Why some hotels are turning down local residents

An Onalaska woman and her family were recently forced out of their home because of flooding but when they went to check in to a nearby hotel they were refused service.

The Microtel said it has a “no locals” policy in place for safety reasons.

Jane Kjos and her family have been renting a home in Onalaska, but last Wednesday it was almost completely flooded.

They booked and paid for a room at the Microtel on Expedia, but when they showed up they were told they couldn’t stay there.

“We needed to have a good night sleep, or at least six hours, because my grandson needs to be at school,” Kjos said.

After spending all day trying to get water out of their flooded house, Kjos and her family went to the Microtel to check in.

“She said we can’t rent to you. No locals. It’s posted on a sign on their desk. I was in shock,” Kjos said.

Kjos still can’t believe she was refused service.

“I believe in (having) a little bit more communication with that customer walking through the door. You already know that it’s a prepaid room with a credit card,” Kjos said.

The hotel made the no locals policy in 2015 for safety reasons.

Crystal Greenwald, the assistant general manager at Microtel, said, “We’ve had some issues of drug use, prostitution and trafficking. It just keeps my staff and guests safe.”

Before the policy change, the hotel would see between five and 10needles every month.

“Lots of needles. Any hiding spaces, between bed mattresses, inside the toilets, Kleenex holders, toilet paper holders. The cushions in the seat are a perfect spot for people to put their needles. chances are if someone sticks a needle in there you’re going to get stuck,” Greenwald said.

Since the policy change things have significantly improved.

“We haven’t had any issues since then, thank God,” Greenwald said.

The hotel said they will allow people to stay if their house is uninhabitable.

“Most people that are flooded, they get an issue from their landlord or the police department or the fire department and typically they bring that with them,” Greenwald said.

Kjos said the hotel never made that clear to her.

“Nothing was mentioned about a landlord. Tell me– I’ll give you his phone number,” Kjos said.

Kjos is still waiting to get a refund.

The hotel said since she booked through Expedia they are the ones who have to return her money.

The hotel said Kjos should receive her money back within two weeks.

If you are displaced from your home and would like to stay at the Microtel, make sure you have proof when you check in.

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