What is the OH&LA all about?
Incorporated in 1974, the Oklahoma Hotel & Lodging Association is recognized as one of the largest and most effective organizations in Oklahoma. The OH&LA exists for the purpose of helping its members through constant monitoring of regulatory and legislative issues, member services including valuable training and money saving products and services, educational and networking events, and the state's largest trade show. As we grow to meet the needs of our members in this changing industry, the OH&LA will continue to fulfill and maintain the visions of the original founders. We will be the representative voice and protect the interests of Oklahoma lodging operators.
How do I join the OH&LA?
OH&LA membership is open to Lodging Properties, Service Providers, Non-Commercial entities, Restaurant Operators, Bed and Breakfasts, and Students. Check out all the benefits you'll get, and join our association today! If you need support, simply give us a call at 800.942.6462 and we’ll be happy to help.
How are policy decisions made at the OH&LA?
The OH&LA takes its role as an industry advocate very seriously. Our Government Affairs and Public Policy team tracks thousands of state bills and local efforts each year to stop harmful legislation and promote laws that will have positive implications for the industry. Before taking action, the OH&LA talks to members about the issues facing them and ways potential laws could affect operations. The OH&LA's Board of Directors several times a year and sets most of the policy priorities for the organization.
Where can I find a list of Oklahoma's Health Departments?
List of Health Departments
Where can I find a list of Governmental Agencies?
Oklahoma Governmental Agencies
Where can I find an ADA checklist for new lodging properties?
Specific to the lodging industry:
Renting Rooms to Minors
Does Oklahoma have any statutory requirement that hotels must rent rooms to minors (persons under the age of 18 or similar age)?
A hotel can refuse to provide service to an individual under the age of 18 under the theory that Oklahoma law states that a minor has no capacity to enter into a contract (15 O.S. § 17). A hotel may admit individuals under the age of 18, but the Oklahoma Innkeeper Rights Act states that a hotel may require a minor’s parents to:
- Execute a written agreement to accept liability for the cost of the room, all charges by the minor, and all damage caused by the minor;
- Provide the hotel with a valid credit card number to cover the cost of the guest room, taxes, charges, and damage, or
- Give the hotel a cash advance for the cost of the room and a deposit for any damage.
The hotel can also limit the number of individuals occupying any particular room. See 15 O.S. § 506.
Swimming Pools and Emergency Phones
Does Oklahoma have a requirement that hotel pools must have an emergency phone and must the emergency phone directly dial “911”?
- A hotel can eject a minor if hotel personnel reasonably believe that the minor is using the premises for unlawful purposes, including consumption of alcohol by individuals under the age of 21. The hotel may also eject a minor if he or she is “disorderly” or “visibly intoxicated,” or breaking any of the hotel’s conspicuously posted rules. See 15 O.S. § 508.
The Oklahoma regulation states that the telephone must have the capability to reach emergency assistance. See Okla. Admin. Code 301:320-3-1. Also, immediately adjacent to the telephone, there must also be a current list of available doctors, ambulance services, hospitals, and police or fire departments. See Okla. Admin. Code 301:320-3-4(b).
Maximum Room Rate Posting on the Back of the Room Door
Does Oklahoma have a posting requirement for hotel room charges and how long must it be posted before you can impose that rate against the guests?
The Oklahoma Innkeeper Rights Act (15 O.S. §§ 504-09), along with all of the hotel rules, must be posted in a conspicuous place at or near the registration desk, and on the inside of the door of each guest room.
Ability to Evict Holdover Guests
Does Oklahoma allow hotels to immediately change a room key code once the contracted for reservation time period is completed?
A hotel may evict a guest for nonpayment of charges for accommodations and services. See 15 O.S. § 508. Oklahoma law does not contain a provision allowing a hotel to force out a guest at the end of his/her reservation; therefore, it appears that a hotel cannot evict a guest who is still willing to pay the room rate.
