What does the law say about hotel cleanliness?

Published 11:00 pm Saturday, July 25, 2009

Dear Lawyer Mark: A friend of mine told me that hotels don’t change the blankets and bed spreads after every guest; they only change the sheets and pillowcases. If that’s true, I can’t be more disgusted. Is there any type of law saying how often the bed items need to be changed?

— Camping out from now on

Dear Camping:

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Believe it or not, there is an Ohio statute that regulates bedding in hotels. Revised Code Section 3731.12 provides that the sheets and pillowcases must be changed daily if a guest requests it. They must also be changed prior to a new guest renting the room.

    As to the other bedding, the statutes are not as demanding. RC Section 3731.13 states merely that the bedding must be “thoroughly aired, disinfected, and kept clean.” Furthermore, no bedding shall be used that is infested with bedbugs or vermin. This statute, which also requires floors, carpets, walls, and ceilings to be kept sanitary, is not nearly as specific as the one listed above. The “bedsheet statute” goes so far as to say that the top sheet must be at least ninety inches in length, and must be made of white cotton or linen. Now you know why they don’t have more colorful sheets.

It’s The Law is written by attorney Mark K. McCown in response to legal questions received by him. If you have a question, forward it to Mark K. McCown, 311 Park Avenue, Ironton, Ohio 45638, or e-mail it to him at LawyerMark@yahoo.com. The right to condense and/or edit all questions is reserved.