Dead beat guest - locked him out and am now stuck with his luggage waiting for paymet of ballance - now what.

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LA Hostel

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OK - this is my own fault - had this very agreeable gent staying, got a new job in Los Angeles etc.. paying me on Friday.
Well, one week to two weeks, then politely asked him to find another place to stay, and to please come back and pick up his stuff when he is ready to pay me.
So, now I have his luggage waiting to be "bailed out" - the InnKeeper rules suggest I can hold it, but now what...?
Do I give him 30 days notice of intend to sell the stuff.?
Do I file a Police report? (and what do I say in the report?)
HELP. :)
 

Morticia

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I'm guessing you don't take credit card numbers in order to make a reservation? Or ask for payment (at least partial) in advance?
And you have a way to contact this guest in re telling him his belongings are up for sale? Are they worth what he owes? If not, that's just punitive.
And you can tell the police where to find him if you do file a report?
You could sue him in small claims court. File a theft of services report, which is a felony in some states.
Is that 'LA' as in Louisiana or Los Angeles? Different laws in different places.
 

Copperhead

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You need to file a police report. They can tell you what the law is in your area but in some areas it can be a felony to run out on a hotel bill. (Randy Quaid situations come to mind.)
Sounds like you were trying to be a nice guy and give a guy a break but have ended up with a sour taste. Don't know how long you have been in business, but it is very important to have a credit card on file or take a deposit so you have something.
Take a look at some of our past topics on deposts & payments.
 

LA Hostel

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Copperhead & Morticia Thank you
Im in Los Angeles CA.
I did have a card on file, it was good for the first week. I do get card and valid picture ID from all arrivals. We normally charges the complete stay before check-in and prepay each additional week over 7 days. But was trying to be nice in his situation. (teaches me something I guess)
I have TEXT contact with the gentleman (loosely applied term).
Seems like I better give the PD a call this morning before going any further.
Thank you so much for the replies.
.
 

JBloggs

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In our state it is a felony to not pay for lodging. File a report. You gave him the oppty to pay.
I hope you get your $ out of this fella.
(PS Welcome to the Forum!)
 

Morticia

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Copperhead & Morticia Thank you
Im in Los Angeles CA.
I did have a card on file, it was good for the first week. I do get card and valid picture ID from all arrivals. We normally charges the complete stay before check-in and prepay each additional week over 7 days. But was trying to be nice in his situation. (teaches me something I guess)
I have TEXT contact with the gentleman (loosely applied term).
Seems like I better give the PD a call this morning before going any further.
Thank you so much for the replies.
..
So you don't have the card number anymore? If you do, just charge it. If you don't, there's another lesson...hang on to the card number until the guests is good and truly gone!
 

LA Hostel

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UPDATE.
While I was out this morning the guy visited with two officers. The person who were there told me the guy apears to believe he should get his stuff. I called the police and explained, they feel that it is basically a civil issue.
Apearently the guy plans to return with a couple of officers this week.
So, Im figuring I need to spend some money on actual sound advice, can anyone recomend a hospitality attorney.? (I realize this is going to cost me far more than this is worth, but I figure its a learning experience and something I just gotta do, I don't really have the "roll over and let it go" gene in my body)
Bo
 

MTLLodge

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Good luck Bo and thanks for letting us learn from your experience.
 

