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Politics

NC Bill Would Exclude Some Hotel Guests From Tenant Protections

Motel 6, 110 W. North Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21201
Eli Pousson
/
Flickr
Under current North Carolina law, anyone using a hotel as their primary residence is protected by state tenancy laws, and hotels would have to go to court to evict them. A bill would change some of that.

A bill moving through the North Carolina state Senate would prevent hotel guests from receiving tenant protections until they've lived at the hotel for at least 90 days.

Under current state law, anyone using a hotel as their primary residence is protected by state tenancy laws, and hotels would have to go to court to evict them.

But some hotel owners say that's making it difficult to remove guests who are causing problems. For instance, Harshal Majmudar of the Econo Lodge in west Charlotte said he called police a few weeks ago when a guest was causing a disturbance, but police wouldn't remove the man.

"He was only here for seven nights, and they said now he's a tenant," Majmudar said. "And seven days is not a tenant."

He said the state collects occupancy tax on guests during their first 90 days, and he thinks it makes sense to consider them a tenant after that point.

Opponents of the bill include some tenant advocates and Democratic lawmakers, among them state Sen. Jeff Jackson, of Charlotte, who's also running for the U.S. Senate. Jackson said people living in hotels with nowhere else to go need those protections, and hotels have other ways to remove badly behaved guests.

"We already have summary ejectments and special legal procedures," Jackson said. "If there are real bad actors in hotels and we need to get them out, there's a legal path for this."

He's also concerned that if tenant protections are scaled back in hotels, more people could end up homeless.

Republican state Rep. John Bradford, of Cornelius, is one of the bill's primary sponsors. The bill has passed the state House and two Senate committees.

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