Some people see TV shows like Storage Wars as an endless source of interest and fascination, but for those of us with a lot of valuable and important things in storage, it can be a huge cause of worry. No matter how on top of things you are, there’s always a chance that you might be a few days off – does this mean they can just turn around and sell your things?
Different states mean very different laws
One of the first things to realize with storage units is that there are very different laws, which means different protections for the renter. In some states, you need to have months of notices and communications before a storage company can put your unit up for auction. Even then, many states allow the original renter to pay the full amount owed right up until the day before the auction in order to stop proceedings.
There are other states that have virtually no protection for the renters at all, and the storage company can put your unit up for auction almost right away. When you’re getting storage, make sure you check all the state laws on what protections you have. As of yet, there is no uniform code on this subject.
Individual companies also vary massively from one another
Even in states that allow what often seem like absurdly fast turnaround times when it comes to being able to auction off your stuff, you will find that different companies handle these situations differently. If you’re in a state that doesn’t offer a lot of renter’s rights, look for a storage service that writes protections into their rental agreement with you.
Don’t take a verbal agreement – you want written in your contract that you get 30 days or 60 days or whatever seems reasonable. You need that protection in writing if you want it to have teeth – and honest companies won’t have any problems giving that to you. In states that offer these protections by law, this is a lot less important.
Ask a lot of questions
Never be afraid to ask questions about the policies a storage place has. How many times do they contact you if there’s a problem? How many methods do they use to contact you? Will they work with you to figure out a solution if something comes up and puts you several months behind? How often do they put up storage units for auction?
These are all legitimate questions and if you’re concerned because you travel a lot or have inconsistent income (unemployment, seasonal work, business owner, freelancer, etc) then you need to make sure you get the information that you need to make an informed decision.
Final thoughts to help you find the best storage deal
Admittedly, I have relatively little experience in dealing with late fees and procedures for overdue storage payments, so don’t take any of these tips as “Gospel Truth.” However, in the limited experience I’ve had there are some basic recurring things I’ve noticed that might be useful for you to think of as possible trends:
- Climate controlled storage units are less likely to do the “quick flip” than outdoor storage, possibly because of the emphasis on charging a little more month to month for a “higher” clientele
- Make sure to review all storage unit rental agreements before signing
- Check online reviews – you’re not interested so much in star ratings as common themes or complaints that come up repeatedly as those indicate a pattern of behavior
- If something seems fishy don’t hesitate to walk away – always trust your gut!
Follow these tips and use this information, and you’ll be on your way to getting the best renter’s deal possible.