Know Your Rights as a Storage Unit Renter or Tenant
All of us have some sort of transition period in our lives. It could be when we move out of our parent’s home to go to college, military or for employment. We may be moving our families to a new home, or we may just need some extra storage space for our belongings. We may find storage rental facilities to store our personal belongings.
These facilities are very useful and practical for these purposes. However, there are things you must check to ensure that your belongings are adequately protected from being seized, damaged, moved, and/or sold against your will if you fail to perform some duty owed to the storage facility. You also could unknowingly waive your right to take action against the storage facility’s failure to follow the proper procedures for notifying you of your default.
Tips for Protecting Your Rights as a Tenant
1. Written Lease Agreement
First of all, ensure there is a written lease agreement between you and the storage facility owner/landlord. This will clearly demonstrate what rights, duties, and obligations you have to the storage facility owner. Also, it will show what obligations and duties the storage facility owner owes to you and your property.
2. Opening without Consent?
Second, ensure the lease for the storage space addresses the common question of “whether the owner can come into my rental unit without my consent?” The answer is no unless the owner enters the unit during an emergency to inspect, repair, alter, improve or “to supply necessary or agreed services.” The owner, upon “reasonable request,” can inspect, repair, alter, or improve the space for necessary or agreed upon services, but you must first be given notice and you must consent to the owner entering the space. These rights can vary by the terms of the lease, so make sure to get an attorney to help you review and or negotiate the lease terms.
3. What About Your Personal Property?
Third, ensure that the lease states, in bold font, something similar to: “The Owner of this rental space is hereby asserting a lien against the occupant’s [your] personal property within the rental space.” By law, the storage facility owner has a lien against your personal property in the space. The owner can sell, move, or dispose of your property if you fail some duty and/or obligation in the lease.
4. Time Limit and Notifications
Fourth, the owner cannot take any enforcement action against you or your property unless 30 days of your “continuous default” on your obligations/duties to the owner under the lease. You have a right to receive written notice (or electronic notice if the owner meets specific criterion) of your default from the owner. The notice must have very specific things in it or it fails as adequate notice to you, and the owner may not be able to take action against you. There are also specific notice and publication requirements for any sale of your rental property as a result of your default. It is vitally important to consult an attorney to ensure the owner followed the specific notice provisions they gave to you of any alleged default, or else your property could be damages and sold without recourse.
5. Satisfying Any Obligation
Finally, you may satisfy your obligation to the owner to get your property back before it is sold. However, you must act before the sale occurs or your personal property could be lost.
Protect Your Rights & Property at a Storage Facility
If you or someone you know has had their personal property seized, moved, damaged, wrongfully sold, or have been mistreated with by a storage facility, contact Trinity Law to ensure your rights are protected.
The above paragraphs are not intended to render legal advice. Contact an attorney with any legal questions you may have.