Safe Deposit Box Procedures in Hotels
The following procedures will ensure that all properties comply with the use of safe deposit boxes by registered guests (boxes are not to be issued to non-registered individuals).
Failure to comply with government requirements can result in the forfeiture of protection offered by these statutes. Any departure from these procedures must be reviewed by management.
Responsibility: The hotel manager is responsible for procedure implementation and training of front desk personnel. Periodic, documented audits of critical elements of the program are also required.
Safe Deposit box Location: A protected area should be provided for guest activity with his/her box. If the area is enclosed, the door should be kept shut at all times. Entry should be using a key code-activated locking device. If the area is not enclosed, a location should be used that provides adequate security for this activity (i.e., back office, business centre). A closed-circuit TV is recommended for enclosed rooms for someone who is not supposed to be there.
Limits of liability: Each Hotel should define specific limits for the monetary liability of a registered guest’s property. Limits of liability for safe deposit boxes should be
1) In writing on the Safe Deposit Box Agreement card (along with state statute reference number),
2) Posted over the safe deposit boxes, and
3) Placed on the inside lid of the safe deposit box tray. The dollar amount stated must be the same as the state statute.
Safe Deposit Box Agreement Card
Note: You can also download the sample safe deposit box card from here.
Safe Deposit Box Keys: Guest keys for boxes are to be kept in a locked key cabinet until issued. The key to this cabinet is to be on the MOD/designated key ring at all times. The property’s control key is not to be kept
1) in a drawer.
2) in the door of an empty box, or
3) on a hook/ring behind the front desk.
Procedures for Sign-Up and Initial Use:
- The registered guest completes the Safe Deposit Box Agreement.
- The front desk agent checks the card for completeness, fills in the time and date of box issuance, and signs the card. The card is filed by box/key number.
- The agent hands the box key to the guest and informs him/her about the ”one-key policy” and the fee for drilling if a key is lost.
- The guest is escorted to the safe deposit box area.
- The agent unlocks the box by inserting the guest key and control.
- The box tray is removed by the agent and given to the guest along with his/her key. The guest places his/her property into the tray.
- The guest returns the tray to the agent, along with his/her box key. After locking the box, the agent returns the guest key and secures the control key.
Procedures for Accessing the Box: When a guest wishes to access his/her box, the following procedures must be followed
- The guest wishes to access his/her key and requests access. The front desk agent asks for the guest’s name. The agent does not take the guest’s key at this time.
- The agent pulls the Agreement card and verifies the information to confirm the guest’s identity. This includes room number, home address, and other information given on the card.
- Upon confirmation of the guest’s ID, the agent has the guest sign a Safe Deposit Box Access slip. The signature is checked against the original on the Agreement card.
- If the signature is the same, the agent signs and dates the Access slip and staples it to the Agreement card. All subsequent Access slips are stapled to the card.
- The process continues from the ”Sign Up and Initial Use” procedures, Step 4.
Procedures for Surrendering Box: The following procedures are to be followed whenever a guest wishes to surrender his/her box.
- Follow the same procedures for box access up to and including the handling of the tray and guest key to the guest, Step 6.
- After the guest empties the tray and returns it to the agent, the agent asks if the tray is empty. If the guest says ”Yes,” the agent visually checks the tray.
- The agent places the tray back into the box, inserts both keys, locks it, and removes the control key.
- The guest signs and dates the line on the back of the Agreement card for surrendering the box. The agent confirms this and signs and dates the card. The card is filed with the hotel registration card.
Procedures for Guest Leaves without Surrendering Box:
The following procedures must be followed whenever a guest checks out of the hotel without emptying his/her box.
1. The guest must send a notarized letter indicating:
- his/her request that the box be opened
- the box’s contents and value
- how the contents are to be returned to the guest
- if the guest will have a representative present when the box is opened
2. The MOD and one front desk agent must be present when the box is opened
3. The guest’s letter is signed and dated by the MOD and agent, indicating that the written instructions were followed.
Procedures for A warrant Presented for Box Contents:
Whenever a law enforcement officer presents a warrant for the contents of a safe deposit box, the following procedures must be followed:
- The property retains a copy of the warrant.
- The MOD is present when the box is opened and the contents are inventoried.
- The warrant is signed and dated by the MOD, indicating that the box was opened and all contents were delivered to the officer.
Procedures for Abandoned Box:
The determination of whether property in a safe deposit box has been ”abandoned” must be considered carefully by local laws. The process must involve the hotel manager and complete documentation of all actions must be maintained.
Procedures for Special Requirements:
- Guest loses key–The property has the box drilled by a qualified locksmith or facilities engineer. This procedure is witnessed by the MOD, and proper documentation is maintained. The guest is charged for drilling according to the property’s policy.
- Property loses control key–To maintain the integrity of the safe deposit box system, a new control key must be replaced for all control locks.
- Record retention–Safe deposit box records (cards, guest letters, warrants, etc.) must be retained for seven (7) years.
- Audits–Keys, cards, and boxes should be audited nightly by the night auditor. The hotel manager should conduct an audit of the safe deposit box program at least quarterly. All audits are to be documented.