How to Avoid a Hotel Charge After Checkout (Checklist)

Mar 18, 2019 | Tips & Resources

You wouldn’t hop into a rental car and speed away without first inspecting it for prior dings or damage, right? Hotel rooms are no different. Weary from travel, you may feel inclined to drop your bags just inside the door and crawl into bed, but it’s important to walk through your temporary digs before making yourself at home. A brief inspection of your room is critical in ensuring that you don’t incur a fee for a pre-existing problem.

As with any rental, you’ll be held responsible for damaged property, stains, and even smells. Yes, smells. So, think twice before lighting a cigarette in a non-smoking room. You may not see the damage, but the hotel will smell it and could bill you $150 – $250 for your infraction. Select properties do allow smoking in rooms, but they will still charge for any cigarette burns to the linens, carpeting, or furniture.


What To Check For After Check-In


Examine the space for stains, ripped sheets or curtains, signs of bed bugs, broken bathroom fixtures or furniture, and holes in the wall to avoid any dispute. If you uncover any issues during your initial inspection, relay them to hotel staff immediately. Depending on the problem, they may wish to move you to a different room or even upgrade you as compensation for the inconvenience.


  • Flooring – carpeting and tile
  • Signs of smoking
  • Water damage or leaks
  • Linens and window dressings
  • Electronic, lighting, faucet fixtures & heating/cooling
  • Furniture, art, and structural damage


The risks could be costlier than you might imagine


Extensive repairs put a room temporarily out of commission. In cases where malicious behavior or vandalism are suspected, hotels can charge for each night the room may otherwise be occupied. And in the event that your destructive behaviour disturbed neighbors down the hall, you could be fined for disrupting their stay.


What if you caused the damage?


Accidents happen. If you unintentionally damage something and then immediately explain what happened at the front desk, hotel managers may give you a break on the cost of the repair — or not charge you at all. According to a 2017 hotel cost guide by HVS, midscale properties spend an average of $80 on a single nightstand lamp. The prospect of a repeat guest is far more valuable than that $80 toward a replacement lamp. As long as it’s not extensive, accidental damages can often be forgiven with a sincere, prompt apology.

Nobody can blame a hotel for wanting to keep their property in good condition, but if they missed damage caused from a previous guest, you may be on the hook for those repairs. CLC Lodging works hard to reverse charges for damages that aren’t your fault, but checking your room before settling down is a good practice.

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