Legal alerts / 29.12.2020

Changes in hotel operations in 2021

The new year is bringing a number of changes in how hotels are operated. Effective 1 January 2021, the changes are related in particular to the rules for providing hotel services and classifying hotels.

Rules for providing hotel services

The following changes to the rules for providing hotel services in the Russian Federation[1] will be in force from 1 January 2021 to 31 December 2026:

  • Hotels are no longer required to post rules for accommodation and use of hotel services in each room. At the same time, information about hotel services should be available at reception or on the hotel’s website.
  • The written form of the hotel services contract is considered to have been complied with in a number of cases, including if the guest pays for the reservation, i.e., when the reservation is made.
  • The list of information the hotel services contract must contain has been expanded. In particular, the contract must include (1) information about the type of hotel, the category of the hotel specified in the certificate of a particular category, the room (bed in the room) provided and the address of the hotel; (2) information about the room category, room price (bed in the room), number of rooms (beds in the room); (3) check-in and check-out time (payroll hour).
  • Hotels are no longer required to provide guests with free needles, thread, a set of dishes and cutlery.
  • It will be possible to check into a hotel based on a temporary Russian Federation citizen identity document. Prior to 2021 this was not allowed.
  • The hotel administration will be able to determine at its own discretion how payment for accommodation is made in cases where the time from check-in to check-out is more than 12 hours and in cases when a guest checks out after the check-out time (delayed or late check-out).
  •  The time between one guest’s departure from a room and the new guest’s arrival has been increased to three hours. Previously the interval was two hours. The extra hour between check-ins will allow the hotel staff to prepare the room for the next guest without rushing.
  • When guests have minors (up to 14 years old) accompanying them, they must present a notarized consent of one of the minors’ legal representatives when they check in. Previously the consent had to be notarized only if a minor travelled out of the Russian Federation[2].
  • Minors over the age of 14 can check in without an accompanying person based on (1) ID documents; (2) a notarized consent of one of the legal representatives.

Classification of hotels

The changes to the rules for providing hotel services come with an updated regulation for classifying hotels, also in effect from 1 January 2021 to 31 December 2026 [3]. The new regulation makes the following main changes:

  • The types of hotels have been streamlined. In particular, a new type of hotel[4] has been introduced: the city hotel (hotel), which means a type of hotel located in the city and not having the features of other types of hotels[5]. At the same time, aquatels, farm guest houses, chalets, bungalows and some other types of hotels have been excluded as separate types of hotels.
  • The list of documents to be attached to the application for hotel classification has been updated. Now documents containing information about the hotel, hotel services, rooms and staff must be attached to the application, as well as the following documents that were previously provided only when an on-site expert evaluation was conducted:
  1. a copy of the document on state registration of the legal entity (or individual as an individual entrepreneur);
  2. an extract from the Unified State Register of Legal Entities (Unified State Register of Private Entrepreneurs or document confirming entry in the state register of accredited branches and representative offices of foreign legal entities);
  3. a copy of the notification of commencement of business operations related to hotel services;
  4. an extract from the Unified State Register or a copy of the certificate of ownership or copy of the lease agreement for the building (premises) or a copy of another document confirming the applicant’s right to use the building (premises) to provide hotel services, copies of lease agreements for the land plot on which the objects that are not capital construction or other documents confirming the right to own or use the specified land plot are located.

Notably, the new rules do not require the following to be provided: documents confirming compliance with fire safety, sanitary and epidemiological rules and environmental requirements, documents confirming the facility’s safety and some other documents.

Please note that from 1 January 2021 all hotels with more than 15 rooms[6] that offer hotel services without a certificate of the hotel category specified in the hotel classification regulations, or using a category other than the one listed in the certificate in advertising a hotel name or activities related to the use of the hotel[7] will be subject to administrative liability[8].

Cancellation/Rebooking of reservation until 31 December 2021 

In closing, we remind you that in a state of high alert or an emergency hotels are required to reschedule reservations for which a guest has paid in full or in part by 24 July 2020. The reservation is rescheduled within 18 months from the date of the reservation, but no later than 31 December 2021 (the “Rebooking period”). The hotels must provide equivalent accommodation services[9] and the for the hotel room[10].

