkeeper and guest, and not of landlord and tenant existed between the two parties. Because the plaintiff failed to pay the daily charge, the innkeeper had the right to eject the plaintiff from the premises.
Since the distinction between a lodger and a tenant is often a shadowy one, in case of any doubt it would seem best to assume that a person who has resided in the hotel on a weekly or monthly rate basis for more than thirty days is a tenant, and to proceed against him accordingly (Sherry, p 99). This view is reinforced by the provisions of section 711 of the New York Real Property Actions and Proceedings Law, which states:
An occupant of one or more rooms in a rooming house in a city having a population of one million or more, who has been in possession for thirty consecutive days or longer is a tenant under this article; he shall not be removed from possession except in a special proceeding,
An innkeeper may lock out a guest, lodger, or boarder for nonpayment of his reasonable charges, but must resort to legal process to dispossess a tenant with a court proceeding.
Minnesota has a statute to protect innkeepers rights, it is 327.73 Undesirable guests: ejection of and refusal to admit. Idaho enacted a law in 1993, Title 39, chapter 18, 1805. Although many states do not have said statutes for eviction rights, or innkeepers rights, most hotels must rely on common-law to run their business lawfully. A hotel can evict a guest for nonpayment of a bill, overstaying, disorderly conduct, serious or contagious illness, or objectionable character, business competitors seeking to solicit customers under certain circumstances along with non-guests. Hotels considering the forcible eviction of guests should act carefully to protect themselves against potential claims of assault and battery, and the hotelkeeper should never under any circumstances make derogatory comments when evicting a guest.
D.C. Code 22-3102
42 USCS 2000a
Arizona Statute 33-951, and 33-952
Minn. Stat 327.73
Am Jur Legal Forms 2d, 137:16, and 137:17
Buck v Del City Apartments
Neely v. Lott Hotels Company
Jones v. City of Boston
Cournoyer, Norman G., Marshall, A., Morris, K. Hotel, Restaurant, and Travel Law;
A Preventative Approach, Fourth Edition. Albany, NY. Delmar
Publishers Inc. 1993.
Goodwin, John R. Hotel Law Principles and Cases. Columbus, OH. Publishing
Horizons, Inc. 1987
Jeffries, Jack P. Understanding Hospitality Law; Third Edition. East Lansing, MI.
Educational Institute of the American Hotel and Motel Association. 1995.
Kalt, Nathan. Legal Aspects of Hotel, Motel, and Restaurant Operation. New York, NY.
ITT Educational Services, Inc. 1971.
Sherry, John H. The Laws of Innkeepers. Ithaca, NY. Cornell University Press, 1972.
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