People living at extended-stay hotels won protection from informal, on-the-spot eviction this week, when the Georgia Court of Appeals ruled they should legally be recognized as residents, not guests, and, thus, are covered by landlord-tenant law.

The March 7 decision found that Efficiency Lodge in south DeKalb County illegally kicked out three tenants in 2020 who had fallen behind on rent, because the hotel was actually their landlord, as first reported by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Atlanta Legal Aid Society attorney Lindsey Siegel, who represented the former tenants, told Al ilmu that, as rent and home prices spike, extended-stay hotels offer much-needed housing for low-income people. Consequently, the ruling  has far-reaching implications.

“This ruling is not just about Efficiency Lodge,” Siegal said, adding that there are nearly 26,000 extended-stay units in the five-county metro Atlanta area alone. “It applies to all extended-stay hotels in Georgia. These are businesses that profit by renting permanent and semi-permanent housing to the lowest income families.”

Siegel successfully argued that her clients and other tenants make extended-stay hotels their permanent homes by moving in their belongings, receiving mail, and having their kids picked up by the school bus, among other actions.

Efficiency Lodge’s legal team, led by former Georgia Gov. Roy Barnes — whose brother Ray Barnes owns the hotel chain — had argued that its renters entered into an innkeeper-guest agreement, making them ineligible for formal tenant protections. 

But Seigel pointed to a Georgia law that requires innkeepers to pay a hotel occupancy tax only for stays shorter than 90 days. Her clients had resided at Efficiency Lodge for far longer.

DeKalb County Superior Court Judge Stacey Hydrick agreed with Atlanta Legal Aid in a January 2021 ruling. Barnes’ client appealed, contending that it shouldn’t matter whether a hotel stay is taxed to be considered a hotel stay.

“Just the fact that a potato that’s bought at the grocery store is not subject to tax does not mean it’s not a potato,” Barnes argued before the Court of Appeals in August. Barnes did not respond to requests for comment, but he told the AJC that Efficiency Lodge will file an appeal with the Georgia Supreme Court.

Siegel said she’s confident the Supreme Court will uphold the appellate ruling. “The Court of Appeals thoroughly analyzed every argument Efficiency Lodge made and found that it is a landlord in relation to our clients,” she said.

That would mean people who make extended-stay hotels their homes will be covered by landlord-tenant laws like any other renter — and if Efficiency Lodge or another extended-stay hotel wanted to kick someone out for nonpayment of rent, they’d need to go through a formal eviction-filing process.

If the Supreme Court agrees with the lower courts, Siegal anticipates a trial to determine the damages due her clients from Efficiency Lodge’s now unlawful evictions.

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30 Comments

  1. We are having a similar issue, new owners came in telling people they don't care how long they have been here they are not residents, I have been there 5 years. they raised the fees $85 a week as soon as they got there. They have been putting people out left and right this last week

    1. Economy Hotel on Glenfair Rd and Chandler Rd in Decatur Georgia continues to disregard the law...we should all file a class action lawsuit

    2. And they still doing it, I had a stroke and now I have no income the state of Georgia Is taking to long with my disability and ssi/ssa benefits and my job fired me because I had a stroke and I couldn't come back to work when they wanted me to so they stop my medical and short-term disability that I had with them and everything else I signed up for gone, and now efficiency lodge in Fairburn ga is putting me out ,no help from the city so I'm going be homeless and handicap living on the street, no opening in nursing home or no help to help you pay your rent, I don't know what to do

  2. I'm facing the same problem here at the ecomony inn in Rome ga and I was the housekeeping untill mr.patel told me he needed the laundry room key and fired me for no unknown reason and was still charging me full price on my room and I would work from 11am until sometimes 5am the next morning and only be paid $100 a week now that I can't pay for my room he verbal gave me until August 15 to either catch my rent up or I have to leave my motel room and I have been here for a year and 2 months whom do I contact to get information on how to have it stopped bc tomorrow is the verbal eviction process

    1. You can calculate the hours you worked from the day you started until your last day. Then multiply that by how much the pay agreement was per hour or by the Georgia minimum wage amount which is still 7.35 an hour. Also include how many days you worked a week. Anything over the 40 hrs is time and a half by law. Now once you have that total, you have to deduct the 100.00 a week he did pay you. Whatever that balance is you can take him to small claims court if it's below 10,000.00 that's owed to you, if it's more you have to file it with the state court. You can also file a claim with the Georgia Department of Labor for lost wages.

