There’s been a lot of talk recently about the legality of repossessed storage lockers. That’s because most of the time that a local storage auctions occurs, there’s a good chance that the owner of the delinquent storage locker is going to show up!
What exactly happens when the previous owner of a repossessed storage shows up to see their belongings on the chopping block?
The legality of selling a repossessed storage locker just comes down to the details. So long as the self storage company took care to follow all the legal procedures, there’s really nothing the previous owner can do, even if they show up on auction day and start screaming and hollering about their things!
If the previous tenant of the repossessed storage locker did not pay their monthly rent for an extended period of time (about three and a half months on average) then there’s really nothing they can do about the selling of their belongings via public auction.
So, as many people ask us, what exactly goes into legally selling someone’s repossessed storage unit via a public auction? The majority of the legwork is done by the property manager, the poor soul that’s constantly trying to chase down the delinquent tenants by phone, e-mail and even text messages. Once it begins to look like there’s going to be a payment problem, the self storage property manager will begin to make a great effort to get in touch with the customer in order to let them know that they’re on the wrong path.
Thus begins the great and irritating struggle to try and help the delinquent storage customer by getting in touch with them. Regardless of the reason that the customer still hasn’t made a payment after the first and second late fees have been applied to their account, most of the time the property manager will do their best to start up a conversation with them about their account.
This can be a pretty daunting task! Property managers have to deal with the hostility and resentment of the very same people they’re going out of their way to assist. Sometimes you’ll call up a delinquent tenant, just trying to help them out by letting them know their situation and the various options they have for remedying it, and you’ll get the run-around or the stonewall from their agitated family members.
In terms of legality, self storage companies take the correct and legal process for selling a delinquent storage unit very seriously. That’s because there are plenty of wrongful sale lawsuits that customers have brought against storage companies. Regardless of whether or not they were a good tenant or never paid their rent, the legal burden falls on the self storage company to correctly process all delinquent units in accordance with applicable state laws.
Most state lien laws, which self storage companies monitor very closely, stipulate that companies must make consistent and satisfactory efforts to contact their delinquent tenants over time. Usually, storage facilities will fulfill these obligations by sending out regular delinquent notices, which they timestamp.
This allows the company to present sufficient evidence of non-payment, as well as many good-faith attempts on the part of the company to contact the delinquent tenant, should the issue ever reach a court!