If the guest declines such equivalent accommodation services or does not use them by the end of the Rebooking period, the reservation is cancelled and the hotel refunds the payment for the accommodation to the guest by 31 December 2021, including interest on money had and received[11].

There is an exception for those over 65 or who have experienced hardship[12] since 24 July 2020. For them, the reservation fee must be refunded within 90 calendar days from the date of the request, but no later than 31 December 2021.

We also remind you that the Recommendations for the prevention of coronavirus infection issued in June 2020 by the Federal Service for Supervision of Consumer Rights Protection and Human Welfare (Rospotrebnadzor)[13] are still in force for hotels. For more information, please see our earlier alert [LINK].

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In view of the changes described above, we recommend that you review your company’s standard contracts with guests and your hotel rules and bring these documents in line with the changes.

[1]     In accordance with the Order of the RF Government of 18 November 2020, No.1853, “On approval of the rules for the provision of hotel services in the Russian Federation”.

[2]     Item 20 of the Federal Law of 15 August 1996, No.114-FZ, “On the procedure for exit from the Russian Federation and entry into the Russian Federation”.

[3]     In accordance with the Order of the RF Government of 18 November 2020, No.1860, “On approval of the regulation on hotel classification”.

[4]     A hotel is considered as defined in Federal Law of 24 November 1996, No.132-FZ, “On the fundamental principles of tourist activities in the Russian Federation”: an accommodation facility in which hotel services are provided and which belongs to one of the types of hotels stipulated by the regulation on hotel classification approved by the Government of the Russian Federation.

[5]     In particular, (1) a hotel located in a building which is an object of cultural heritage (and/or a revealed object of cultural heritage or an object which is the subject of protection of a historical settlement), (2) a resort hotel, sanatorium, rest house, boarding house, (3) apartment hotel, (4) apartment complex, (5) motel, (6) hostel, (7) country hotel, tourist base, recreation center.

[6]     This prohibition does not apply until 1 January 2022 for hotels with a hotel room capacity of 15 rooms or less (Item 2 of Appendix No. 17 of the Order of the RF Government of 11 June 2020, No.849, “On amendments to the Order of the RF Government of 3 April 2020, No.440”).

[7]     Item 3(4) of the Federal Law of 5 February 2018, No.16-FZ, “On amendments to the Federal Law ‘On the fundamental principles of tourist activities in the Russian Federation’ and the Code of Administrative Offences of the Russian Federation in order to improve the legal regulation of the provision of hotel services and classification of tourist industry facilities”.

[8]     Item 14.39 of the Code of Administrative Offences of the Russian Federation stipulates liability for legal entities: from 1/40 to 1/25 of total proceeds from the sale of all goods (works, services) for the calendar year preceding the year in which the administrative offence was identified, or for the part of the calendar year preceding the date of the administrative offence and in which the administrative offence was identified, if the offender was not involved in the sale of goods (works, services) in the preceding calendar year, but not less than 50,000 rubles.

[9]     I.e., the provision of accommodation services whose consumer properties correspond to the reservation previously made by the consumer, including food services, the category of hotel room and additional services included in the room price.

[10]    I.e., provision of accommodation services at no extra charge, including if the cost of equivalent accommodation services when actually provided is higher than the room rate in the accommodation facility as of the booking date.

[11]    In the amount of 1/365 of the key rate of the Central Bank of the Russian Federation as of 24 July 2020 (4.5%) for each calendar day of use from the day of the client’s request for a refund of the reservation fee.

[12]    Disability, temporary inability to work for more than two consecutive months, and unemployment registration with the state employment authority as a person without earnings.

[13]    Recommendations 3.1/2.1.0193-20. 3.1. Prevention of infectious diseases. 2.1. Communal hygiene. Recommendations for the prevention of new coronavirus infection (COVID-19) in institutions providing temporary accommodation (hotels and other accommodation facilities). Recommendations approved by the Chief State Sanitary Doctor of the Russian Federation on 4 June 2020.

 

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