Bob checks into a hotel for a night (term; let's say 24 hours) for £40 (rent) and his room isn't shared with anyone else (exclusive possession). The owner of the hotel doesn't live in the same building (precluding lodger license status), and his room has its own toilet bathroom and kitchenette (sole occupant in a self contained dwelling). Perhaps the hotel offers complimentary cleaning service, but Bob has the option to invite or refuse this by hanging the paper thingy on his door either on the side that says please clean my room or do not disturb accordingly.

Checkout time comes, and he refuses to leave. He goes out, and they disable his keycard and pack up his stuff so he returns to find it put downstairs in the lobby.

Has Bob been illegally evicted? Why or why not?

If he has, then what are the hotel's lawful options for getting rid of him?

1 Answer 1


No illegal eviction took place, if he wasn't a tenant

The term of the room rental was specified beforehand. There was no renewable or extension clause in the rental agreement. Bob also is not a tenant: he is a guest in a hotel. The Hotel offers cleaning services, as the OP specified.

By overstaying, his items now were trespassing, the removal was legitimate.

However, there is a point at which a short term renting of a hotel becomes living at it. Where this is is often dependant on how long or in what way you stay.

Where's the line between a Tenant and a Guest?

THAT is the operative question. When does a Guest/Lodger become a Tenant and can get eviction protection?

  • In a couple of Hotels actually do have renters with a special rental contract - which is vastly different from the normal room rental. For example, the Maritim in Hamburg has year-rentals. These are actual renters with a rental contract and eviction protection, that give up some tenant rights for services (e.g. room cleaning service for limits in remodeling). However, overstaying at a hotel can actually become a crime: Einmietbetrug - obtaining a room in a hotel or a residency but not wanting to pay or mischaracterizing your ability to do so - is a variant of fraud and thus can be punished under §263 StGB; Under the operating law, a hotel guest is not afforded with all rights of a tenant, unless they are explicitly pointed out like with longstay contracts.
  • In the line is 30 days, in it is the same but they also need to not have a different residency.
  • in , the operative case when someone is a lodger or tenant is Brillouet v Landless (1995) 28 H.L.R. 836: a hotel Guest is not a tenant, even after more than a month of stay. In fact, courts following this case argue, that such a person is only licensed to be on the premises, and the license could be revoked without eviction procedures.

In fact, the Brillouet v Landless case is very close to the example. Brillouet rented a room in September, and extended the stay. Then he did not pay (or rather, his accommodation services didn't. In October, Landless sought to get rid of Brillouet for non-payment, just telling him to leave. Brillouet applied for an injunction against the eviction and got a temporary one (to preserve the status-quo) till the hearing. Mere days later, and the first instance court handed out judgement against the application of an injunction to protect Brillouet. The Hotel guest, so the court, was not a tenant under the Housing Act 1988:

The Protection from Eviction Act depends on premises having been let as a dwelling.

The Court of Appeals affirmed the denial of protection from eviction and seeing no tenancy (emphasis mine):

It is an essential prerequisite of any tenancy that the tenant should have, so it is said in some of the authorities, exclusive possession. In my judgment the facts of this case particularly when one bears in mind that Mr Brillouet upon his own assertion avails himself of at least some of the facilities (he goes to the restaurant occasionally for his breakfast) — come nowhere near demonstrating that he has or has had within this room exclusive occupation. At best in my judgment he could conceivably be a licensee. One then has to examine once more the terms of the statute to ascertain whether he is a licensee entitled to protection under the 1977 Act.

As the section to which I have alluded makes plain, only licensees who occupy as a dwelling premises which they do occupy are entitled to protection. If, as in my judgment the facts here clearly demonstrate, the occupant is no more and no less than a hotel guest properly so-called, then the accommodation is not let to the licensee as a dwelling.

Street v Mountford (1985) AC 809 most likely doesn't apply if any hotel services are offered by the hotel. In the case, Mountford was found a tenant because Street did not offer any services beyond the room and furnishings itself. The presence of any service would change the pattern significantly, as the House of Lords decided: It applies against Bob if the hotel offers cleaning service/room service, and by offering service beyond the room and the furnishing within it, it is lodging, not a tenancy:

The occupier is a lodger if the landlord provides attendance or services which require the landlord or his servants to exercise unrestricted access to and use of the premises. A lodger is entitled to live in the premises but cannot call the place his own.

[...] Street provided neither attendance nor services and only reserved the limited rights of inspection and maintenance and the like set forth in clause 3 of the agreement. On the traditional view of the matter, Mrs. Mountford not being a lodger must be a tenant.

Mehta v Royal Bank of Scotland Plc (2000) 32 H.L.R. 45 doesn't apply, as that case revolved around a verbal contract with the manager for 6 month exclusive use of rooms. Mehta became a tenant by that contract and eviction protection applied.

In contrast, due to how agreements with hotels are generally written, Westminster CC v Clarke (1992) might apply: If the contact specified that the hotel does have unlimited access (which is typical) and that reassignments of rooms (like, another guest in the room) might apply, then there is no tenancy.

Could Bob be a tenant?

For Bob to be a tenant under the E&W interpretation (following the pattern established by Street & Brillouet), the facts must be such, that several things must be true:

  • Exclusive possession: No services are offered at all beyond the room. For example, there can't be any shared facilities with the rest of the hotel that Bob has access to, and services such as room cleaning or fresh towels or laundry are not offered either. Not using them is not enough, they can't be offered at all. (both Street, Brillout)
    • If in exclusive Possession, Bob still isn't a tenant if he is what Street calls a service occupier. That's an employee who is given a place to sleep in to perform his duties to the employer, like a Butler or Maid. (Street)
    • Bob is also not an owner in fee simple, trespasser or mortgagee in possession, or an object of charity - for which all other rules apply. (Street)

In the alternative, one fact makes them automatically one:

  • There was a contract that in its form stipulates they are a Tenant (Mehta v RBS)
  • 1
    Did Bob check in before or after 1997? If after, then Brillouet may not be applicable caselaw as some of the JFGI results may be out date.
    – user35069
    Sep 4, 2022 at 8:18
  • 1
    @Rick Even under Street v Mountford he's not a tenant because the Hotel offers Room Service.
    – Trish
    Sep 4, 2022 at 8:27
  • 1
    Does it? A "kitchenette" isn't the same as room service in E&W
    – user35069
    Sep 4, 2022 at 8:47
  • @Rick Perhaps the hotel offers complimentary cleaning service, - From OP. This is also called room service at times.
    – Trish
    Sep 4, 2022 at 8:49
  • The room cleaning service is decidedly optional which means that Bob under the factual arrangement has the choice to decline it, to keep the cleaners out, implying that he in fact has exclusive possession. But we may just as easily if this is too complicated suppose that the hotel offers no cleaning service. We may also assume that he does not eat breakfast in the hotel dining restaurant, or alternatively that it does not have any restaurant. Sep 4, 2022 at 12:03

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