Understanding several crucial legal issues from the perspective of the independent hotelier
Operating an independent property can simultaneously be an exhilarating and terrifying experience. On one hand, you have the latitude and flexibility to make decisions unencumbered by brand oversight. However, that brand oversight can sometimes provide comfort and shelter from larger problems that might plague properties with fewer resources at their disposal.
For example, while the brands aren’t lending their own legal teams to fight, say, single-property ADA lawsuits, many offer legal consultation to their franchisees, thus providing a bit of a safety net and guidance. Though it may be tempting for independent operators to forgo retaining legal counsel, it can often be more important for them to do so when compared against their branded competitors.
Here, we’ve gathered a small handful of the many amazing legal experts within the AAHOA ranks to offer a bit of big-picture industry insight on common issues affecting the market as a whole and independent hoteliers specifically.
Independent hoteliers and their rights and responsibilities during the financing process
by PIMAL A. PATEL, ESQ.
Securing financing for independent hotels involves a thorough understanding of the financing process and your rights and responsibilities. Consulting with a real estate attorney who has experience in the financing process for independent hotels can help you find information on your rights and responsibilities during the financing process. Additionally, government agencies such as the Small Business Administration (SBA) and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) provide information on various types of commercial real estate financing, and industry associations such as AAHOA also provide education and resources. Online resources such as financial news websites and industry blogs can also provide valuable insights into current market conditions, trends, and changes in regulations that may impact the financing process.
While utilizing publicly available resources can assist you in understanding your rights and responsibilities, it is essential that you identify your needs, know your available options, and are informed about the current market conditions and interest rates. To the right are some quick points that are crucial to know during the financing process.
by POOJA PATEL, ESQ.
You’ve invested significant time, money, and effort into building your multi-million-dollar business. But, this sacrifice will be lost without a plan for your assets. We often assume that we have plenty of time for our future, but life is unpredictable. To shield our families from unforeseen circumstances, we must take matters into our own hands and ensure our intentions are in writing. This is called estate planning.
Executing a comprehensive will and trust protects your assets, and ensures your beneficiaries aren’t burdened financially or emotionally. For independent hoteliers, you only stand to benefit from this process. Here’s why this matter is of vital importance.
by SARAH GULATI, ESQ.
ADA lawsuits can cause enormous problems for independent hoteliers if their properties are found to be in violation of ADA regulations. The Americans with Disabilities Act is a federal law that requires public accommodations, including hotels, to be accessible to individuals with disabilities. This means hotel owners must ensure their properties are designed and operated in a way that provides equal access to individuals with disabilities, including accessible entrances and exits, accessible guest rooms, accessible common areas, and compliant ADA websites.
If an independent hotelier is found to be in violation of ADA regulations, they may be subject to legal action, including lawsuits with hefty damage claims. The cost of defending against an ADA lawsuit can be significant, including legal fees, costs, expert fees, and potential fines. In addition, if the hotel is found to be in violation, they may be required to make costly renovations to bring the property up to ADA standards and hire accessible experts to assist.
Here are two key questions to consider when it comes to ADA lawsuits and independent properties.