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Hotelsinitaly.biz: You can read here your rights of your hotel contract




This is the agreement with which the owner of an accommodation facility commits to providing the customer, in exchange for the corresponding price, a service of accommodation in a furnished residential unit, as well as any accessory services, some necessary and others ad hoc. In Italy, a hotel contract is not regulated by law, which only regulates the hotel owner’s responsibilities regarding the deposit of items that have been brought or handed over to the hotel (articles 1783 to 1785 of the Italian Civil Code). For all other matters, general regulations on obligations and contracts apply. The principles and rules of the hotel contract apply to all accommodation facilities, irrespective of the terms used for the different types of facility (hotel, resort, motel, camp site, mountain chalet, apartment, bed & breakfast, beauty farm, etc.).

Booking and concluding the contract:
A booking is an agreement in which the hotel owner commits to making accommodation and all connected services available to the customer. Depending on whether or not it includes a deposit of a sum of money, a booking has different contents and consequences.
  • “simple” booking
    At times, in order to reserve a room in a hotel, it is sufficient to call ahead, agree on services and price and provide a name (and sometimes also a telephone number). This kind of booking, entirely verbal, and which does not allow the hotel owner to trace us, creates obligations only for the hotel owner, who is obligated to conclude the definitive contract. The traveller, on the other hand, is free to make use of the booking or not. Of course, it is a duty of appropriateness to notify in the event of Cancellation:. Also, as a document of the agreement, it is advisable to confirm the content of said agreements via fax (arrival and departure date, price, any accessory services, etc.), even if the hotel owner does not expressly request it. Receiving a fax will give more peace of mind both to the hotel owner (who will be more likely to give credibility to a written booking), and to the traveller (who will have “proof” of their right). In the absence of written proof, there is nothing we can do if there are no rooms left when we arrive at the hotel.
  • a booking as “conclusion of the contract”
    If, when making verbal agreements, the hotel owner requests to follow up by sending a sum of money, whatever this might be called (down payment, security deposit, advance), then the commitment is understood to be taken on by both parties. In this case the obligation to compensate for damages arises both in the event of a breach on behalf of the hotel owner (unavailability of room), and on behalf of the customer (failure to show up at the hotel). In general, a contract is perfected when whoever has made the proposal finds out about the acceptance on behalf of the other party (art. 1326 Civil Code). Now, managing a hotel is a constant offer of contracts aimed at the general public. A booking in this second form (with an obligation on the part of the customer, too) is an acceptance of the hotel owner’s offer. This determines not only a simple preliminary agreement, but also the conclusion of the hotel contract itself.

Liability for breach of contract:

Hotel owner’s obligations:
The hotel owner’s first obligation is to enter into a contract with anybody who so requests, without exhibiting any discriminatory behaviour. Refusal is legitimate only in the event of unavailability of accommodation and if the customer does not have the correct documents for identification. The hotel owner is obligated to keep a form containing the customer’s details and submit a copy to the law enforcement authorities (art. 109 T.U. of public safety laws) Once the contract has been concluded, the hotel owner is obligated to provide the customer with a furnished residential unit, the use of common areas and all services to which they are committed via catalogues, brochure or specific agreements. Compulsory services include keeping the accommodation clean and tidy. As far as prices are concerned, the hotel is obligated to inform the Region of the minimum and maximum fares referring to the following season and post these fares in a visible place within the building. There is no longer any obligation to post the prices inside each room, unless specified by individual regional law.

Customer’s obligations:
The customer is obligated to pay the charge; to leave any occupied rooms within the established deadline; to use the structure in full respect of internal regulations. As far as payment is concerned, it is worth remembering that for credits to customers, the hotel owner enjoys a privilege in regard to items brought into the hotel, on which he or she can exercise a right of lien that overrides any rights claimed by third parties. This credit, however, has a six-month expiration limit (art. 2954 of the Civil Code).

