Declaring status as innkeepers: Motels file lawsuit against MB and Horry Co.

Grand Strand

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW) – A lawsuit was filed on Friday by over a dozen Myrtle Beach motels against the city and Horry County.

The complaint states that Myrtle Beach and Horry County Police Departments will not remove motel guests who don’t pay, violate motel rules, and who disobey the law on their property.

The suit says police instruct motel owners to file through the court system in order to have a tenant removed and that one or more judges in Horry County labeled owners as “landlords.”

Motels say they’ve paid thousands of dollars in legal fees to remove guests.

The motels listed in the lawsuit are as follows:

  • The Aquarius Motel
  • Atlantic Motel North and South
  • Sand Dollar Motel
  • White Sands Motel
  • The Boulevard Motel
  • Summer Winds Motel and 7 Brothers Motel
  • The Blake Motel
  • Fountainbleau Inn
  • Oasis Motel
  • Sea Nymph Motel
  • Sea Palms Motel
  • Americana Motel

The Hopkins Law Firm in Pawley’s Island is representing the businesses.

Prosecuting attorneys say the motels pay accommodation taxes and owners should be considered as “innkeepers” not “landlords.”

The law firm says state law clearly defines the motels as “innkeepers.”

The lawsuit says in part:

“Plaintiffs are entitled to a declaratory judgment declaring their status as “Innkeepers” as defined by statute, and declaring they are not “landlords” and, in fact, are specifically excluded by statute from the terms of the South Carolina Residential Landlord Tenant Act and declaring their legal relationship with their guests as innkeeper/guest and not landlord/tenant.”

The City of Myrtle Beach and Horry County declined to comment due to pending litigation.

Representation from Hopkins Law Firm did not respond to News 13’s phone calls.

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