Morticia

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UPDATE.
While I was out this morning the guy visited with two officers. The person who were there told me the guy apears to believe he should get his stuff. I called the police and explained, they feel that it is basically a civil issue.
Apearently the guy plans to return with a couple of officers this week.
So, Im figuring I need to spend some money on actual sound advice, can anyone recomend a hospitality attorney.? (I realize this is going to cost me far more than this is worth, but I figure its a learning experience and something I just gotta do, I don't really have the "roll over and let it go" gene in my body)
Bo.
Sorry I can't help out with anything other than a story...my BIL paid a guy to store his stuff in the guy's basement, basically everything he had, including all of his paperwork, furniture, clothing, etc. (Yes, the payments were made, I wrote the checks for him while he was away.) Guy decided BIL had not paid ENOUGH, once he found out family was writing check and not BIL. Blackmailed BIL for more money. BIL also does not have the 'roll over and play dead' gene, did not pay so guy sold ALL of BIL's possessions including his car. My guess is he found the title to the car in BIL's stuff, and just signed it himself. BIL also showed up with officers to claim his property. No dice. BIL took guy to court, lost. Same guy also had his own parents thrown out of their own house based on some 'paperwork' he produced showing they had given him the house.
Hot place in hell for that guy.
Basically saying that possession is worth more than ownership.
 

JBloggs

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Story time:
We had our home in the mountains for a year as a rental property after Dad broke his back and was laid up after surgery and we had to move back to San Diego.
The renter was knocked off, yes killed. The FBI were called in later on...
He used our property in the mountains to grow pot and anything else illegal he could get away with, we believe he worked for the Mafia in the area. This was in Julian, I know a few know where that is, it is now B&B's and Apple Festivals in the Cuyamacas (after being burned up two times in the last 10 years).
We went up and removed his stuff and I found two huge bags of marijuana seeds, which I didn't know what they were of course. That and all his other belongings went home to San Diego with us. He never paid his rent so we took everything back home. Once in SD I flushed these giant bags of seeds down the toilet. I was about 9. My sister told me what they were.
It was not long after that we saw in the news that there was a marijuana farm growing along the banks of the San Diego river which runs through Mission Valley (which is a river valley) and also home to Qualcomm Stadium which used to house the Padres and Charger's. I never lived there when it became Qualcomm.
This river actually starts up near Julian and ends in the Pacific Ocean near Mission Bay
We never understood this, as there was a water treatment plant somewhere...unless it happened during one of the many times this valley flooded and the treatment plant got messed up. I still think there was a connection to my flushing of those seeds... My parents do not even know this story.
 

Copperhead

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UPDATE.
While I was out this morning the guy visited with two officers. The person who were there told me the guy apears to believe he should get his stuff. I called the police and explained, they feel that it is basically a civil issue.
Apearently the guy plans to return with a couple of officers this week.
So, Im figuring I need to spend some money on actual sound advice, can anyone recomend a hospitality attorney.? (I realize this is going to cost me far more than this is worth, but I figure its a learning experience and something I just gotta do, I don't really have the "roll over and let it go" gene in my body)
Bo.
Bo, do you have a Justice of the Peace in your area? That may be a good place to start. You could see what they have to say about this and if it falls under their jurisdiction. (That usually depends on the amount owed.) Again, I would contact the police department as well. As mentioned by me and a couple others, skipping out on a hotel bill can be considered a felony. If he plans on returning with officers, I would have a warrent for his arrest in had - wouldn't that be handy that the officers he brought would turn and arrest HIM!!!
Also, another story or wise note:
My DH's father use to own/manage a Storage facility in GA, if someone did not pay their rent, he had the authority to place a new lock on the unit. There was an amount of time (month or 2) that the person had in order to come up with the amount owed (plus interest) and after that amount of time he was able to sell the contents of the unit to recoup what was owed.
- I do not know if in this case it is mentioned in the contract or what. Just seems to blend in to your issue to an extent.
Check out these two options, which would be free or low in cost, before making your way to an attorney that will most likely cost you more in the long run than what you will get out of this low life.
 