Duties regarding protection:
This term refers to the obligation, for the hotel owner, to guarantee the supervision, hygiene, cleanliness and safety of the areas in which the service is provided, in full respect of current regulations. Customer safety and security must, however, be guaranteed well beyond the formal respect for regulations. For example, the hotel owner is considered responsible for any damage suffered by the customer as a result of faulty lighting or lack of handrails along the stairs; or for damage caused by a damaged floor; or even for damage suffered by a customer who slips in a shower that does not have a box, handles and shower mats. The hotel owner is exempted, totally or partially, from this responsibility if the harmful event was caused by the customer’s negligent behaviour or if negligence compounded it.

Responsibilities of the Hotel owner regarding property brought into the hotel:
In the event of deterioration, destruction or loss of any items deposited in the hotel, the hotel owner is responsible, and is obligated to compensate for any damages. The customer must report the damage to the hotel owner without delay. The hotel owner’s responsibility for items deposited in the hotel is regulated by articles 1783 and following of the Civil Code. The concept of deposit includes both items that are “taken into the hotel” by the customer, and items personally “handed over” to the hotel owner or another employee. Both cases, however, have different consequences in terms of responsibility. In the case of things that are “taken” (and not “handed over”) there is an “objective” responsibility (in other words, it is not necessary to prove the hotel owner’s fault) yet limited (compensation cannot be more than 100 times the daily price of accommodation). The customer will have to prove the existence of the hotel contract, the harmful event, its occurrence on the hotel premises and the size of the damage. Time limits: the hotel owner’s responsibility covers the period of duration of the hotel contract and, also, a reasonable period of time before or after the period in which the customer stays in the accommodation (for example, if luggage was sent separately the day before the arrival; or if luggage is left in the hotel for a few hours after leaving the accommodation). Limits in space: the hotel owner’s responsibility applies to items that are on the hotel premises, as well as outside the hotel for items that the hotel owner or another employee is safeguarding (for example, during transportation from place of arrival to the hotel if transport is organised by the hotel owner). The hotel owner’s responsibility for “brought” items, which is usually objective and limited, becomes subjective and unlimited if the owner’s fault can be proven (negligence or incompetence), as is the case with doors that have been left open, key rooms left without supervision, etc. In these cases, the hotel owner must compensate the damages without limits in value.

Responsibilities of the Hotel owner regarding property handed over for safekeeping:
For the deterioration, destruction or loss of any items handed over directly to the hotel owner or another employee for safekeeping, responsibility is unlimited (art. 1784 of the Civil Code). In this case there is no maximum limit to the compensation. If requested by the customer, the hotel owner is obligated to take cash, cheques, credit cards and valuable objects for safekeeping. He or she may only demand that the item handed over be contained in a closed and sealed wrapper. If they refuse to take items that they are obligated to receive, they will be responsible in an unlimited way. However, the hotel owner can legitimately refuse to take excessively large or expensive items in relation to the conditions of the hotel. It is the customer’s responsibility to prove that items are handed over. It is therefore advisable to request a receipt that helps identify any items handed over for safekeeping (more professional hotel owners will give one immediately). In the case of items placed in safes made available to the customer with their own personal key, the considerations for items “taken into the hotel” apply (and not “handed over”): the hotel owner’s responsibility will therefore be limited. If, however, the hotel owner has a second key to the safe, then the item is considered handed over for safekeeping, with unlimited responsibility.

The hotel owner’s responsibility does not extend to vehicles parked on hotel property. In order for it to be the hotel owner’s responsibility there needs to have been a separate agreement that the hotel would look after the vehicle. In this case, it is not sufficient to simply park the vehicle in an area that is property of the hotel or even in the garage: the vehicle’s keys need to have been handed over to the hotel and/or parking must be paid for.

Extension to areas other than the hotel:
Article 1786 of the Civil Code extends the application of regulations on deposits in hotels to all structures that are somehow comparable, such as for example: care facilities, seaside resorts, public entertainment venues, bed & breakfasts, restaurants, sleeping cars and similar.


