Hotel disputes: do you know your rights?

October 31, 2014

Hotels have some liability for guests’ safety and room conditions. Learn more about clients’ rights in the event of a dispute with a hotel.

Hotel disputes: do you know your rights?

A bad hotel room can ruin your entire vacation. Just how much is your hotel responsible for when it comes to its room condition or damages to your personal property?

Hotel rules may vary from one area to another, but here is some general information about hotel responsibility.


In general, a hotel is responsible for providing guests with adequate security during their stay. This could include:

  • Making sure doors are secure and appropriately monitored
  • Keeping room numbers confidential
  • Ensuring all windows and doors are properly locked
  • Utilizing full-time surveillance cameras in public areas
  • Maintaining a respectful and professional staff, since the hotel is liable for damage or assault on guests by employees


Hotels are required to keep their properties safe for all guests, which could include the following:

  • Removing hazardous conditions like snow or ice from parking lots, sidewalks and drives
  • Monitoring, fencing off and protecting guests from “attractive hazards” like a swimming pool
  • Adhering to local building codes and requirements
  • Keeping up with fire regulations

Property condition

One of the main things hotels are responsible for is offering rooms and a facility that are in good condition for occupancy. Hotels are liable for:

  • Offering sanitary bathroom facilities
  • Providing adequate ventilation of air conditioning and heating
  • Making sure rooms are insect- and pest-free

Personal property

Historically, hotels were responsible for damage, loss or theft of personal property.

  • Nowadays, most hotels only guarantee protection of property if guests deposit their more expensive belongings in the hotel's safes. Some hotels will post notices indicating they are not responsible for the damage or loss of their guests’ property.
  • It varies from area to area and hotel to hotel. So it’s best to research your particular hotel and its location to learn about its personal property policies.
  • Even if a hotel is responsible for your personal property, be aware that most hotels have a monetary limit to their liability. This means you may not receive the full amount of what the damaged or lost property was worth.

Do you need a lawyer?

Since laws and rules regarding hotel liability vary so widely, it may be in your best interest to consult an experienced lawyer about your situation if you believe you have a claim against a hotel.

  • A lawyer will know the local laws and can inform you on what you can recover, as well as what other possible actions can be taken against the hotel.

Remember, knowledge is power; get informed about your client rights before you head off on your next trip.

The material on this website is provided for entertainment, informational and educational purposes only and should never act as a substitute to the advice of an applicable professional. Use of this website is subject to our terms of use and privacy policy.
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