robbery in hotels

Theft in a hotel room in France, what liability?

The liability of hotels for theft is provided for by the Civil Code

Indeed, article 1952 of the Civil Code provides that: “innkeepers or hoteliers are responsible, as custodians, for clothing, luggage and various objects brought into their establishment by the traveler staying with them: the deposit of these kinds of effects must be regarded as a necessary deposit “.

And article 1953 of the Civil Code provides that hoteliers “are liable for theft or damage to these effects, whether the theft was committed or the damage was caused by their employees, or by third parties coming and going in the hotel […]    ».

The responsibility of hoteliers in case of theft is severe, they have an obligation of custody of result, that is to say that it is enough to establish that the goods have disappeared in the hotel room for the responsibility of the establishment to be engaged.

What compensation are you entitled to?

As a matter of principle, hoteliers’ liability is limited:

  • 100 times the price per night for belongings stolen from the room
  • 50 times the price of the night for belongings stolen from the vehicle parked in the hotel car park

Nevertheless, by way of exception, the hotelier’s liability is unlimited:

  • In case of theft or deterioration of objects of any kind deposited in the hands of the hotelier, so this may be the case of objects placed in a safe
  • When the hotelier has refused to receive objects without legitimate reason, so the hotelier will be required to compensate the traveler for all of his damage
  • In case of fault of the hotelier or the persons for whom he must answer, what will the victim have to establish

What happens in the presence of limitation of liability clauses?

It is not uncommon for hoteliers and their insurers to deny their liability by invoking such clauses.

First of all, the limitation or exclusive clauses of liability are valid provided that:

  • there is no willful misconduct or gross negligence on the part of the debtor
  • that the customer has been aware of this clause and has accepted its principle.

In such a case, it will be up to the hotelier to provide proof of the knowledge and acceptance of this clause by the customer.

The case law interprets the validity of these clauses very restrictively.

If you, or someone close to you, has been the victim of a theft in a hotel in France, the BCVLEX team is at your disposal to evaluate your file, advise you and accompany you in your compensation process.


Kathleen Doyeux

BCVLEX France.