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 information about Oklahoma's Mixed Beverage County Restrictions?
County restriction list
Where can I find a list of Governmental Agencies?
Oklahoma Governmental Agencies
Where can I find an ADA checklist for new lodging properties?
Pertaining to and reviewed by the ABLE Commission:
Q. Can a guest take alcohol from my bar to the hotel lobby after hours?
Where can I find information about items 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. No. All alcohol must be purchased before 2:00am and consumed at the bar or you can take that drink to your room to finish it.
Q. Who can be held responsible if someone drives away from a mixed beverage establishment intoxicated and causes a traffic accident?
A. All employees handling or serving the alcohol, bartenders, managers or owner/licensee. Anyone is liable and can be charged civilly.
Q. Can I offer alcohol as a part of my room package?
A. Yes, but you have to provide the value of the alcohol and offer the package at the designated rate minus the value of the alcohol to anyone that doesn't want the alcohol. Example: $150 Valentine package that includes room, chocolates, and champagne. Champagne valued at $50. If customer chooses not to accept the champagne, room must be sold at $100.
Q. Can a hotel be held civilly liable if a guest provides alcohol to a minor in a guest hotel room?
A. Yes, could be civilly liable.
Q. Can parents furnish alcohol to children in banquets/private parties/weddings/ receptions or other events?
A. No. (Title 37, Oklahoma Statutes, Section 246)
Q. How old does someone have to be to set up a portable bar or banquet bar?
A. An individual must be 21 years of age to handle alcohol. You must post the designated bar sign on the bar.
Q. Can customers bring alcohol to guest rooms or at the pool?
A. No, not if the facility has a liquor license.
Q. What is the definition of a common area of a hotel?
A. Any area that has public access.
Q. Is your property licensed or non-licensed?
A. The licensed premise should be clearly defined of all designated areas with ABLE.
Q. Who must obtain a service or bartender license? And where do I get one?
A. Anyone serving/selling/mixing/stocking strong beer, wine, or liquor. This includes all employees, bartenders, managers, and owners. To apply for an Alcohol Beverage Employee license go online to www.able.ok.gov and select the box ABLE online licensing to register then complete an application and pay the $30 license fee. You will be able to print a temporary license good for 30 days to give to your employer then login online after 14 days to print off the permanent license that is good for 2 years. Failure to provide a copy to your employer or have a copy with you could result in a fine.
Q. Can an 18 year old licensed server pour wine at the table for customers?
A. Yes, the server may carry the bottle from the designated bar pick up area to the table and pour the wine for the customers.
Q. What is the maximum penalty for falsifying an Oklahoma Drivers License?
A. The minimum fine is $1,000 up to $10,000 and 7 years imprisonment.
Q. How many drinks can a person be served before becoming intoxicated?
A. It depends on several factors including: food, water, time, gender, body size, and the amount of alcohol consumed.
Q. What are the rules for Happy Hour & other service restrictions?
A. The law does differentiate between “happy hour”, “drink specials”, and “promotions”. Happy Hours in mixed beverage establishments are illegal - no reduced drink prices; However, they are permitted to reduce the price for low point beer. Low point beer establishments have the following rules: A restaurant selling low point beer only with designated bar cannot have happy hour. (Title 37, Oklahoma Statutes, Section 220) A low-point beer bar can have happy hour. (Title 37, Oklahoma Statutes, Section 246B)
Drink specials must occur for an entire calendar week. (Example: Sunday-Saturday) Promotions are allowed if they follow the same calendar week schedule. The law does not allow a licensee to offer a food and drink combination for a special price.
Q. What are the penalties for serving or selling to a minor?
A. For Low point beer: Misdemeanor punishable by up to 1 year imprisonment and/or up to a $550 fine. For all other alcoholic beverages: Felony punishable by up to 5 years imprisonment and/or up to a $2,500 to $5,000 fine.
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
- 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.