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Frequently Asked Legal Questions

FREQUENTLY ASKED LEGAL QUESTIONS

With 24-hour operation services, hotels serve as a home-away-from-home for visitors to our Nation's Capital. In this regard, hotels have a great interest in providing the best possible experience for guests by maintaining compliance with District regulations and federal laws. If you have a particular legal question, you may find it on our list of FAQs.

If your question is not listed here, contact Lisa Abrams at (202) 289-0584 or lisa@hawdc.com.

 

What is the GSA Government Travel Per Diem Rate for DC Hotels for FY2016? Lodging Only  (October 1, 2015 - September 30, 2016):   
October 1, 2015 - October 31, 2015 - $222
November 1, 2015 - February 28, 2016 - $179
March 1, 2016 - June 30, 2016 - $226
July 1, 2016 - August 31, 2016 - $174
September 1, 2016 - September 30, 2016 - $222

What is DC’s Hotel Tax?
14.5%

What is DC’s Sales Tax?
6%

What is DC’s Restaurant Food Sales Tax?

10%

Does a consecutive stay of 90 days qualify a guest for Sales Tax exemption?
Yes. A permanent resident of a hotel is one who rents for 90 or more consecutive days.

What are some general taxicab regulations that affect hotels?

Please visit the DC Taxicab Commission Website at http://dctaxi.dc.gov for specific regulations.

What are the laws that affect noise in alleys in early morning or late night hours?
Click HERE to obtain District noise regulations.

What is the legal age to rent a hotel room? What are the implications for a guest who rents a room who is of age, but has underage guests?

There is legal age requirement to rent a hotel room in the District of Columbia. However, a contract with a minor (someone under the age of 18) is generally legally void; therefore, a hotel cannot legally enforce any violations with a minor. Further, it is not illegal to refuse service to a minor. Members should refer to their individual hotel policies and contact their legal department for specific questions. 

Are items sold and removed from rooms subject to taxes i.e., robes, pillows, etc?
Yes. Click HERE to view the District's Sales and Use Tax regulations.

Which groups or guests are exempt from paying D.C. sales tax? What documents must be provided by the guest?
In accordance with D. C. Code §47-2005 and 9 D.C.M.R. §445, sales to the U. S. government are exempt from the sales tax if the charges are directly incurred and discharged by the U. S. government. In order for the sale to be exempt from the tax, the payment must be made with a government check or purchase order paid directly to the vendor.

Any purchase made and paid to a vendor by an employee of the U. S. government, other listed state governments and their political subdivisions. Federal Credit Unions and organizations recognized D.C. sales tax exempt with cash, personal check or personal credit card is considered to be a transaction between the employee and the vendor, and the purchase is subject to D. C. sales tax.

What are the liabilities of a hotel parking lot or garage if a guest’s vehicle is stolen?

Members are encouraged to develop their own policies. If the vehicle is driven into the lot, there is more liability for the hotel than if the vehicle is driven in by the guest. Check with HAWDC on this.

What are the current regulations regarding hotel lifeguards for swimming pools and spas?
Click HERE for the District’s swimming pool regulations.

Are hotels allowed to make a photocopy of driver’s licenses or other forms of identification?
Yes, for registration purposes.

Please visit http://dccouncil.us/council for more information about the Council of the District of Columbia.