Colorado Revised Statutes § 38-12-511 (2020), "(d) Transient occupancy in a hotel or motel that lasts less than thirty days;"

In Colorado how is transient occupancy determined? If a hotel guest is forced to move rooms every 28 days do they remain a transient occupant, or does them occupying the same hotel but different rooms for longer than 30 days make them a non-transient occupant?

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No cases have interpreted that section of the statute since it took effect on September 1, 2008 more than fourteen years ago. A court presented with the question would resolve it as a matter of first impression. There are also no state regulations further defining this exclusion of which I am aware.

There has been some litigation regarding similar local laws, such as a Greenwood Village, Colorado ordinance related to hotel/motel v. rental property status, but I'm not sure that it has generated any binding published appellate decision precedents, and that wouldn't be controlling. Precedents from litigation over that similar municipal ordinance could be distinguished in a variety of ways.

A reading in which "occupying the same hotel but different rooms for longer than 30 days make them a non-transient occupant" which would be the more protective of the occupant and would reflect the lack of mention of particular rooms, as opposed to particular motels or hotels in the statute, would seem like the more plausible reading. But isn't so perfectly clear that a lawyer couldn't legitimately argue for a different interpretation.

The fact that the statute does not apply to arrangements like this if they are "created to avoid" the application of the statute also suggests that a court would be hostile towards a hotel/motel owner who attempted to avoid the application of the statute by moving occupants from room to room every month.

While I am aware of particular hotels and motels in Colorado where this could be an issue that needs to be resolved (particularly extended stay motels, and certain ordinary motels on U.S. Highway 40 and along current major highways that tend of have long term residents), it is also clearly an edge case that excludes the vast majority of ordinary hotel and motel customers from Colorado's warranty of habitability protections, and that also clearly protects at a minimum, hotel/motel residents that have stayed in a single room for at least 30 days.

Often, hotels and motels would be subject to additional or different local ordinance and common law obligations that would be more protective of a consumer than Colorado's rather weak warranty of habitability protections under this statute (at common law, hotel operators owed extremely strong duties to treat their customers with the utmost care and hospitality). But again, there isn't a lot of case law one way or the other that is on point.

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