white pine

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Story time:
We had our home in the mountains for a year as a rental property after Dad broke his back and was laid up after surgery and we had to move back to San Diego.
The renter was knocked off, yes killed. The FBI were called in later on...
He used our property in the mountains to grow pot and anything else illegal he could get away with, we believe he worked for the Mafia in the area. This was in Julian, I know a few know where that is, it is now B&B's and Apple Festivals in the Cuyamacas (after being burned up two times in the last 10 years).
We went up and removed his stuff and I found two huge bags of marijuana seeds, which I didn't know what they were of course. That and all his other belongings went home to San Diego with us. He never paid his rent so we took everything back home. Once in SD I flushed these giant bags of seeds down the toilet. I was about 9. My sister told me what they were.
It was not long after that we saw in the news that there was a marijuana farm growing along the banks of the San Diego river which runs through Mission Valley (which is a river valley) and also home to Qualcomm Stadium which used to house the Padres and Charger's. I never lived there when it became Qualcomm.
This river actually starts up near Julian and ends in the Pacific Ocean near Mission Bay
We never understood this, as there was a water treatment plant somewhere...unless it happened during one of the many times this valley flooded and the treatment plant got messed up. I still think there was a connection to my flushing of those seeds... My parents do not even know this story..
Joey your stories are too much!! Seriously, THANKS! I really needed a laugh! Please write a book, I will buy it!
 

LA Hostel

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Well, apearently the "perp" came by with two officers while I was out yesterday, strangely of all people he demanded to speak to the cleaning lady, she is thai and just say, "Im sorry must wait for Bo", he did not want her to call me on the phone, so for sure the guy is strange.
More importantly the attorney said "this is basic storage" you are perfectly ok to prevent the guy with a unpaid bill from accessing the room and collecting what might be in the room.
He also said to inform the officers should the guy return that the items are being held because of the debt owed, and that these will be released promptly upon reciept of payment. He said "under CA law you are not stealing the items but holding as is your right, until the bill is fully cleared and paid for" a this point the polica will be unable to cleain that a theft is taking place as you are acting under California law.
- Well that is what he said... for now Im standing my ground and figure the ding-dong will return with some officers again and I will get a test of how they like the presentation at that time.
Bo
 

JBloggs

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And Bo, what did you find out about him running out on his bill? In this state it is a felony to run out on a lodging bill, what did they say in CA?
 

Copperhead

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Bo here is the Calif. law regarding defrauding an inn keeper (does cover many other issues as well) CA Penal Code Section 537 http://law.onecle.com/california/penal/537.html
You need to file a police report.
In doing my 10 minute research, I found that he is most likely using the DCA Tenant information to gain police assistance (just my opinion). But as I understand it, again only 10 min. here, it would not hold up if there is an unpaid bill and in short term rental.
Again, you need to file a police report.
 

seashanty

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all this back and forth with him and with police.
is he working?
have you said, 'are you here to pay your bill?' when does he say he will pay YOU?
i honestly would not want to hold onto anyone's things. is he then going to accuse you of not giving everything back? or that something is damaged? is it valuable stuff? i'd really want him out of my hair and his things out of my place.
 

LA Hostel

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Copperhead,
Back from filing a Police Report - the officer titled it "report of - defrauding an innkeeper" - the offcer said I was comfortably within the law.
Seashanty, Good points - the guy IS working for CNN in Los Angeles and very well paid (supposedly) Actually I agree entirely with you, had no ambitions of getting to this point, He promissed to show up and pay his bill in a few days, so I held onto the stuff, then almost 30 days later he showed up with two officers to demand his belongings. and he tried to intimidate my housekeeper, Im a bit short-fused native Danish viking and did not think that was really fun. So the stupid thing is that having dragged the PD down here, he now got him self a police record for lousy $600ish. (and I learned how to file a police report on this subject and that the supervising officer is quite cool and probably would be a great guy to have a cold one with at the nearest irish pub)
In the process I applogized to the office for taking his time on this, as I am completely aware those guys have much more serious issues to deal with on any average day.
Interestingly, running out on the bill is punishable with prison or a fine.
Since Im new at this, I figure we will play it out a bit further to see how this plays. (in my costody is a bag of dirty underwear, I hope to be relived of this shortly)
Bo
 
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