What are motels?

Motels are a form of overnight accommodation generally tailored toward motorists. They tend to be found close to roads and highways, often outside of cities but along popular tourist routes.

They generally have a number of guest rooms and may have some additional facilities, but will usually have fewer amenities than hotels. They can be independent or part of a chain.

In most cases, when you buy a motel you buy the goodwill, plant and equipment, intellectual property and other assets used by the seller to operate the motel; and either

•  the land and buildings outright (if you are buying a freehold motel); or

•  a lease over the land and buildings (if you are buying a leasehold motel).

Our industry leading lawyers are experienced in freehold and leasehold motels.

Difference between freehold and leasehold?

A freehold business means that the buyer is essentially buying both the business and underlying assets. A freehold motel would typically include owning the land and building along with any other non-moveable property.

A leasehold business involves a lease or licence to use the building and land to operate a business. If you purchase a leasehold motel, you will be able to operate the motel within the building and land for a fixed period of time, as stated on the motel lease agreement.

Leaders in accommodation law

Our dedicated team have been trusted advisors to a large number of successful motel owner / operators for over 30 years.

We are a preferred supplier to the accommodation managers’ industry, and have been the Australian Residential Managers Association (ARAMA) service provider of the year for the past 3 years.

Who we act for

Mahoneys has had a long history of supporting the accommodation industry, having acted for small independent regional motel owner / operators through to large National motel chains in Queensland, New South Wales and other states.

How we help our clients

Owning and / or operating a motel can be a rewarding and (sometimes) challenging business. Getting the right advice, and support, from the beginning is crucial to the success of any motel business.

As a full services law firm, with a specialised focus on motels, we have the experience to support owners and operators with all their legal and compliance requirements.

The key services that we provide our motel owner / operator clients includes:

  • buying and selling motels (leasehold and freehold)
  • reviewing, negotiating and documenting motel leases
  • terminating motel leases / agreements
  • reviewing, negotiating and documenting supply / service agreements
  • reviewing, negotiating and documenting employee / contractor arrangements
  • general advice, including: workplace relations , occupational health and safety,  licensing requirements, legal compliance
  • disputes and other disagreements, including: disputes with lessee / lessor, breaches and default, defamation, shareholder disputes

Other services we provide include:

  • setting up personal / corporate structures for motel businesses
  • reviewing and negotiating franchise agreements
  • reviewing, negotiating and documenting shareholder and partnership agreements
  • reviewing, negotiating and documenting alternative structures for owning and running motels including partnerships, joint ventures and consortiums

In the 2022 edition of Doyle’s Guide to the Australian Legal Profession, Mahoneys is named a leading Queensland Property & Real Estate Law Firm. Furthermore John Mahoney (Property & Real Estate and Leasing) and Amy O’Donnell (Leasing) were recognised as leading Queensland property Lawyers. Amy was also recognised for Real Property Law in the 2023 Edition of Best Lawyers® in Australia.


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4 June 2024

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Need assistance with your motel or short term accommodation business?

Call the team on 07 3007 3777 or fill in the form

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