Bailment Concepts in Hospitality

Bailment concepts that are carried in hospitality operations are quite important as they affect the parties involved legally. It is imperative that the management of these facilities in conjunction with state laws put up certain systems and regulations which will ensure that both the bailor and the bailee will gain from the bailment relationship. This arrangement will prove beneficial to everyone as it will avoid endless involvement in courts. I would also prefer that the hotel and restaurant management be almost fully liable for loss or damage to property as long as negligence on the part of the management is noted. In the situation where the clients are negligent, then the client should be liable for the loss or damage for his or her own property. This should be the case in all state laws and not just some. This research paper exposes the ramifications and suggests the way in which the law and the management are meant to handle situations in relation to bailment concepts. 

Bailment in Hospitality Law basically refers to the delivery of belongings, for some purpose, with the articulated understanding that the individual receiving the belongings will give them back in the same state they had been received, when the function has been concluded. There are instances when a hotel or café administrator may be entrusted with a guest’s possessions in situations not indicated directly under a state’s accountability statute. A good example is the following: assume, a client arrives at a resort and is invited by a doorman who takes the guest’s bags straight away and gives the guest a receipt before he or she checks in. Who is accountable for the baggage? In this case the client has not got a chance to study the posted legal responsibility statutes, and has not yet officially become a guest yet. Though, because the doorman has taken deliberate possession of the belongings, the hotel bears some liability for the security of the guest’s bags.

This responsibility has been put up by the courts by means of the application of a lawful notion known as a bailment. In the hospitality industry, bailment is ordinary. Examples of bailment include: blazer checks, laundry, valet parking and baggage delivery services. Restaurant and hotel administrators must appreciate that they are liable for the security of a guest’s belongings when a bailment is imposed.

A bailment relationship involves individual giving possessions to another person for safety. A café guest may put his blazer in a coatroom. The diner presumes that the restaurant will securely hold the coat until he returns for it. Though there may be a cost for the service, the restaurant assumes accountability for the security of the coat when it is accepted from the customer. In this circumstance, a bailment has been fashioned. Anyone who gives his or her belongings to another person is known as a bailor. The individual who takes accountability for the possessions after accepting them is known as the bailee.

A bailment could be for rent; explicitly, the bailor has to recompense the bailee to hold the belongings, for example valet parking. The bailee may recompense for the benefit of using the chattel, or the association may well take the outline of a gratuitous bailment which is one that does not require compensation.

Bailments are of three main types: bailments for the benefit of the bailor, bailments for the benefit of the bailee and bailments for the benefit of both people involved. In the bailment for the benefit of the bailor, only the bailor benefits from this arrangement. A suitable example when an air-conditioning repairman enquires if he can leave his gear in a hotel’s storage room overnight so as to avoid reloading onto and unloading off the truck. The gear will be used the subsequent day to complete a job covered by the air-conditioner’s warranty. The hotel that accepts the gear also accepts the accountability of a bailment affiliation, and so ought to implement a high level of care to ensure the security of the property. If the hotel is reluctant to do so, it can simply repudiate possession of the property (Goodwin, 1987).

In the second case, the bailee benefits from the arrangement. When the foodstuff and beverage executive of a local resort borrows dishes from the food and drink manager of the local country club so as to service an exceedingly huge wedding ceremony, the bailment is for the gain of the bailee only. It is vital to note that this bailment affiliation could be of a gratuitous nature, or the dishes might be hired to the country club. In each of the cases, the bailee who gains from the liaison is accountable for the security of the property as it is in his custody. In numerous cases, a bailment, for either recompense or gratuitous, is for the gain of both people involved. This would be the instance when a resort agrees to park its customers’ cars for them while they eat a dinner. The bailors gain the ease of having their vehicles parked for them, and bailees gain because of the augmentation in business that comes from provision of the parking space commodity. Though the rule of law varies in each of these three planning, as a manager you must recognize that guest’s assets, when in your custody, subjects you to the task of plausibly caring for that possessions. The easy way to regard your accountability is to presume that you should implement as much care for the possessions of a client as you would care for your belongings. If you cannot apply that degree of concern, it is best not to go into a bailment relationship.

A hospitality facility is responsible if a bailment relationship is put down. For instance, a lot of hotels and restaurants offer coat racks for their customers. Usually, a restaurant would not be answerable for any thievery or harm to a patron’s possessions on an unattended possession, because the facility did not legally take custody of the belongings. Thus, a bailment was by no means formed.

