I was reading the policies of two hotels, one in California and one in Seattle. I was surprised to read that hotel customers must check out after 13 days at the hotel in Seattle and 4 weeks at the Californian hotel. Is that limit set at the state level? Or does each hotel set their own limit? The 13-day limit sounded surprisingly low to me, I don't recall seeing this any other country, which makes me wonder why such a low limit was set.

Note: after the mandatory checkout, the 2 hotels require the customer to stay at a different place for at least 2 (Seattle) or 3 (California) days.

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    I know the Wynn in Las Vegas doesn’t allow more than something like 14 or 15 days (at least when you book online). No idea if it’s a hotel policy or comes from city, county or state.
    – jcaron
    Commented Sep 2, 2021 at 20:32
  • Why name the city in WA, but not in CA? Commented Sep 3, 2021 at 17:32
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    @AzorAhai-him- to ensure WA isn't confused with Washington DC. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/… says Seattleite is an adjective. Commented Sep 3, 2021 at 17:37
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    I lived in Seattle for 24 years, that's not how it's used. Commented Sep 3, 2021 at 17:39
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    @Andy, I've also stayed in a California hotel longer than 30 days. A distinction between hotels is made in Cal. Civ. Code § 1940(b). Hotels offering enough services to qualify for the 1940(b)(2) exception don't need to worry about the 30 days, only those wanting to qualify for the 1940(b)(1) exception do (the 30 days comes from the Revenue and Taxation Code).
    – user38879
    Commented Sep 4, 2021 at 17:28

2 Answers 2


This appears to be related to the COVID eviction moratorium:

[I]t is critical to protect tenants and residents of traditional dwellings from homelessness, as well as those who have lawfully occupied or resided in less traditional dwelling situations for 14 days or more, whether or not documented in a lease, including but not limited to roommates who share a home; long-term care facilities; transient housing in hotels and motels; “Airbnbs”; motor homes; RVs; and camping areas ...

As to why this measure was taken in Seattle but not in California, I can only speculate. Seattle has experienced a higher-than-average level of homelessness over the past several years, in no small part due to soaring real estate prices. It may be that a significant number of people in Seattle rely on cheap hotel/motel stays for temporary shelter when they lose their homes (due to rent increases, eviction, condo conversions, etc.), and it was felt that evicting such people would be bad for public health. But again, this is just speculation on my part.

It appears that in "normal" times in Washington State, the line between "transient accommodations" such as hotels and actual full-on rentals (with the additional protections so implied) is 30 days, not 14. See WACS 246-360-001, which defines transient accommodations as any facility offering stays to guests for less than 30 days.

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    Excellent find! Explains the 13 day in Seattle perfectly.
    – JonathanReez
    Commented Sep 2, 2021 at 20:40
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    @usr-local-ΕΨΗΕΛΩΝ: The first sentence says "two hotels, one in California and one in Seattle". I took that to mean that Frank was planning to spend some time in each place. Commented Sep 3, 2021 at 11:37
  • The question was amended in the meantime. Ok, it was an OP's typo Commented Sep 3, 2021 at 11:58
  • Can somebody having enough money to pay for a hotel be considered as homeless? Commented Sep 4, 2021 at 15:04
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    @LeosLiterak: I can easily imagine that given the lack of affordable housing in (say) Seattle, a low-income person could be unable to immediately find an apartment for which they could afford the required deposits & fees to secure a conventional lease (first & last month's rent, security deposit, etc.) In such circumstances, a cheap motel in a run-down part of town might be a viable option. It's admittedly not a great option, but it'd be better than being out on the street. Commented Sep 4, 2021 at 15:23

Because hotels are in the short-term rentals business. If they let you stay too long, they risk turning into a landlord as some states will consider you to be a tenant after only 30 days. Becoming a tenant gives you numerous additional rights so the hotels are restricting the maximum duration of stay. For California see Cal. Civ. Code § 1940.1

Section 1940.1 - Requiring occupant of residential hotel to move or check out and reregister to maintain transient occupancy status

(a) No person may require an occupant of a residential hotel, as defined in Section 50519 of the Health and Safety Code, to move, or to check out and reregister, before the expiration of 30 days occupancy if a purpose is to have that occupant maintain transient occupancy status pursuant to paragraph (1) of subdivision (b) of Section 1940. Evidence that an occupant was required to check out and reregister shall create a rebuttable presumption, which shall affect solely the burden of producing evidence, of the purpose referred to in this subdivision.

From this we learn that:

  1. If you stay in the hotel for more than 30 days, you gain tenant rights which makes it difficult to evict you on a short notice. As such it is prudent for hotels in California and other states with a 30-day landlord cutoff to have a limit under 30 days.
  2. If you let someone check-in for 30 days, check out and then check-in again, you risk being accused of trying to be a landlord without providing proper rights to your tenants. Hence hotels are requiring you spend a few nights elsewhere before coming back, making it absolutely clear that no landlord-tenant relationship exists between you two.

During the pandemic these laws were made even more restrictive, which is why in Seattle the limit is under 14 days as outlined in the other answer.

  • "Evidence that an occupant was required to check out and reregister shall create a rebuttable presumption". Very interesting, nice find. something I forgot to write my questions is that the 2 hotels I mentioned require the customer to go away for 2 (Seattle) or 3 (California) days, which seems to be unnecessary given what you found (but likely prudent in case of some overzealous prosecution). Commented Sep 2, 2021 at 20:37
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    @FranckDernoncourt I read it the opposite way, if you show that you had to check out and re-register then the court will assume that the landlord is guilty unless they can come up with some specific evidence showing otherwise. So telling you that you can't stay, you have to go somewhere else, seems pretty important! Commented Sep 3, 2021 at 14:50
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    @AzorAhai-him- updated
    – JonathanReez
    Commented Sep 3, 2021 at 17:54
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    In addition: some states place certain obligations on landlords that they don't place on hotels, and hotels often can't meet those rules (units must have a kitchen, fire code is different, etc). Transitioning into a landlord-tenant relationship also makes tax more complicated since states generally have a special tax for hotels, and the hotel's business insurance may not cover them at all if they suddenly become a landlord. There's a lot of little things that become very problematic, so hotels make sure you leave before that happens. That's why "Extended stay" hotels are set up differently.
    – bta
    Commented Sep 3, 2021 at 19:44
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    As @bta says - hotels are treated differently than (even short-term) apartments and other rentals w.r.t. licenses, zoning, taxes, insurance, building codes, and many many other things.
    – davidbak
    Commented Sep 3, 2021 at 22:40

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