The Oklahoma Residential Landlord/Tenant Act does not apply to “transient occupancy in a hotel, motel, or similar lodging.” 41 O.S. § 104. The Act does not specify how long a guest must stay before he/she is considered a tenant rather than a transient occupant. If a guest is considered a tenant, the hotel must give the tenant five days’ notice before beginning eviction proceedings. See 41 O.S. § 7.
Liability for Guest Property
Does Oklahoma have an innkeeper’s law that limits the liability of hotelier to a maximum dollar amount for items that could have been kept in a front desk safety deposit box?
Oklahoma law states that a hotelier is liable for all losses of personal property placed into his care by guests, unless the property is lost by “irresistible superhuman cause,” a “public enemy,” negligence of the owner of the property, or an act of someone the owner of the property brought into the hotel. See 15 O.S. § 501. A hotel is not liable for the loss or damage of personal property in excess of $250. See 15 O.S. § 503b,
The law states that the hotel is not liable for certain property (“money, jewels, ornaments, bank notes, bonds, negotiable securities, or other valuable papers, precious stones, railroad tickets, articles of gold or silver manufacture, or other valuable property of small compass”) if the property is not deposited into the hotel safe. At the time the property is deposited, the owner must declare its value. The hotel is not obligated to accept property of more than $300, and a hotelier’s liability is limited to that amount. See 15 O.S. § 503a.
Does Oklahoma have an abandoned property law that mandates that property be kept for a certain time period?
Liability for property that has been left after the guest has checked out is limited to $50. See 15 O.S. § 503b. If the hotelier knows or suspects a certain individual owns the abandoned property, he must give notice to that individual. 15 O.S. § 512.
Does Oklahoma have an innkeeper’s lien law that allows the hotel to hold onto luggage in order to force payment of any unpaid charges by a guest? Limitations?
A hotelier may place a lien on luggage for charges due. The hotelier may keep the luggage until the charges are paid. After 90 days, the hotelier may sell the luggage at public auction, with proper notice.
Any proceeds from the sale that exceed the amount owed to the hotelier must be paid to the guest within six months of the sale. See 42 O.S. § 39.
Hotel Tax Application Laws
What state and local hotel taxes are in play for an ordinary hotel guest in Oklahoma?
Is state or local hotel tax due on meeting room rentals in Oklahoma?
- state sales tax of 4.5 percent applies to lodging and meals; city sales tax in the range of 8.375 also would apply. Other taxes that must be paid as well include:
- sales tax does not apply to charges that are already taxed by hotel tax?
- Other: A hotel guest in Oklahoma must pay 4.5% sales tax. See Okla. Admin. Code 710:65-19-143. Municipal sales tax (0.25-5%) and/or county sales tax (0.25-2%) will also apply. Municipalities and counties may also charge their own lodging tax. For example, lodging tax in Oklahoma City is 5.5% in addition to the 4.5% state sales tax and the 3.875% city sales tax, for a total of 13.875%. Exemptions from the lodging tax are governed by the taxing municipality or county; however, they appear to often mirror certain exemptions to state sales tax.
- The Oklahoma Tourism Promotion Tax, which levied a 0.1% tax on hoteliers on gross receipts from room sales, was repealed in 2006.
No sales tax is due. See Okla. Admin. Code 710:65-19-143.
Is state or local hotel tax due on “no show charges” for room nights in Oklahoma?
Revenue from the forfeiture of a deposit is not subject to sales tax, but revenue derived from a guaranteed room is subject to sales tax, even if the guest does not occupy the room. See Okla. Admin. Code 710:65-19-143.
In Oklahoma, are guests exempt from hotel tax after they have stayed for over 30 days if there was advance notice that the stay would be for over 30 days?
Yes or No. Only exempt in Oklahoma if the hotel primarily operates as an apartment like provider and then no hotel tax would be due. Would be rare since hotels more often will be primarily characterized as hotels. Not at the state level. Some municipalities/counties grant this exemption from local hotel tax.
In Oklahoma, do you refund the first 30 days of hotel tax or simply exempt the guest from hotel tax for Day 31 and after?
See response to No. 4.
In Oklahoma, does state and or local hotel tax apply to state agency travelers on official business travel?
