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People living at extended-stay hotels won protection from informal, on-the-spot eviction this week, when the Georgia Court of Appeals ruled they should legally be recognized as residents, not guests, and, thus, are covered by landlord-tenant law.

The March 7 decision found that Efficiency Lodge in south DeKalb County illegally kicked out three tenants in 2020 who had fallen behind on rent, because the hotel was actually their landlord, as first reported by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Atlanta Legal Aid Society attorney Lindsey Siegel, who represented the former tenants, told Atlanta Civic Circle that, as rent and home prices spike, extended-stay hotels offer much-needed housing for low-income people. Consequently, the ruling  has far-reaching implications.

“This ruling is not just about Efficiency Lodge,” Siegal said, adding that there are nearly 26,000 extended-stay units in the five-county metro Atlanta area alone. “It applies to all extended-stay hotels in Georgia. These are businesses that profit by renting permanent and semi-permanent housing to the lowest income families.”

Siegel successfully argued that her clients and other tenants make extended-stay hotels their permanent homes by moving in their belongings, receiving mail, and having their kids picked up by the school bus, among other actions.

Efficiency Lodge’s legal team, led by former Georgia Gov. Roy Barnes — whose brother Ray Barnes owns the hotel chain — had argued that its renters entered into an innkeeper-guest agreement, making them ineligible for formal tenant protections. 

But Seigel pointed to a Georgia law that requires innkeepers to pay a hotel occupancy tax only for stays shorter than 90 days. Her clients had resided at Efficiency Lodge for far longer. 

DeKalb County Superior Court Judge Stacey Hydrick agreed with Atlanta Legal Aid in a January 2021 ruling. Barnes’ client appealed, contending that it shouldn’t matter whether a hotel stay is taxed to be considered a hotel stay.

“Just the fact that a potato that’s bought at the grocery store is not subject to tax does not mean it’s not a potato,” Barnes argued before the Court of Appeals in August. Barnes did not respond to requests for comment, but he told the AJC that Efficiency Lodge will file an appeal with the Georgia Supreme Court. 

Siegel said she’s confident the Supreme Court will uphold the appellate ruling. “The Court of Appeals thoroughly analyzed every argument Efficiency Lodge made and found that it is a landlord in relation to our clients,” she said.

That would mean people who make extended-stay hotels their homes will be covered by landlord-tenant laws like any other renter — and if Efficiency Lodge or another extended-stay hotel wanted to kick someone out for nonpayment of rent, they’d need to go through a formal eviction-filing process. 

If the Supreme Court agrees with the lower courts, Siegal anticipates a trial to determine the damages due her clients from Efficiency Lodge’s now unlawful evictions.

Join the Conversation


  1. We are having a similar issue, new owners came in telling people they don’t care how long they have been here they are not residents, I have been there 5 years. they raised the fees $85 a week as soon as they got there. They have been putting people out left and right this last week

  2. I’m facing the same problem here at the ecomony inn in Rome ga and I was the housekeeping untill mr.patel told me he needed the laundry room key and fired me for no unknown reason and was still charging me full price on my room and I would work from 11am until sometimes 5am the next morning and only be paid $100 a week now that I can’t pay for my room he verbal gave me until August 15 to either catch my rent up or I have to leave my motel room and I have been here for a year and 2 months whom do I contact to get information on how to have it stopped bc tomorrow is the verbal eviction process

  3. I’m in a similar situation. I’ve lived at Ms. Patels motel almost 3 yrs. & Worked housekeeping, some maintenance, ran the business whenever she left to get supplies.
    She decided to me I’ve closer to her only daughter and purchased a new motel in MN and moved. I was made manager. I would make $1500/month and move into the owners apartment rent freeoff the office. That changed into being the guest house in back.
    Two weeks into my taking the reigns I contacted a nasty infection in my leg that caused blood clots which could’ve cost me my leg. Doctors put me on a week of bedrest. I was not to be in my leg unless I need restroom facilities. Ms. Patel was well informed and ok with how I managed the situation…I thought. A day or 2 later. She sent me A TEXT stating, “We don’t need you anymore. You can’t work.”
    “Because of your leg.” In message #2. She is refusing my pay so I am refusing to leave. I’ve had my laundry access denied, my cell phone stolen out the mail, and my cable cut to my television. A hand written 3 day eviction. All of which is harassment as I understand.
    Now this was February

  4. Even tho we live at the efficiency Lodge in Douglasville and have been for 4 Years police can still tell us to leave without Eviction Process. So what are our rights really?

    1. Here for the same question because we’ve been told we have 24 by the Gwinnett county police dept. and this is our home, we have nowhere else to go. Shelters are packed ALWAYS! Dept of Community Affairs and Georgia “law” enforcement seem to be failing MANY families daily

  5. I’ve been living in the extended stay hotel in Orlando since August 6 paying $2,484 a month, since October I’ve been getting harassed and discriminated by management, and today the manager told me he is not extending my stay I stayed for what reason he didn’t reply I said can I have something in writing he stayed no, I have videos of all the harassment I’ve been experiencing, I have two kids and no where to go and I’m getting kicked out for no reason.

