self-storage abandonments
June 7, 2023

Avoiding Self-Storage Abandonments

Whether you are new to the self-storage industry or have a few years of experience, it can be challenging to deal with the issues arising from self-storage abandonments or storage unit abandonments. Abandonments are an expected part of the business. Just as major retailers must deal with shoplifting, self-storage operators must deal with delinquent accounts.

Before you set up a game plan to deal with abandonments, you must ensure the unit is actually abandoned. Follow the letter of the Lease Agreement. Even if there are certain provisions and standards that your tenants must meet before their unit is considered abandoned, such as no lock and lack of payment, it is still best to practice a little caution.

You can be technically and legally in the right: did all the right paperwork, met all requirements, and waited the right amount of waiting periods (patiently). However, individual circumstances and the fact that we live in an imperfect reality, means that you could be morally in the wrong. And while you will not face legal repercussions, it may backfire in ways you never anticipated. The reputation of your business is reliant upon how you handle customers who are less than forthcoming.

Voluntary Self-Storage Abandonment
Nonstop communication with a tenant that has informed you of their inability to keep up with monthly payments is the ideal solution. Voluntary abandonment is a way to work with tenants who can no longer afford to pay their bills every month. This process will take some time, but it is a sure way that both parties can be satisfied with the results. You also maintain your company’s reputation as being a business that is benevolent to its customers.

Abandonment Forms
You are probably already familiar with abandonment forms since storage professionals tend to have those on hand anyway. During voluntary abandonment, you can ask your tenant who is planning to close their account to sign an abandonment agreement that lets you take possession of the contents in the unit. This way, you have a clean and legal catalyst to start emptying out and auctioning off the items in storage.

This is preferable to the steps to take in the event of an abandonment where the tenant cannot be reached to make a final decision. In this case, you would need to go through the lien process, explained below.

Involuntary Self-Storage Abandonment
In the case of involuntary abandonment, when a tenant has failed to pay and you have exhausted your efforts in contacting them, the process to clear up your space for paying customers is the next step.

Lien On Me
As the owner of your storage business, a lien sale to recuperate costs is a necessary action you must take. Different states have different laws and provisions for this, so make sure you are studied up on your state’s specific requirements.

The Storage Group is quick on the uptake with rental abandonments with the innovative technological integration of our online self-storage directory ClickandStor® Online Rental Suite. Not only do your tenants love the intuitive navigation, but you will love how easy it is to manage abandonments and everything else to do with your storage units. Reveal abandonments before you are left wondering what happened.