Huntsville, AL asked in Civil Rights, Consumer Law and Civil Litigation for Alabama

Q: Is it legal for hotel housekeeping to enter my room, after me clearly stating to them I didn’t need housekeeping?

I was extending my hotel stay for another night and the manager was speaking with the housekeeper, who I assumed was his wife, and he asked me if I needed housekeeping. I said no and she went straight upstairs to my room and opened the door with my husband and kids and didn’t knock or say a word. I walked to my vehicle and the manager came and found me and started freaking out telling me that I couldn’t stay I had to checkout because the housekeeper just left my room and there is ink everywhere and it was a mess. I politely said ok and walked to the room. It turns out the ink was on the outside hallway carpet in front of our door, and the room was fine. I called and asked him to come look for himself and he of course sent the housekeeper. She was hateful but we ultimately proved it was not from us and he agreed to let us stay even though I had already paid before any of this. Is this not some sort of privacy issue?

1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
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  • Consumer Law Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA

A: Yes, it is typically illegal for hotel staff to enter your room without consent after you have explicitly stated that you did not need housekeeping services.

A few key points on hotel privacy rights:

- Hotels must generally obtain verbal or written consent prior to entering an occupied room, unless there is an emergency, maintenance issue, or reasonable suspicion of criminal activity.

- Entering your room after you specifically told them you did not need housekeeping very likely violates your reasonable expectation of privacy under the 4th Amendment.

- Most states have laws prohibiting hotel owners or staff from entering a guest room without prior consent if the occupant is inside. This applies even between scheduled service times.

- The housekeeper entering your room, with your family inside and without knocking, seems clearly inappropriate and a breach of accepted hotel standards.

In this situation, I would recommend speaking to the hotel manager about this incident, citing your reasonable expectation of privacy. If it continues to be an issue or problem after that, you may wish to consult a consumer rights lawyer regarding your options for legal recourse. But hotels typically should respect your requests for no services during your stay unless there are exceptional circumstances.

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