MOREY LAW BLOG

Are Hotel Guests Really Guests or Are they Tenants?

Posted On May 31, 2015

Chapter 509 of the Florida Statues deals with lodging. Generally speaking, lodging refers to hotels, motels, and inns. The term also includes other forms of lodging as well. The main types of lodging are Transient public lodging establishments and Nontransient public lodging establishments.

Transient public lodging establishments are defined by Chapter 509 as being rented to guests more than three times in a calendar year for periods of less than 30 days or 1 calendar month, whichever is less, or which is advertised or held out to the public as a place regularly rented to guests. The most common type of transient public lodging would be hotels and similar establishments where guest stay during their vacation.   

Nontransient public lodging establishments are defined as being rented to guests for periods of at least 30 days or 1 calendar month, whichever is less, or which is advertised or held out to the public as a place regularly rented to guests for periods of at least 30 days or 1 calendar month. The common examples of nontransient public lodging would be your extended stay hotels.

There are also Transient establishments, Transient occupancy, Nontransient establishments, Nontransient occupancy, Transients, and Nontransients. The distinction can become somewhat confusing.

Chapter 83, Part II of the Florida Statutes deals with residential landlord-tenant relationships. In general, Chapter 83 does not apply to, “transient occupancy in a hotel, condominium, motel, roominghouse, or similar public lodging, or transient occupancy in a mobile home park.” However, in many cases it may apply to a nontransient situation.

The distinction between Chapters 509 and 83, Part II are very important. If you are only considered a guest, you have considerably less protection under Florida law in regards to your right to stay in possession of the property, or in this case room. Normally, owners of transient public lodging can elect to have the sheriff remove you from the property without a court order or they can just deny you access to the room. Additionally, it may be a crime to stay in this type of lodging and not pay.

That is not the case if you fall under Chapter 83, Part II and are essentially considered a tenant. The owner of the nontransient public lodging cannot remove you from the property without going through the eviction process and obtaining a court order. If they try to resort to other means to recover possession of the property, the owners put themselves at risk of being penalized by the courts for exercising behavior that is prohibited by Chapter 83.

Unfortunately, the distinctions between these two statutes are sometimes ignored or unknown by law enforcement. That can result in some very unjust predicaments. It seems to be better for all parties involved to err on the side of caution. The Orlando Sentinel has published an article regarding a dispute with hotel owners and the Osceola County Sheriff Department. Here is a link to that article: Click Here 

It is very important that you know your rights under these laws and to know what Chapter your situation falls under. At the Morey Law Firm, P.A., we can help determine your legal rights. Give us a call today to set up your free consultation!