Consumer Code and timeshare market:
On the subject of timeshares, Directive 94/47/CE has been applied in Italy in Legislative Decree 9/11/1998 no. 427, the content of which was subsequently transferred to articles 69 to 81 of the Consumer Code. Among the more significant new regulations is the prohibition of calling “timeshare” the purchase of the part-time right of use that is not accompanied by a transfer of a real right on the property. The Decree regulates: The timeshare market is still a maze in which it is easy to get lost: often the selling company is connected to various parties so it is difficult to determine the limits of responsibility: a managing company, a company for money exchanges; a reference company for managing the ownership of the purchased rights; a financing company for the credit. Add to that the fact that often parts of these companies are based abroad (Virgin Islands, Central American countries, etc). The same prohibition of using the expression “timeshare” in the absence of the establishment of a real right has caused a proliferation of clever but absolutely obscure systems of “ownership certificates”, “points purchases” and similar. All of this has contributed to creating a not particularly credible overall picture of the market, which seems to be developing at a much slower pace than expected. If in the contract that is presented to us for undersigning the term “timeshare” is used, then the contract needs to include the transfer over to us of a “real right” (with a copy in the property registers, notary’s signature, etc.). If that is not the case, then it is not a real timeshare, but just the purchase of a right of use, a sort of tenancy with a different name to fool us.

Right of withdrawal:
Regardless of the place and methods of conclusion of the contract, within 10 business days of signature of the contract it is possible to recess without having to give any reasons (the so-called “right to second thought”). In the event of withdrawal, no penalty is owed: the seller is only owed a refund of the documented expenses that were necessary for the conclusion of the contract (and only if it has been mentioned expressly in the contract and only it they are expenses that cannot be postponed until after the time limit for withdrawal has expired). Any clause that includes the payment of penalties or the refund of expenses as a lump sum is not legitimate and should not be considered proper. The right of withdrawal is exercised with a registered letter with a form for acknowledgment of receipt to be sent to the seller, or to any other party that might be mentioned in the text of the undersigned contract. When the time limit of 10 business days is about to expire, a telegram or fax can be sent by that deadline, followed up by a registered letter within 48 hours. The contract must contain all the correct information on the right of withdrawal (existence of the right, its content, terms and methods of its exercise, party to whom to send the registered letter). If the contract does not contain the correct information on the right of withdrawal, and the information is given separately within the following 3 months, the limit of 10 days starts from the date of receiving the correct information. If the information on the right of withdrawal is not communicated even after the conclusion of the contract, the right of withdrawal may be exercised within 3 months, and no refund is owed to the seller. In this case the withdrawal is also allowed within the 10 days following expiry of the three months, but in this case the seller will be owed the documented expenses mentioned in the contract (as long as they are expenses that cannot be postponed).

Down payments and security deposits:
The seller may not demand or accept any sum of money as an advance, down payment or security deposit before the period for exercising the right of withdrawal has expired. Therefore, no sum of money is owed upon signing. Any request for money is illegal and should make us seriously question the seller’s professionalism and the quality of the deal.

Guarantees from the seller:
If the object of the contract is a property that is yet to be completed, the seller must provide a banking or insurance guarantee stating that work will be completed. The seller must provide the same guarantee if they are not a corporate enterprise, if they have a capital stock of less than euro 5,164,569 and if they do not have their headquarters and secondary branches in Italy. The guarantee does not include the obligation of advance payment to the seller from the buyer. Also, in cases in which the guarantee is obligatory, it must be mentioned in the contract. Failing that, the contract is null and void.

Purchase with financing:
Sometimes the purchase is accompanied by a financing contract. If this financing is based on commercial agreements between the seller and the financing party (a bank or, more often, a finance company), the authorization of credit contract is resolved by right (and without any penalty being owed) as an automatic consequence of the exercise of the right of withdrawal. Whoever has correctly exercised the right of withdrawal may legitimately interrupt the payment of installments to the financing company without the company being able to request anything. In this case, while not obligatory, it is nevertheless advisable to send the financing company a carbon copy of the registered letter of withdrawal sent to the seller.

Void clauses:
Any contract clauses including the following are illegal and should be considered void:


“All-in package holidays”:

Partner Links:

  • http://www.tredy.com
  • http://www.romebytredy.com
  • http://www.resortsinitaly.com
  • http://www.sorrento.cc





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