Hotel room safety and security: What are your rights if there is an intruder in your hotel room?

During a recent stay at Seahaven Noosa Resort in Queensland, Traveller's national travel editor was woken by intruders in the middle of the night in the room he was sharing with his wife (read the story at (trvllr.co/hotelintruder). The intruders fled and while no injury or theft resulted, the response from security, management and police was casual to say the least.

So what laws are there to ensure your safety and security in a hotel room? Under Australian consumer law, any services including accommodation must be provided with due care and skill and fit for their specified purpose, among other provisions. If you suffered injury resulting from such an intrusion, you could sue the hotel for negligence. If goods are stolen from your hotel room, the law varies state by state, but under Queensland law, the liability of the accommodation provider is limited to $250 a day, unless goods were entrusted to the hotel for safekeeping. If your room is looted and a laptop, phone and expensive handbag are stolen in a single event, your compensation from the hotel would not go anywhere near covering replacement cost of the items stolen.

Your only other recourse would be a travel insurance policy. In general, a good hotel will offer you compensation in some form if something goes wrong. It's important to know your rights and how to enforce them in situations such as this. If you believe your rights as a consumer have been breached, Google "Australian Consumer Law" and you'll have the force of the law behind you when dealing with hotel management.

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