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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 73942
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor
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I operate hotels and would like a legal opinion on charging

Customer Question

Hi there. I operate hotels and would like a legal opinion on charging guests a penalty for smoking in the rooms.
JA: Where are you? It matters because laws vary by location.
Customer: England, United Kingdom
JA: What steps have you taken so far?
Customer: i have not taken any steps, apart from displaying no smoking signs in the rooms and entrances
JA: Is there anything else the Lawyer should know before I connect you? Rest assured that they'll be able to help you.
Customer: no that’s fine thank you
Submitted: 19 days ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 19 days ago.

Hello, I’m Ben. It’s my pleasure to assist you today. I may also ask for some preliminary information to help me determine the legal position.

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 19 days ago.

Is this charge currently in place or are you wanting to do this?

Customer: replied 19 days ago.
No it’s not currently in place. I am displaying no smoking signs through out the properties however people don’t seem to take much notice. So I thought that by introducing a penalty people might start to take more notice.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 19 days ago.

OK I understand and thank you for providing this information. Please do not worry and leave it with me for now; I will get back to you with my answer as soon as I can which will be at some point today. The system will notify you when this happens. Please do not reply in the meantime as this may unnecessarily delay my response. Many thanks.

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 19 days ago.

Many thanks for your patience, I am pleased to be able to continue assisting with your query now. Whilst you can charge guests for smoking on the premises, you need to be careful to ensure that this is not a disproportionate charge that you will simply make a profit from, rather that it is used for genuine cleaning costs to deal with the smoking that has taken place. Therefore, any charges you have to pay to get the room cleaned, to remove odours, etc you can charge to the customer as part of this ‘penalty’. What you should avoid is to add extra charges on top of that which are not going to be used for anything specific and you keeping them as a profit – that is what can make this a penalty clause which is unenforceable in law.

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 19 days ago.

Hopefully, I have answered your query in a way that is simple and easy to understand. If anything remains unclear, I will be more than happy to clarify it for you. In the meantime, thank you once again for using our services.

Customer: replied 19 days ago.
Thank you for your response. That’s good to hear. So how can I make the charge enforceable? Can I simply display a notice, or do customers need to be made aware of this when they place their booking, in the terms and conditions etc?
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 19 days ago.

Hello, thank you for your further queries, I will be happy to answer these. You should gave is part of the terms ad conditions and back it up with prominent notices on site, such as in the rooms

Customer: replied 19 days ago.
Okay that’s good to hear. Thanks for your help.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 19 days ago.

You are welcome