Legal rights of innkeepers & guests

Updated April 17, 2017

Innkeepers and guests have different rights to protect their security and the safety of others. Service may be refused at the discretion of the staff for many reasons including disruptive or illegal behaviour. Knowing your rights as a guest or innkeeper may assist you in understanding how to take action if your rights are being compromised.

Refusing Service

Innkeepers have the right to refuse service to guests if the situation warrants it. Visitors demonstrating public intoxication, sickness or dysfunctional behaviour may be turned away at the discretion of the host. Violent or offensive behaviour by potential guests may initiate refusal of room accommodations by the inn staff.

Failure of Payment

The guest's failure to pay the room fee prior to staying may result in refusal of service. If the inn bill is unpaid at the time of checkout and the guest refuses to pay, an Innkeeper's Lien may be applied to secure payment for accommodations. Under this security, a guest's belongings may be confiscated and sold or distributed as necessary to compensate for lack of payment. Guests have no power to report theft of their property under this lien.


Innkeepers hold the right to refuse or evict anyone for illegal or offensive behaviour. Breaking rules of any kind, intentionally or accidentally, may result in dismissal of accommodations and refusal of service by the staff. Disruptive or illegal behaviour by guests may warrant eviction. Failure to depart the room on the date agreed upon and paid for may also result in eviction by the innkeeper.


Aside from a few circumstances, innkeepers are generally not permitted inside a guest's room during her stay. Hotel or inn guests are given privacy in their room, unless their behaviour warrants staff attention. In an emergency or during a change of accommodations, an innkeeper may be present in a guest's room. The guest may also request in-room assistance from the innkeeper, thus giving him permission to be there.


If a guest's room is pillaged during his stay, the innkeeper is not held responsible for stolen belongings or valuables. Liability signs are generally located in conspicuous areas in numerous locations in the building. Hotels usually provide small safes for securely storing expensive or important items. Any items not safely stowed away risk being stolen.

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About the Author

Kaylee Sauvey has been writing professionally since 2010. She writes entertainment articles for "University Link Magazine" and Dream Row, and also contributes to several online publications. Sauvey is pursuing her Associate of Arts in English from Fullerton College.