  3. I'm in a similar situation. I've lived at Ms. Patels motel almost 3 yrs. & Worked housekeeping, some maintenance, ran the business whenever she left to get supplies.
    She decided to me I've closer to her only daughter and purchased a new motel in MN and moved. I was made manager. I would make $1500/month and move into the owners apartment rent freeoff the office. That changed into being the guest house in back.
    Two weeks into my taking the reigns I contacted a nasty infection in my leg that caused blood clots which could've cost me my leg. Doctors put me on a week of bedrest. I was not to be in my leg unless I need restroom facilities. Ms. Patel was well informed and ok with how I managed the situation...I thought. A day or 2 later. She sent me A TEXT stating, “We don't need you anymore. You can't work.”
    “Because of your leg.” In message #2. She is refusing my pay so I am refusing to leave. I've had my laundry access denied, my cell phone stolen out the mail, and my cable cut to my television. A hand written 3 day eviction. All of which is harassment as I understand.
    Now this was February

  4. Even tho we live at the efficiency Lodge in Douglasville and have been for 4 Years police can still tell us to leave without Eviction Process. So what are our rights really?

    1. Here for the same question because we’ve been told we have 24 by the Gwinnett county police dept. and this is our home, we have nowhere else to go. Shelters are packed ALWAYS! Dept of Community Affairs and Georgia “law” enforcement seem to be failing MANY families daily

  5. I've been living in the extended stay hotel in Orlando since August 6 paying $2,484 a month, since October I've been getting harassed and discriminated by management, and today the manager told me he is not extending my stay I stayed for what reason he didn't reply I said can I have something in writing he stayed no, I have videos of all the harassment I've been experiencing, I have two kids and no where to go and I'm getting kicked out for no reason.

  6. In extended stay they each have a folio and in this the managers and or staff can go into ur folio and change the rate and change the amount owed at any time even after time has passed and u have already paid the so called amount u thought was balance. They can then go into ur acct or folio as they call it and change the rate of the per night cost and this can create a larger amount due. They have any of the staff able to go into ur folio and change any rate that u thought u were paying to a very much larger rate per day and this creates a huge balance due and they try and collect this but it only will be effective if they actually didn’t know the customer has a copy of the folio of their entire stay which will be proper proof as to the illegal tampering of customer info and because it creates anything involving monetary loss or gain it makes every single person who tampered with it liable for criminal prosecution If u inform ur hotel that u want a print out of ur entire stay they are required to give that to you.

    1. That is not true for Extended Stay of America..Gsr and managers have no access to change guest rates,only central reservations has access to guest account..they can't issue discounts either. People use this thirty day resident,mess, to just stop paying at thirty days and live free until they are evicted..it's malicious and the hotel losses tremendously..Extending your stay is one raging
      . Staying without the intent of paying is criminal

      1. If you think ‘EVERYBODY’ is being malicious to gain free rent, you’re part of the problem in a very broken system! Gm and front desk staff do have the capability and wherewithal to change, increase or discount prices. It’s a very sick system that robs guests who are struggling or relaxing! It has been done to me, fortunately, I have family who have and did voice their outrage regarding the malice, theft and personal vendetta these extended stay motels (Hometowne Studios Chamblee Atlanta on Peachtree industrial Ct)is grossly mismanaged)The service subjected to their guests are atrocious. Unfortunately, as for me, it’s a new beginning and if I can afford any place else, my comments here would not be! My only question is: “Does CORPORATE really know the NATURE of their business that’s managed and ran by crooks”?! I’ve filed my report, so help me God another individual will not have to go through what many of us has gone or going through! The land has LAWS IS ALL I AM STATING. Thank you

    2. That's why you get recites to prove what u have been paying. That's what stopped the cops from kicking me out.

  7. New to Georgia and started at ‘Hometowne Studios’ and was appalled after three days I had to fight roaches, in and of bed, on the walls, cabinets, floors, broken appliances (food spoiled)dirty odor filled carpet, one working washer on the entire property (remaining washers been out of order since I moved in 12/22) lazy workers, not to mention on 2/26/23 the entire complex was without electricity for two hrs, leaving me in the dark to do my online course work. No apologies from the GM or upper management, price gouging, with the worse, its GM(Nikki) is very aggressive, rude, argumentative as well controlling. Her staff is spoken down to by her as if they’re robots ran my a modern day Hitler and fear is evident of her from them. Never in my 57 yrs have I seen anything like this; guests are afraid to voice their concerns in fear of being evicted, also, Front desk staff releases personal information to supporters without consent. (such as my case) When I finally had enough, I reported them to the BBB as well The Attorney General’s Office on 3/2/23 only to have Nikki ‘‘ORDER’ her front desk staff (Seth) to my room after hours (6:50pm)who in threatening manner with much aggression, informed me if ‘I’ don’t leave on 3/9/23(day of next pay period)The Chamblee police will be there to put me out along with my belongings! I’ve lived here over three months and have witnessed unethical as well as illegal actions, only to take note that Chamblee Police could care less about guests here, it’s horrible, but I don’t scare easy, if at all! This place is grossly mismanaged and ‘Nikki’ has severe behavioral health issues; confrontational, controlling, denial, argumentative and threatening to name a few. I am educated in the field of Psychology, it’s safe to assess what she’s exhibits. I went as far as to tell her the behavior she displays is of a rude nature and unbecoming of someone in a managerial position, to add insult to injury; when I asked for the number to corporate, her response was: they don’t care! Need I say more? I’ve filed claims and fully expect due diligence. I have never.

