Hotels and motels should be temporary accommodations, and as an owner of an establishment, you expect that your guests will check out and move on after their stay.
You do not expect guests to become tenants and when they do, you may face a difficult and stressful legal battle to remove them.
When does a guest become a tenant?
According to New York Real Property law, a hotel/motel guest becomes a tenant after a continuous stay of 30 days. This entitles the guest to tenant rights, and you must follow specific landlord-tenant policies that prevent you from simply locking the room and asking the guest to leave your property. As long as the occupant continues to pay, then you may not be terribly concerned. However, when payment stops and the guest remains, you must begin the legal eviction process.
What is the process for evicting a hotel/motel tenant?
When your tenant is five days late paying their rent or hotel fees, you must send a written notice of past due rent stating dates and amounts due by certified mail before filing your eviction case in court. If the guest pays the full amount before the court date, you must accept the money and stop pursuing the case. Once a judge issues a judgment, you can obtain a warrant of eviction and hire a law enforcement agency to help you evict the tenant. You must also give your tenant 14 days’ notice of eviction.
As a hotel/motel owner, you have a lot going on outside of dealing with landlord-tenant issues. Therefore, it is essential to understand your rights when evicting non-paying guests.