Italy: Theft From Your Hotel Room In Italy: What To Do And Who Must Pay Damages

Last Updated: 16 April 2019
Article by Arnone & Sicomo

Travelling is a beautiful experience, and now that summer is approaching, the number of tourists travelling to Italy is increasing. Unfortunately, sometimes something unpleasant can happen, for example, when somebody steals from your hotel room in Rome, or from your accommodation in Venice, Milan or Florence.

For this reason, it is important to know all useful details of the contract between hotel and guest, such as the nature of the contract itself and the rights of hotel guests.

First of all, it must be specified that usually contracts between hotels and guests are stipulated orally at the reception, by telephone or electronically. In order to conclude a contract, guests have to accept the hotel's proposal. From a legal point of view, contracts between hotels and guests are atypical consensual mixed agreements, with which hotel managers agree to offer a range of different services to their guests, including the rent of rooms, as well as care and custody of items in each room.

Is the hotel manager liable for a theft from your room? 

Regarding the issue of theft from hotel rooms, which is connected with the hotel's obligation to take care of items left for safekeeping, the first question to ask is: "who is liable in case of theft, destruction or damage of items from a hotel room?".

In order to answer this question, pursuant to Articles 1783 and 1786 of the Italian Civil Code, the following cases must be distinguished:

- A property is brought by guests to the hotel, but not left in the care of the latter;

For the purposes of Article 1783 of the Italian Civil Code, the expression "properties brought by guests to the hotel" means:

1. Properties which find themselves in the hotel during a guest's stay;

2. Properties left in the care of the hotel manager, or of one of his/her relatives or assistants, both inside and outside the hotel.

A property is deposited by the guest expressly for safe custody.

In both cases the hotel manager is liable to make good the damage, but while in the first case liability is limited to the value of the property up to 100 times the price of the accommodation per day, in the second case the hotel manager's liability is unlimited.

Moreover, pursuant to Article 1784 of the Italian Civil Code the hotel manager's liability is unlimited also in case he/she refuses to take custody of:

- Securities;

- Cash money;

- Valuables.

Anyway hotel managers can refuse to take custody of dangerous, excessive in value, or too bulky objects.

Hotel managers cannot be held liable in case they can prove that destruction, damage, or loss of the item depend on:

- The client's fault;

- Events of force majeure, such asin case of robbery of the safe deposit boxes;

- The nature of the item.

Theft from your hotel room in Italy: how to make claims for compensation? 

in case of theft, destruction or damage of items from a hotel room, according to Italian Civil Right, clients are entitled to compensation.

The amount of compensation received by the claimant varies depending on the hotel manager's degree of liability, that is can be limited or unlimited. More in detail, the amount of compensation can be:

limited, that is up to 100 times the price of the accommodation per day, for the above mentioned properties brought by guests to the hotel during their stay;

unlimited, for properties deposited by the guest expressly for safe custody or in case the hotel manager refuses to take custody of properties against his/her obligations.

Indeed, signs with messages like "The Direction is not liable for any personal items left in the rooms or not deposited for safe custody" are irrelevant pursuant to Article 1785-quater of the Italian Civil Code, stating that "agreements and declarations aimed at pre-emptively excluding or limiting the hotel manager's liability are void".

If you are looking for more information about how to make claims for compensation for damages during your holidays in Italy,  click here. 

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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