  8. Yes actually they go into ur folio and can change the rate and the credit given for their lack of providing hot water they have their “Erin” go back and reverse the credit and then manipulate it so many times that ur folio print out has 20 pages for one day due to her continuous manipulation in ur folio which she creates to create a balance due and then she tries to pretend the computer did it on its own and she has stolen thousands of dollars doing this and has trained employees to do the same to create a balance due and then they serve u pretend papers that they print out and tape to ur door with a threat of eviction if u don’t pay the manipulated amount and they also go into ur rooms without ur knowledge or approval to steal and who knows what else they do not vacuum daily even though there are animals staying here and they do not have anyone cleaning outside walkways or parkinglot and employees will verbally assault u and then go manipulate ur folio. They are commiting numerous crimes and this needs to be investigated such as the amounts that she has stolen are way past grand theft limit.

  9. Lol ...no such this a a verbal eviction process you got to slow it has to go through court ppl be scaring yall

  10. My girlfriend and I have been living in a hotel in McDonough Georgia at economy inn for a year and a half now. We have been threatened that if we can't pay then we can leave. Do I have any rights to just not be thrown out the same day that I can't pay? Meaning doesn't Mr. Patel have to go through the courts to evict me?

  11. I stayed at the Effiency lodge off flat shoal in Dekalb county since November of 22 the end of May 2023 they started charging me $80 late fee for being late one day. And I’m paying by the day! Which was $62 .. so I’m paying double for a day being late .. yea someone in that office was getting over. It’s all good god don’t like ugly
    Star Hollis and Marie (managers at effiency lodge) it’s time to expose you all.

    1. I really want a refund but I have to kids living with me . It’s just sad how the economy is these days with no help at all
      The motel to hotel program don’t work especially if you don’t make enough, I was clearly working 2 jobs. It’s hard being a single parent I just wish I can get my money back

  12. This law would only hurt the people that live at the extended stay suits. Extended stay would have to do a credit, criminal and rental background check to avoid professional tenants from taking advantage of the eviction laws.
    It usually take 6 weeks or so for an eviction to happen, so extended stay wouldn’t let anyone who has an eviction, landlord collections or bad credit stay . Extended stays are the last resort before sleeping in a car that some people have.

  13. This law wouldn't only hurt people who use extended stays as a last resort. Think about the hotels who make 4x the profit of a normal apartment. One person on here said they pay $2400 for a month of a 400 sq ft room. If you were renting an apartment, you could find a lot better for the price you are spending on a hotel that provides no amenities of a hotel. Nonetheless, most of the hotels' conditions violate federal housing regulations. Just because it is people's last resort for housing does not mean that they should be subjected to settle on less than ideal housing conditions. This law will cause problems for everyone, for the people, for the hotels wanting a quick easy profit and for the government dealing with a substantial spike in homelessness. The only way to demand change is to have it happen. Something has to bend until it breaks or it will remain the same forever. Extended Stay America is a fraud, criminal company and because they have money, they can get away with almost anything.

  14. I have been staying in the Haven H otel on Memorial Dr in Stone Mountain Georgia and we have been reporting to the office that we have been having problems with bedbugs. On April 30th 2024 I sent a email to them with a picture of the bed bug I caught asking to please replace the mattress. On May 1st as I returned home or to the Haven they were inspecting rooms. The inspector didn't properly check for bedbugs she actually came in with a look on her face of not purposely finding bugs in our room. She claimed she didn't see any and a couple of hours later I get a letter on my door saying that since we reported insects in our room we are being evicted on May 3rd and it's not negotiable. I want to know my rights because thats really short notice and to be evicted for reporting bed bugs.

  15. That is outrageous. I hate to say this but it seems like this behavior is thriving in Georgia and Florida. There are 50 states and I've only lived in 2 but have never heard of this in either of them. The former governor of Georgia is a lawyer and he represented his BROTHER who owns a chain of these roach motels. They swear they will appeal to the Georgia State Supreme Court as they are upset they lost the case where the court said the motels have to give landlord tenant rights and go through an eviction process. It looks like if kids catch a school bus, residents receive mail and stay longer than 30 days-it's a home and guests have rights. Depending on whether a 3rd brother is on the State Supreme Court-guests may see rights confirmed. These greedy bastards may actually have to put on a human being costume and pretend they are civilized. The problem isn't these motels.. It is the lack of adequate regular housing. Try one of the other 49 states.... these states are helping people get housed and have expanded Medicaid for adults with no children. You don't have to survive in this way.

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