This notion also applies to objects within bailed property. For example, a hotel or resort that gives valet parking would be accountable for harm to a guest’s vehicle. When the customer gives the car keys to the valet, custody of the car is transferred from the customer to the management, and a bailment is fashioned. Nevertheless, the hotel would perhaps not be legally responsible for the loss of a costly camera that was left in the automobile. The hotel knowingly accepted possession only of the car. No bailment relationship was recognized for the camera left in the car. In cases where a bailment relationship is not present, and a hospitality process does not presume responsibility, managers ought to exercise a level of care over their customers’ belongings to evade the danger of a negligence complaint. A hospitality facility will be accountable for any loss or harm to a guest’s possessions. In most states, a hotel or restaurant’s accountability for harm will be inadequate if the company, bailee, can prove that it exercised the ordinary level of care compulsory required by the law.

A bailee can also decrease its accountability by establishing a set accountability limit in accord with the bailor, provided the constraint is not an infringement of law or civic policy. A restaurant may place a sign stating it will compensate customers for lost possessions up to a particular amount. Though some states may be acquainted with this type of notice as a practical accord between bailor and bailees to limit legal responsibility; other states do not identify the authority of such a notice. Thus, a hospitality boss should study his or her state law cautiously or confer with a legal representative before placing such a notice. A hotel may also be legally responsible for any bailed belongings of non-customers using its amenities, such as a hotel guest who has previously checked out or a person using a hotel’s cafeteria or conference room. On the other hand, the hotel’s legal responsibility for such possessions may be inadequate under the terms of the state’s accountability law.

In all situations, if the loss or harm to a guest’s belongings is the consequence of the hospitality operation’s own carelessness or scam, the hospitality operation will be legally responsible for the full sum of those belongings. By the same examination, if a customer’s own disregard contributes in some way to the loss of the possessions, the hospitality operation’s responsibility may be decreased or even eliminated in total. Traditionally, the common law held a hotel accountable for the loss of a client’s property if the possessions and the client were within the grounds of the hotel. This notion was identified as infra hospitium. Currently, many states decide liability for lost or stolen stuff by applying bailment and/or disregard theories (Barth, 2008).

Consider the case of Linda Beckinfeld. Linda operates a tailor store in the city. As an element of her trade, she makes the rounds of local restaurants and hotels, in search of modification and darning jobs. One day Linda takes a man’s posh suit from a guest staying at the Katz Hotel. The client had delivered the suit to the bell stand for pickup by the adjustment company. Unfortunately, in her hurry to conclude her assortment rounds, Linda leaves her van ajar, and the suit was pilfered from the van before she came back. In this instance, it is likely that the client would suppose the hotel management should replace the suit. The hotel may press charges against Linda if it can be shown that her dealings were neglectful. Since a bailment relationship was created between the man and the hotel management, an external agent acting as a bailee in place of the hotel may subject the hotel to accountability. Though the suit was outside the physical borders of the operation, the relationship between the hotel client and the bellman, and the successive bailment established between the bellman and Linda, served, in consequence, to broaden the confines of the hotel to include Linda’s van. Thus, the hotel could be responsible for the loss of the man’s suit (Jeffries, 1990).

The most difficult use of bailment and legal responsibility concerns the safekeeping of clients’ vehicles. Under common law watchmen were accountable for the security of their patron’s means of transportation. The use of vehicles presents a unique challenge as they generally surpass the liability amount of the state, yet cannot be positioned in a safe. In situations where a restaurant offers valet parking, the circumstance is clear. The client gives his key to the valet, implicating a bailment relationship, thereby introduction of a legal responsibility for the vehicle with the hotel. In circumstances where a hotel has an accord with an autonomous parking garage, the hotel may still be responsible for a client’s vehicle, since the garage could be named a representative of the hotel.

Bailees have important responsibilities when a bailment is fashioned, but so do the bailors. The bailee could ask for payment to cover any costs that may be connected with holding or caring for the possessions, such as bills for the services provided by a dry-cleaner and so on. The hotel may choose to hold back the vehicle from the client until expense is defrayed. In this circumstance, the vehicle would be a detained property. During the time the possession was being withheld, the operation, as the bailee, would have a duty to care for the detained belongings from harm with the same level of care it would usually use. The innkeeper’s lien is a notion that helps to protect watchmen from nonpaying clients. Fundamentally, it enables a hotel to hold certain belongings that clients may bring with them into the hotel if they decline or are unable to pay their check (Seaquist, 1993).


As it can be seen in the case of Linda Beckinfield, it was important for the state to put up perfect systems that would ensure that all the parties involved have been dealt with justly. I am of the opinion that the law should be more specific on the topic of bailment. When the bailor is responsible for loss or damage of possessions he should be able to pay back for any damage or loss caused to the belongings (Longchamps, 1999).

Insurance companies should be involved in these arrangements as they would cover any losses that may occur. All the states should put down laws which will cater for these situations that are ‘nobody’s fault’, so to speak. This will ensure the uproars and endless lawsuits. Bailment concepts are a very important of the hospitality sector and should be taken seriously.

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