Last updated 11/7/2019
Hotel guests and rental property tenants are treated very differently under the law. The law affords tenants many rights that are typically not afforded to hotel guests, in part because a guest's stay in a hotel is usually much shorter than a tenant's stay in a rental.
That is, unless you are talking about an extended stay hotel. Guests of extended stay hotels, also known as residential hotels, can stay for weeks, months, or even years. This can be just as long, if not longer, than a tenant's leasehold.
Extended stay hotels are often used by people in a location for work for an extended period, families in transition and in need of a place to stay, or anyone else who needs temporary housing. Some people simply choose to live in extended stay hotels because of the convenience of having a daily maid service or a short commute to work.
To accommodate these needs and more, there are thousands of extended stay hotel properties throughout the country. But one thing many people don't realize when they check in at residential hotels is that they may not have the same rights as "transient occupants" that they would have if leasing a property as a tenant.
When hotel guests stay long enough, they may obtain tenancy rights. One of the primary tenant rights that could apply to hotel guests is the right to a formal eviction proceeding if the property owner wishes to remove the guest from the property.
State law defines when a hotel guest becomes recognized as a tenant under the law. Many states' laws on this issue are vague, but the main determining factor is the length of continuous stay.
For example, in California, a hotel guest automatically becomes a tenant after staying at a hotel for more than 30 consecutive days. However, in New York and many other states, a hotel guest does not become a tenant after 30 days if it's evident that they have another residence and their stay was not intended to be permanent.
If you have been residing in a hotel for an extended period and the management asks you to leave without providing notice as required by your state's tenancy laws, it is possible that you have tenant rights that are being violated. A local landlord-tenant law attorney can provide you with advice on what steps to take to protect your interests.