State agency employees on official business travel are exempt from sales tax.
In Oklahoma, does state and or local hotel tax apply to city or county agency travelers on official business travel?
State sales tax will not apply to city or county agency travelers on official business travel. See 68 O.S. § 1356 (1).
In Oklahoma, does state and or local hotel tax apply to religious entity staff?
Sales tax will not apply to religious entities if the religious entity pays for the rooms directly.
In Oklahoma, does state and or local hotel tax apply to religious entity followers?
The exemption for religious entities only applies to sales purchased by the church and paid for by funds or a check directly from the entity. The exemption does not extend to the entity’s followers who are paying for their own rooms.
In Oklahoma, does state and or local hotel tax apply to rooms paid for by high schools or primary schools?
Sales tax will not apply to rooms paid for by schools.
In Oklahoma, does state and or local hotel tax apply to rooms paid for by college entities?
State and local sales tax does not apply if the college is an Oklahoma college.
Is food and drink provided to customers as part of the price of the room exempt from sales tax?
Please be advised that Oklahoma Tax Commission Rule OAC 710;65-19-143 has been amended effective June 25, 2007 to clarify policy regarding the sales tax treatment of food and drinks provided as a part of a packaged room rate by hotel or motel operators.
Subsection (e) of Rule 710:65-19-143 states that "Sales tax is not due on food or drinks that are provided as a part of a packaged room rate by hotel or motel operators is the furnishings of the room is subject to tax under Section 1354 or Title 68 and if no separate charge is made for the food or drinks. Such food or drinks are considered to be sold at retail as part of the total charge for the room."
Hotel or motel operators holding a sales tax permit may purchase food and drinks that will be provided as a part of a packaged room rate exempt from sales tax as a sale for resale. Vendors who, in good faith, accept properly completed documentation that the transaction is exempt for resale are relieved from liability to collect sales tax. Should the hotel or motel operators purchase food items exempt for resale and withdraw those items from inventory for a non exempt use, they would owe sales tax on the "sales value" of the items. See 68 O.S. Section 1362(D) and OAC 710:65-1-2.
Does it matter in terms of hotel tax liability if the college paying for the room is from Oklahoma or from another state?
Yes – for exemption from sales tax liability, the college must be a member of the Oklahoma system of higher education, or a private institution accredited by the Oklahoma Board of Regents for Higher Education.
Are there other notable entities that are exempt under Oklahoma laws from State or Local Hotel Tax?
Other entities are exempt from state and local sales tax – School foundations, community blood banks, Boy Scouts of America, Girl Scouts of U.S.A., Camp Fire U.S.A. Council Organizations, Boys and Girls Club of America Affiliates, Motion Picture Television Production Companies, NRA and other organizations that defend Second Amendment rights, Daughters of the American Revolution, Oklahoma coal mining entities, Parent-Teacher Associations/Organizations, certain Preservation/Conservation groups, volunteer fire departments, YWCA and YMCA, youth athletic teams, Spaceport users, organizations providing education relating to robotics, organizations funding scholarships in the medical field, organizations for educating community regarding the developmentally disabled, and others.
Where can hotels find a list of the entities that are exempt from the State and Local Hotel Tax?
A list of entities exempt from sales tax can be found here: http://www.tax.ok.gov/btforms/PktE.pdf
(accessed August 1, 2011) Also see 68 O.S. § 1356.
Ability to Provide Entities an Exemption if There is No Letter of Exemption
In Oklahoma can an entity that would qualify for an exemption be treated as exempt by a hotel if it never formally applied for the exemption?
An entity must apply for an exemption to sales tax.
What qualifies as a "service animal?"
Under the ADA, a dog or miniature horse that "is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability" qualifies as a service animal.The "work" or "tasks" performed by a service animal must be directly related to the individual's disability. For example, the service animal might pull a wheelchair, guide a visually impaired person, or assist an individual with psychiatric disabilities.
Comfort animals and pets are NOT service animals. Comfort animals merely provide emotional support and are not individually trained to assist with a disability.
