Can you live in a hotel?

I can tell you from personal experience of living in a hotel and later working at one that yes, you can in fact live in a hotel, but it depends on the laws of where you live.

When I lived at one

I grew up in California and lived on my own since the day I turned 18. I spent the night of my 18th birthday in my friend’s car. The next day, I found a motel a little ways from where I worked. The clerk wanted $500/month. I wasn’t able to put it all upfront, but I paid a good chunk of it and he let me pay the rest later. Within a month, I was on schedule to pay him the full rent when it was due. Altogether, I lived there for 4-5 months before moving out to rent a room from someone. This was all in 2000.

Living in a hotel was affordable for me at the time. I made around $700/month flipping burgers at Wendy’s, but the perks of living in a hotel is that it came furnished with electricity, water, and all the amenities paid for. I even had soap and towels, and the linen was cleaned by the hotel when I requested it (otherwise I told them to not come and do their dailies). It even came with a TV and HBO.

I road a bicycle, and my job was about 10-15 minutes away. I purchased a single-burner hotplate to cook Top Ramen, and in addition, the most of what I ate was leftover food at the end of the night from my job that would have otherwise been thrown out.

One might say that $500/month rent while making $700/month is living tight, and it kind of was, but when you don’t have any dependents and all of your immediate needs are covered, then most of the remaining money was spending money. I didn’t have health insurance, but I was young and healthy and never needed medical care. If I needed something for a cough or a headache, I’d just buy the medicine. Life wasn’t that bad.

When I worked at one

I worked at Motel 6 in Washington state in 2008. I was told we didn’t allow guests to stay more than 30 days (give or take), because they’d then become a tenant, but one exception was made for an older woman and her grandson who were driven out of their own home by the woman’s own son. They definitely were tenants, but they were good tenants.

It’s actually not worth the cost, but I learned after talking about this on Quora that some people can’t afford the cost to move-in to an apartment, and others choose not to rent a room from anyone because they want their own space. I can totally understand that. I rented rooms or otherwise had shared living most of my life, up until I bought a house in 2016, and even then, I have rented the extra bedrooms on occasion. Good roommates can be hard to come by. I’ve had many, so I know.


I was inspired to write this blog post because of my Quora answer that became my most popular answer. You can read it here:

Eric Sweeten’s answer to Can you legally live in a hotel? – Quora