There are different rules for other items a guest brings into a hotel. For clothes or sporting equipment, limiting statutes provide limited liability for hotels unless the lost is caused by the hotel's negligence. The hotel will typically be liable for the full value of the missing property. An exception is in the state of Nevada, which limits the liability of innkeepers even when they are negligent.
Not all property brought to a hotel by a guest is appropriate for a safe. If it is not and the property is stolen, the hotel may have no liability. Moxt state statutes require the following property to be deposited in the safe: money; jewels; ornaments; banknotes; bonds; negotiable securities; precious stones; and other articles of similar valuables. Some question how much money can be left out of the safe or should a watch be put in the safe, ambiguities exist.
Many hotels have abandoned the use of keys and are now using electronic keys. These devices allow the hotel to change the code that opens the door every time a new guest occupies the room. The problems with traditional keys are that they are easily duplicated. Guests often checked out of a hotel and failed to return the key, enabling an underground market among theives for hotel keys.
For property not covered by the limiting statutes, the liability of a hotel or restaurant is based on laws regarding bailment. One example of bailment is valet. If no bailment exists, the business is not liable for loss or theft of property. If bailment does exist, the business, the hotel or restaurant will be liable for the loss only if it failed to exercise the requisite degree of care for the bailed goods.
Almost every rule of law has exceptions, and the outdated rule that held the innkeeper absolutely liable for guests' goods was tempered by three exceptions. Act of God, which includes earthquakes, lighting, snowstorms, tornadoes, and floods. Public enemy, which includes wartime and terrorist activities. Lastly, negligence by the guest, such as leaving luggage unattended in the lobby.
Theft can even happen while you are checking out or after you have checked out. A woman has already taken her jewelry out of the safe and is in the process of checking out in that time her jewelry is stolen. In this case, the hotel was not held liable. "A hotel guest who fails to use the safe deposit box cannot hold the hotel responsible if his or her valuables are later lost or stolen."
Families usually bring a lot when they go on vacation. Especially when they are able to bring their own car. In one case, a family was driving on vacation and stopped at a hotel for the night. They parked their car in the hotel's parking garage. In the car they left valuable items, but did not alert the hotel. When their items were stolen the hotel was only liable for the broken window because the family did not tell them about their goods.
All limiting statutes require posting of one kind or another. "Posting" means displaying a sign that calls the guests' attention to the availibility of a safe and the fact that, by law, the hotel's liability for valuables is limited. Each state's statue identifies the places where the notice must be posted and what the notice must state. Typically, notice must be posted at the registration desk, on the check-in form, and in guests rooms.
The limiting liability statues require that the innkeeper provide a "proper safe" for guests' valuables. In the past, hotels kept a safe or deposit boxes in a central location. This location was usually in the vicinity of the front desk. These deposit boxes were sometimes not available late in the evening or early in the morning. This was an essential fact in some cases.
In this chapter we are discussing how to protect patrons' property when they stay at a hotel. Hotel thefts are not rare. Most hotel theives are professionals seeking money, jewels, or credit cards. The theives sometimes offer money to hotel employees in exchange for confidential information.
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I chose this image to represent detained property held by a bailee. In this case a car is being withheld because a parking fee has not been paid. Bailee's have the right to do this on account of negligent payment.
I chose this image to represent an innkeeper's lien. That is the ability for a hotel to hold on to guest's personal items in collateral for not paying their bill. This picture shows personal items in the room that could be used as collateral.
I chose this image to represent lost property which is different form mislaid property. Under common law it is the right of the finder to keep lost property if it is not claimed. This happens in hotel lost and founds when items go unclaimed.