What can you ask a customer who enters your business with an animal?
Businesses and their representatives who come in contact with the public may ask only two questions of individuals regarding their service animals:
- Is the animal required because of a disability?
- What work or task has the animal been trained to perform?
Businesses may not ask anything else. For example, they may NOT ask
Do you have to alter your establishment to accommodate service animals?
- For proof of training or license for the service animal;
- For the guest to explain or verify his/her disability;
- For a demonstration of the service animal's training or abilities.
A public accommodation is not required to accommodate a service animal when doing so would result in a fundamental alteration to the nature of the business.
Examples: The following do NOT qualify as fundamental alterations:
- Accommodation of a service animal at a restaurant or location that serves food (even if health codes prohibit animals).
- Accommodation at a busy sports facility.
Example: The following would qualify as a "fundamental alteration" and does not have to be accommodated:
Can we deny service animals if others are allergic?
- A service dog that is actively barking at a cinema or theater.
Can we deny service animals if others are afraid of dogs in general?
Is my business required to provide service animal care such as food or a place for the animal to relieve itself?
What about pets on patios?
Oklahoma law states the following regarding pets on patios:
310:257-11-54. Prohibiting animals
(d) Dogs and cats may be allowed in outdoor dining areas, provided the dog or cat is controlled by the owner or handler of the animal and the following conditions are met:
- A separate entrance/exit is present where pets do not enter through the food establishment to reach the outdoors;
- No food preparation shall be allowed in the outdoor dining area, including the mixing of drinks and ice;
- Customer multi-use or reusable utensils such as plates, silverware, glasses, and bowls shall not be stored, displayed, or pre-set at the outdoor dining area;
- Food and water, either served or provided to the animal by the food establishment, shall only be distributed in single-use, disposable containers;
- Employees shall be prohibited from having direct contact with the animals;
- The outdoor dining area shall be cleanable, durable and constructed of impervious materials;
- The outdoor dining areas shall be maintained to remove and eliminate any animal excrement;
- In cases where animal excrement or other animal fluids (urine, saliva, vomit) are deposited, an employee shall immediately clean and sanitize the affected areas; and
- The outdoor dining area shall not be fully enclosed. Any fully enclosed dining area shall be considered a part of the interior of the facility.
For more guidelines regarding pets, click here
Fire Prevention Services - Hotel Fire and Life Safety Tips
Pertaining to and reviewed by the ABLE Commission:
- Have a fire safety plan in place. A proper fire safety and evacuation plan will ensure that all employees learn to give importance and attention to fire safety measures. Key points of a fire safety plan should include measures to be taken to avoid fires, steps to ensure availability of adequate escape routes and exit points, and ensure that these plans are properly posted and visibly accessible. Ensure storage of materials are not obstructing sprinkler heads.
- Take special care of electrical installations. Short circuits and blown fuses very often start fires that spread to other parts quickly. User-errors and system malfunctions are the leading cause of electrical fires in hotels. User-errors range from improper installation, frayed power cords, overloaded extension cords and unsafe electrical work practices.
- Ensure all life safety equipment is operational. Hotel staff should ensure that all emergency lights and exit signs are operational, that all exit egress points are clear, elevators are recently inspected, and door hardware operates as intended. Also, exterior fire lanes are maintained, building address is plainly visible, and Knox box is installed as required.
- Ensure proper maintenance of laundry equipment. Laundry equipment like huge dryers can accumulate and trap large amounts of link that can build up in vents and on heating elements and will increase the chances of a fire. Hotel staff should ensure that the laundry and dryer systems are checked regularly to reduce risk of fires.
- Check for potential causes of fire in kitchen areas. Kitchen fires are often the starting point for major fires. Professional kitchen environments can present the perfect recipe to instant fires: fast-paced and high-pressure work environment, improper use of cooking equipment, multiple open-paced and high-pressure work environment, improper use of cooking equipment, multiple open-flames, and large amounts of items like cooking oils contribute to fires in commercial kitchens.
