Florida innkeeper laws regulate the rights and obligations of hotels within the state to ensure the safety of guests. Under Florida laws, hotels have a limited obligation to provide for the safety of guests on their property. Hotels must also follow strict safety and sanitary regulations. Hotels in Florida also have a limited right to refuse service or eject guests.
Innkeeper Liability for Property of Guests
Under Florida innkeeper law, a hotel does not have any duty to protect a guest’s personal property unless the hotel specifically agreed to hold it for safekeeping. If property accepted for safekeeping is lost, the hotel is only liable if at fault. If the property lost is a financial instrument or jewelry, the hotel will only owe a maximum of $1,000 if it gave the property owner a receipt disclaiming losses in excess of $1,000. If the lost property is any other type, the maximum a hotel will owe is $500. However, if the guest provides the hotel with an inventory of goods that were lost, the hotel will owe a maximum of $1,000.
Lost Property of Guests
If a hotel guest leaves property behind, the hotel must try to identify the property owner. If the property owner cannot be identified, the hotel must turn the property over to law enforcement. If the property owner can be identified, the hotel must provide written notice to the owner and wait 30 days before disposing of the property. However, if the guest vacated the hotel and has an outstanding balance, the hotel may sell the property without prior notice.
Safety and Sanitary Regulations
Florida law requires all individual hotel rooms to have a lock on any door opening to either the outside or an adjoining room. If the hotel is three or more stories high, railings are required on any balcony, platform and stairway. If a hotel does not provide for private bathrooms, it must provide one bathroom for every 15 guests. A hotel must provide a clean bed for each guest, complete with clean mattress, blankets, pillows, sheets and comforters. A hotel must also regularly inspect for and take measures to prevent the breeding of vermin.
Refusal or Ejection of Guests
Under Florida law, a hotel owner may either refuse admission to or eject a guest under several circumstances. Valid circumstances for refusing or ejecting a guest include the possession of controlled substances by the guest, intoxication, profanity, disturbing the peace of other guests, failure to check out on time and failure to make payment for lodging or food. If a guest has paid in advance, the hotel must refund any unused portion of the payment. If a guest refuses to leave after being refused admission or ejected, it is a second degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to 60 days in jail and a fine of up to $500. Under no circumstances may a hotel choose to refuse admission or eject a guest on the basis of race, creed, color, sex, national origin or physical disability.