  6. In extended stay they each have a folio and in this the managers and or staff can go into ur folio and change the rate and change the amount owed at any time even after time has passed and u have already paid the so called amount u thought was balance. They can then go into ur acct or folio as they call it and change the rate of the per night cost and this can create a larger amount due. They have any of the staff able to go into ur folio and change any rate that u thought u were paying to a very much larger rate per day and this creates a huge balance due and they try and collect this but it only will be effective if they actually didn’t know the customer has a copy of the folio of their entire stay which will be proper proof as to the illegal tampering of customer info and because it creates anything involving monetary loss or gain it makes every single person who tampered with it liable for criminal prosecution If u inform ur hotel that u want a print out of ur entire stay they are required to give that to you.

    1. That is not true for Extended Stay of America..Gsr and managers have no access to change guest rates,only central reservations has access to guest account..they can’t issue discounts either. People use this thirty day resident,mess, to just stop paying at thirty days and live free until they are’s malicious and the hotel losses tremendously..Extending your stay is one raging
      . Staying without the intent of paying is criminal

      1. If you think ‘EVERYBODY’ is being malicious to gain free rent, you’re part of the problem in a very broken system! Gm and front desk staff do have the capability and wherewithal to change, increase or discount prices. It’s a very sick system that robs guests who are struggling or relaxing! It has been done to me, fortunately, I have family who have and did voice their outrage regarding the malice, theft and personal vendetta these extended stay motels (Hometowne Studios Chamblee Atlanta on Peachtree industrial Ct)is grossly mismanaged)The service subjected to their guests are atrocious. Unfortunately, as for me, it’s a new beginning and if I can afford any place else, my comments here would not be! My only question is: “Does CORPORATE really know the NATURE of their business that’s managed and ran by crooks”?! I’ve filed my report, so help me God another individual will not have to go through what many of us has gone or going through! The land has LAWS IS ALL I AM STATING. Thank you

    2. That’s why you get recites to prove what u have been paying. That’s what stopped the cops from kicking me out.

  7. New to Georgia and started at ‘Hometowne Studios’ and was appalled after three days I had to fight roaches, in and of bed, on the walls, cabinets, floors, broken appliances (food spoiled)dirty odor filled carpet, one working washer on the entire property (remaining washers been out of order since I moved in 12/22) lazy workers, not to mention on 2/26/23 the entire complex was without electricity for two hrs, leaving me in the dark to do my online course work. No apologies from the GM or upper management, price gouging, with the worse, its GM(Nikki) is very aggressive, rude, argumentative as well controlling. Her staff is spoken down to by her as if they’re robots ran my a modern day Hitler and fear is evident of her from them. Never in my 57 yrs have I seen anything like this; guests are afraid to voice their concerns in fear of being evicted, also, Front desk staff releases personal information to supporters without consent. (such as my case) When I finally had enough, I reported them to the BBB as well The Attorney General’s Office on 3/2/23 only to have Nikki ‘‘ORDER’ her front desk staff (Seth) to my room after hours (6:50pm)who in threatening manner with much aggression, informed me if ‘I’ don’t leave on 3/9/23(day of next pay period)The Chamblee police will be there to put me out along with my belongings! I’ve lived here over three months and have witnessed unethical as well as illegal actions, only to take note that Chamblee Police could care less about guests here, it’s horrible, but I don’t scare easy, if at all! This place is grossly mismanaged and ‘Nikki’ has severe behavioral health issues; confrontational, controlling, denial, argumentative and threatening to name a few. I am educated in the field of Psychology, it’s safe to assess what she’s exhibits. I went as far as to tell her the behavior she displays is of a rude nature and unbecoming of someone in a managerial position, to add insult to injury; when I asked for the number to corporate, her response was: they don’t care! Need I say more? I’ve filed claims and fully expect due diligence. I have never.

  8. Yes actually they go into ur folio and can change the rate and the credit given for their lack of providing hot water they have their “Erin” go back and reverse the credit and then manipulate it so many times that ur folio print out has 20 pages for one day due to her continuous manipulation in ur folio which she creates to create a balance due and then she tries to pretend the computer did it on its own and she has stolen thousands of dollars doing this and has trained employees to do the same to create a balance due and then they serve u pretend papers that they print out and tape to ur door with a threat of eviction if u don’t pay the manipulated amount and they also go into ur rooms without ur knowledge or approval to steal and who knows what else they do not vacuum daily even though there are animals staying here and they do not have anyone cleaning outside walkways or parkinglot and employees will verbally assault u and then go manipulate ur folio. They are commiting numerous crimes and this needs to be investigated such as the amounts that she has stolen are way past grand theft limit.

  9. Lol …no such this a a verbal eviction process you got to slow it has to go through court ppl be scaring yall

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