- Ensure all fire protection systems are fire code compliant. Hotel staff should ensure that all fire alarm systems, fire sprinkler systems, commercial hood suppression systems, and fire extinguishers are properly inspected and operational at all times.
Oklahoma Alcohol Laws – Effective October 1, 2018
Q: Is it still lawful to purchase/sell 3.2% ABW beer in Oklahoma after September 30th?
A: SQ792 did not abolish low-point beer, it simply repealed the constitutional provision that distinguished low-point beer from beer that contains more than 3.2% ABW. Effective October 1, 2018, all beer will fall under the jurisdiction of the ABLE Commission. Okla. Const. Art. 28A, §1, 37A O.S. §1-102(B), 37A O.S. §1-103(5).
Q: Beginning October 1, 2018, are on-premises licensees required to collect the 13.5% gross receipts tax on all beer, even if it that beer does not exceed 3.2% ABW?
A: Effective October 1, 2018, all beer is considered taxable as a mixed beverage regardless of its ABW. Unless the Oklahoma Tax Commission determines otherwise, all beer sold after September 30th are considered mixed beverages for purposes of gross receipts tax collection. 37A O.S. §5-105(B)(1).
Q: What are the hours of sale for on-premises consumption?
A: On-premises licensees may sell alcoholic beverages from 8 a.m. to 2 a.m., Monday through Saturday. Counties still determine whether on-premises licensees may sell alcoholic beverages on Sunday and what hours those sales may occur. Okla. Const. Art. 28A, §3(C) and §6, 37A O.S. §3-124, 37A O.S. §3-125(B)(1).
Q: What are the hours of sale for (Breweries), (Liquor Stores), (Grocery/Convenience Stores)?
A: Small brewers may sell beer and wine from 10 a.m. to 2 a.m., Monday through Saturday, Package stores may sell beer, wine, and spirits, from 8 a.m. to Midnight, Monday through Saturday, and Grocery and Convenience Stores may sell beer and wine from 6 a.m. to 2 a.m., Sunday through Saturday. Small brewers and Package stores may sell on Sunday if approved by the county in which the licensed premises are located. 37A O.S. §2-102(D), 37A O.S. §3-113(C), 37A O.S. §6-103(A)(3).
Q: Do all counties in Oklahoma allow for Sunday sales of alcoholic beverages?
A: On-premises Sunday sales may still be prohibited or restricted by voters on a county-by-county basis. Based on ABLE Commission data, 13 counties have restricted on-premises Sunday sales (Adair, Canadian, Carter, Custer, Grady, Mayes, Muskogee, Noble, Nowata, Ottawa, Stephens, Washington, Woods), while five counties prohibit on-premises Sunday sales altogether (Atoka, Haskell, Kingfisher, Seminole, Washita). Okla. Const. Art. 28A, §6, 37A O.S. §3-124, 37A O.S. §3-125(B)(1).
Q: Are movie theaters allowed to sell alcoholic beverages?
A: Yes, movie theaters are permitted to obtain a mixed beverage license, provided that if persons under 21 are permitted to enter the same movie theater, then those patrons wishing to consume alcoholic beverages must have their hand stamped or wear a special bracelet identifying them as persons 21 or over. 37A O.S. §2-110(2).
Q: How old does someone need to be before applying for a liquor server license?
A: The legal age to obtain an ABLE Employee license remains 18 years of age. However, you must still be 21 or older to pour alcoholic beverages in a Type II Establishment, work in a Type I Establishment, or a Package Store. ABLE classifies those Mixed Beverage licensees whose primary purpose is the sale of alcoholic beverages to be a Type I Establishment, whereas all other Mixed Beverage licensees (those whose primary purpose is something other than the sale of alcoholic beverages) are considered by ABLE as Type II Establishments. 37A O.S. §2-121.
Q: What is the percentage of alcohol sales before being classified as a bar (21 to enter)?
A: A mixed beverage licensee must have a full kitchen on its premises, sell food items from full menu, and maintain gross sales on food of at least 35% per month in order to be designated as a Type-II establishment. 37A O.S. §6-114.
