When Are Hotels Liable for Lost Umbrellas?

Hotel owners and managers are exposed to a perhaps greater degree of liability, simply because of the type of service they provide. Like other businesses, they invite guests on to their property and, as a result, can be held responsible for injuries caused by poorly maintained floors, improperly lit hallways, and other dangerous situations fueled by negligence. lost found

Hotels are also challenged with lost, mislaid, and abandoned property. As a service provider in the hospitality industry, hotel owners and managers are more likely to encounter these challenges because their customers arrive with suitcases full of personal possessions, make themselves at home for days at a time, and typically enter a “vacation mindset” in which lack of focus and forgetfulness are common. https://www.wikihow.com/Quickly-Find-a-Misplaced-Object

Lost Items, Liability, and Umbrella Stands

There are many ways hotels can limit their exposure to lost, mislaid, or abandoned items. First, it helps to understand how each is different. In the book Hospitality Law: Managing Legal Issues in the Hospitality Industry, Stephen C. Barth explains the distinctions that make each type of property different from one another:

Mislaid: Refers to property that has been intentionally placed somewhere by the owner, but the owner soon thereafter forgets where he or she placed it. In this scenario, the property owner is liable for the property, must make a reasonable effort to protect it, and he/she must return it to the original owner.

Lost: In this case, the property was not intentionally placed somewhere by the owner. Instead, the owner simply forgets where he or she placed it. The Finder of lost property is allowed to keep it by law until the owner comes to reclaim it. For this reason, employees who find lost property must give it to the hotel owner to possess in case the rightful owner returns. Such is his or her responsibility as the owner of the hotel/property on which the lost item was recovered.

Abandoned: In the final case, “abandoned” property are items that have been deliberately left behind with no intention of future recovery. By law, hotel owners are not liable for abandoned property. Because it is difficult to tell whether items are abandoned, lost, or mislaid, however, it is recommended that recovered items be treated as “lost” in case the owner returns to claim them in the future. Taking this safe approach helps to minimize liability.

Umbrella Stands, or Automatic Wrappers?

There are a few ways in which hotel property owners can limit their exposure to liability for lost or mislaid items. These include:

Posting visible and legible signs stating that the hotel is not responsible for lost or misplaced items. Most commonly, these signs are placed at bars, coat checks, and other areas where guests typically leave items.

Posting visible and legible signs that remind guests to check for their belongings.

Review the concepts of lost, mislaid, abandoned property and liability with employees to ensure they understand how damages can occur.

Establish a lost and found. Have employees turn all items in when recovered. Make sure the lost and found is located in a locked area so all recovered items remain in the possession of the hotel.

Choose wet umbrella bag stands over umbrella cans. Umbrella cans require guests to leave umbrellas at the entryway, which presents the possibility of theft. Umbrella bag stands allow guests to wrap the umbrella and keep it with them, making it more likely that they will maintain possession over it.