VRLTA Helps Kill SB5089
in Committee By 14-0 Vote
Action Keeps Hotel Guests as Transient Occupants and NOT Tenants

A coalition of partners, led by VRLTA and including a number of hospitality and business-related organizations from around the Commonwealth, helped defeat a Senate bill (SB5089), that would have placed additional obligations and constraints on lodging establishments, including revoking the 90-day threshold for transiency at hotels, motels, extended stay facilities, or other transient accommodations.

If this measure would have passed, it would have drastically altered hotel operations and classified guests as tenants of the establishment. Not only is this change incongruent with the lodging business model, such a shift in the notion of transiency would undermine the collection of sales and lodging taxes. The proposal would have made it more difficult for lodging businesses to respond quickly and effectively to human trafficking issues, and also made all lodging businesses subject to the eviction moratoriums being considered by the General Assembly. While VRLTA and its members have provided tremendous assistance during the COVID-19 pandemic for those in need and the homeless populations, this bill would have created a much more difficult environment for hotels in moving forward.

SB5089 was taken up by the Senate General Laws and Technology Committee this week; thanks to the strong advocacy work of VRLTA and our coalition, the committee voted 14-0 to pass it by indefinitely (kill the bill).

Of note, the patron cited strong opposition voiced by Virginia hoteliers, VRLTA, and many local jurisdictions. The Virginia Municipal League, Virginia Chamber of Commerce and many local Chambers, Williamsburg Hotel and Motel Association, Newport News Hospitality Association, Virginia Beach Hotel Association, Northern Virginia Transportation Alliance, Asian-American Hotel Owners Association, and others partnered with VRLTA in the effort.

Two related bills have been introduced in the House that would alter the 90 day threshold for the application of landlord tenant law at lodging establishments—HB5119, and HB5120.  These have been sent to the House General Laws Committee, but have yet to be placed on a meeting docket. VRLTA will continue to oppose these bills and fight for the interests of our hotel and lodging members.

For more information, reach out to Robert Melvin at robert@vrlta.org