Hotels assume numerous responsibilities by having overnight guests and providing hospitality services. Many laws govern their activities.
Safety and security is the most important legal duty that hotels and other hospitality industry businesses and organizations hold. Hotels must balance their legal obligation to accept guests when they have available rooms with their responsibility of screening out dangerous individuals.
But hotels are not medical facilities and guest safety is their overriding concern. They can usually refuse to check in guests who are drunk and disorderly, those suffering with a contagious disease or guests who present an issue beyond its capacity to address. Service may be denied to guests who are attempting to bring in animals if there is a no pet policy, except if the pet is a service animal.
Some hotels have eliminated do not disturb signs on room doors after the 2017 Las Vegas shooting. During that crime, a hotel guest prevented employees from seeing his weapons by hanging that sign on the door to his suite.
Hotels have also eliminated or changed other privacy policies. Guests have reduced guest privacy and staff may enter to rooms to protect their safety, other guest safety and the hotel.
If guests stay for an extended period, they may be considered tenants under Illinois law. Hotels have to comply with landlord and tenant laws and ordinances governing eviction.
State laws and local ordinances may also govern property left by guests. When this occurs, hotels should use procedures that account for the items so guests cannot claim that their property was stolen or lost. Several employees should inventory every item that was left behind and record the packing and movement of property.
Hotels should enact standards and training that incorporate federal and Illinois laws, local ordinances and the hotel’s policies and standards.
Before situations escalate, employees can try to warn offending guests and act reasonably, professionally and courteously. Supervisors should be brought into the situation when warranted.
An attorney may assist hotel and other hospitality venues to comply with the law and protect themselves against legal actions. They can also represent them in legal actions.