Q: Can I apply for a liquor license if I have been convicted of a felony?
A: If otherwise qualified, a convicted felon may obtain an ABLE Employee license as long as the conviction occurred over five years ago and was not violent or ABLE-related offense. A violent crime includes (but is not limited to) murder, rape, assault, battery, robbery, burglary, pointing a firearm, arson, inciting a riot, possessing child pornography, lewd or indecent proposal of a child, extortion, or terrorism or terrorism hoax. 37A O.S. §2-148(D)(2), 57 O.S. §571(2).
Q: If my establishment was licensed as a "Low-point Beer Bar" what are my options now that 3.2 beer goes away and it is only strong beer?
A: Low-point beer bars will not exist effective October 1, 2018. These low-point beer bars may apply for an ABLE mixed beverage license or an on-premises beer and wine license. If the sale of alcoholic beverages is the applicant’s main purpose, then persons under 21 will not be permitted to enter the license premises. If the low-point beer bar is located within 300 feet of a church or school, then it may apply for a mixed beverage license under a “grandfather provision” adopted by the Legislature in 2018, provided the licensed establishment does not cease operation or change ownership. 37A O.S. §2-110, 37A O.S. §2-128, 37A O.S. §2-139(C)(2), 37A O.S.
Q: Can I advertise "Happy Hour" on mixed beverages, beer, and wine?
A: On-premises licensees may offer happy hour specials, using all lawful means of advertising, on alcoholic beverages on certain hours and/or days of the week, provided those happy hour prices must remain at least six percent (6%) above the licensee’s cost for that drink. 37A O.S. §6-102(4)(b).
Q: Who has to have an ABLE Employee license?
A: Any person who participates in the service, mixing, or sale of alcoholic beverages must obtain an ABLE Employee license. A manager of an on-premises licensee must also obtain an ABLE Employee license, whether or not the manager participates in the serving, mixing or sale of an alcoholic beverage. 37A O.S. §2-121.
Q: How old do I have to be to get an ABLE Employee license?
A: A person must be at least 18 years of age to obtain an ABLE Employee license, but ABLE Employee licensees are prohibited from selling or serving alcoholic beverages in package stores, Type I mixed beverage establishments, or designated bar areas of Type II mixed beverage establishments until they are at least 21 years of age. 37A O.S. §2-121, 37A O.S. §6-102(2)(a).
Q: Do I have to have any training to be eligible for an ABLE Employee license?
A: All applicants for an ABLE Employee license obtained after September 30, 2018, must complete server training within 14 days after receiving an ABLE Employee license. 37A O.S. §2-121.
Q: The new law requires mandatory server/seller training prior to an initial license from ABLE. I already have my license. Will I have to take the training when I renew my license?
A: Based on the ABLE Commission’s current interpretation, mandatory server training only applies to new ABLE Employee licensees, not current ABLE Employee licensees or those renewing their licenses. If an ABLE Employee license expires, however, that person would be required to complete mandatory server training. 37A O.S. §2-121.
Q: Can I infuse alcohol at my bar/restaurant?
A: On-premises licensees may infuse alcoholic beverages provided the infused beverage is not aged more than 14 days, not sold more than 21 days after the aging process is complete, and not stored in a container larger than 5 gallons. The on-premises licensee must mix and store the infused beverage on the licensed premise, affix a label to the container setting forth the production date, destruction date, and base product used, and maintain for ABLE inspection reports on when the containers were cleaned. 37A O.S. §5-133(B).
Q: Now that 3.2 beer is going away and it's just "strong beer" being sold, what new rules will ABLE enforce for the outdoor festivals I conduct or participate in?
A: The sale, service, and consumption of all alcoholic beverages will fall under ABLE and local enforcement jurisdiction beginning October 1,2018. A person or entity wishing to sell or serve alcoholic beverages at a festival must obtain the appropriate license(s) and permit(s) from ABLE and local government, such as a public event license, or contract with a caterer or caterer-mixed beverage licensee to sell or serve those alcoholic beverages. 37A O.S. §2-114.