Stopping Your Unit from Going to Auction
If you are a storage customer and you’re having trouble making your monthly rental payments, you need to get a handle on your situation immediately, as the consequences for delinquent payments on a storage unit are increasingly unpleasant and limiting. As soon as you begin to have trouble making your payments, you should be in the office discussing the situation with your facility’s property manager. Making contact with the manager regarding your rent payments is the most important thing you can do as soon as you start having trouble.
Most good property managers will appreciate the fact that you are being upfront and responsible – they will go out of their way to help you because, at the end of the day, they don’t want you to fall behind on your rent payments, either. Handling a delinquent customer takes 3 times the effort and causes 8 times the irritation of handling a customer that makes their payments on time.
Assuming your facility’s manager is willing to work with you, you have a couple different options as regards making your monthly payments more manageable.
Tip #1 – Autopay
Many self storage companies these days offer some form of autopay, which allows you to leave your credit card or debit card information on-file so it can be automatically charged the first of every month. If you are simply having trouble making sure to keep enough money to pay your storage bill, switching to autopay is one good solution as it takes the entire problem out of your hands. Knowing your card is going to be charged a certain amount every month at the same time can help you to more effectively plan around the money you can spend and the money you can’t.
Tip #2 – Downsizing
If autopay alone won’t assist you in fulfilling your financial obligations each month, it may be time to consider downsizing to a smaller unit. You can sell, donate or trash items in your storage unit that you don’t absolutely have to keep. Ask the manager of your facility for the current break down on prices and about availability in units smaller than your current storage shed. Often times having a smaller monthly payment is the quickest and easiest solution to reining in monthly expenditures when they begin to get away from you.
Depending on your storage company, sometimes you will be able to apply some or all of the most recent payment you made on your current unit to the smaller unit if you transfer before using the entire month. Transferring soon after you make a payment can be the cheapest way to get into a smaller unit as long as your company allows crediting to new units. Ask your facility’s property manager about the company policies on transfers before you go through with moving all of your stuff.
Tip #3 – A Payment Plan
If you are already far enough behind on your rent payments that your storage company has overlocked your unit, locked you out at the gate, sent you lien notices in the mail and begun to threaten an auction, you need to look into more drastic measures for stopping your unit from going to sale.
If you have a property manager that is willing to work with you, they may offer or accept a payment plan. This is a somewhat makeshift arrangement between the manager and the delinquent tenant designed to help the tenant pay back what they owe in a timely manner.
If you owe $600 in back rent, for instance, your manager may arrange a plan that sees you paying $150 every week after you get paid in order to make up the total bill by the end of a given month. Usually when a payment plan is made up, it is done with the ultimate goal being for the company to get back most or all of its money and for the customer to move their things out of storage and close out their account. Don’t expect for things to go back to normal after satisfying your obligation through a payment plan – it’s entirely up to the manager’s own discretion whether or not to keep you as a customer.
Typically speaking, if you have been habitually late on making your payments and getting back in touch with the company every time they call you, you can bet that the manager will be looking forward to having you off their property, out of their billing system, and out of their hair.
Coming Up with All of It
Of course, the closer you get to the actual auction day, the less and less likely a manager will be willing to work with you and arrange more special treatment after they have spent 3 months processing your account for sale. If you owe several hundred dollars in late rent payments and accumulated late fees, don’t be surprised if the manager will accept only payment in full and no partial payments.
This means you have seen the end of their patience and that they are unwilling to take another risk on you and re-starting the entire auction process because you handed them $100 of several hundreds that you owe. You are at the point now where you need to beg, borrow or steal in order to get the money together (all of it). Otherwise, you can expect to see your prized possessions on eBay in a few days.