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Renting a storage unit is a great way for people to store stuff they don’t necessarily need in the here and now but don't want to let go of. Storage units are excellent for people who are short on space in their homes.

Many people also use these facilities to store valuable items or heirlooms. While people buy or rent these storage units in good faith that they will be able to pay the monthly fees, there are many reasons why storage units have auctions, including when those fees aren't paid. Due to the potential sensitivity of these situations, storage unit auction laws are in place. 

If a tenant’s storage unit is up for auction, they should be aware of some public storage auction rules. Once a storage unit is unoccupied or unpaid for an extended period, usually over 90 days, the owner of the storage unit facility can auction off any content within that unit. Most of the time, this is an effort to try and regain some lost profits. Adverank can help facilities receive the optimum exposure to ensure a successful auction. 

The tenant is notified of the situation, and the storage unit is locked. Then, auction procedures can begin. Eleven days before the auction, the storage facility has to place an advertisement for at least a week in a local newspaper or social media page. 

This auction may occur in person or online, or both, depending on the facility. The specific details on the timeline before a storage unit auction will be detailed in any renter lease. 

How To Get Your Stuff Back From Storage Auction

Many people wonder how to get their stuff back from a storage auction once it has started. Nothing in the law states that the storage unit facility must return its tenants’ belongings when an auction has begun. Many storage companies will give their tenants back the contents of their storage unit even if the auction has started as long as they settle their debts.  

If a storage facility will not release a tenant’s belongings, the next logical question for them is, “Can you buy your own storage unit at auction?” Again, most facilities would rather that their tenants settle their debts, but if this isn’t possible, most states will allow the tenant or a person acting for them to bid.  

These storage unit auction laws allow the tenant to continue their agreement and/or retrieve their belongings. However, they also protect the storage facility and give them a chance to regain any outstanding rental fees they may have missed out on. Implementing these laws helps to reasonably support each side of this agreement while being realistic that contracts sometimes can be broken. 

Storage Unit Renters Rights

Suppose the tenant cannot pay their rent for a storage facility. In that case, the tenant has two options. They can either pay the storage unit facility or take a chance on losing their possessions. The storage facility is entirely within its rights to auction the tenant's possessions as long as it has given the proper notice to the tenant of their default and followed the procedure detailed within their contract. 

If a tenant cannot pay off their debt before an auction and their possessions are sold to an unknown buyer, they may want to find out: “Who bought my storage unit?” But the unfortunate answer is that if the auction was completed legally, there is no way to contact the buyer. However, if the auction was conducted illegally, the tenant may be able to take legal action. 

State laws can differ regarding the specifics of storage unit renter’s rights. In all states, the tenant must be notified via a communication method such as phone, email, or headed letter.

Storage Unit Renters Rights Florida

Tenants can receive late fees if they pay their rent after a specified date. Within their rental contract, they will be given a limit on the value of possessions they are allowed to store. If tenants leave motorcycles within an unpaid unit, they could be towed without the tenant’s permission. When rent is unpaid, tenants have five days from the date the rent was due to either reclaim their belongings or settle their debt before owners can begin action.

Storage Unit Renters Rights Ohio

Tenants can use an email address as their last known address, which may be more feasible as some people move often. Tenants can only use storage units for personal property.

Storage Unit Renters Rights New York

If the tenant falls behind on payments in New York, once a court has verified the default payment, their possessions could be at risk. But if they have fully paid, they legally have a right to their possessions.

Storage Unit Renters Rights Colorado

Colorado storage unit renter rights are similar to the previous states as tenants have to be properly notified by the facility stating how much is owed. Tenants legally have thirty days before they lose their possessions.

Storage Unit Eviction Process

So now, storage facility owners are more familiar with the tenant’s rights; if the occupant cannot pay their debt, what is the storage unit eviction process?

There are several reasons why a storage unit facility may want to evict its tenant, including living in the storage unit, damaging property, storing prohibited items, and inappropriate behavior. Not paying rent is the main reason for eviction.  

The eviction process can go on for a few weeks or months, depending on the state, but here is the basic structure that most eviction processes go through before an auction occurs. 

Every tenant’s rental lease will contain details of the process that will occur if they do not make all the scheduled payments. 

  • A lease termination letter will be sent to the occupant’s last known address and usually copied to their email. This letter will include the provisions set out in the rental agreement, and a 10-day notice to vacate the storage unit is given.
  • If the rent continues unpaid, storage unit owners can place a storage lien or eviction, depending on the circumstances. A storage lien gives them a legal claim to the tenant’s property. The storage facility may have to wait up to 90 days to receive this right, so eviction is the quicker option.
  • Once the ten days are up, the storage facility can proceed with the auction, and an advertisement in the local newspaper has to be displayed every day for a week. Another option is to onboard a tech-enabled ad management platform like Adverank to manage the auction advertising before and during. They will ensure that the storage facility receives as much exposure as possible via pay-per-click advertisements and other advertising methods.
  • Once the advertising is complete, the auction can be completed as long as the tenant has not paid their debt in total during this period.

Storage Unit Rent Increase Laws

Looking to increase a tenant’s rent can incur a slew of complaints and a potential disgruntled customer. But incremental rental rate increases are pivotal for a successful storage unit business.

How Much Can a Storage Unit Raise Rent

Every business handles rental increases differently, and storage unit rent increase laws are vague regarding how much rents can increase. Most companies will make rental increases a part of a yearly schedule so that it won’t catch any customers by surprise. 

As long as the storage facility is fair, few customers will leave even if they do complain.

If a storage company has not correctly notified a tenant of this increase, that is unlawful and could leave the facility open to a lawsuit. It is a breach of contract storage facility not to inform its tenants of an upcoming rental increase.

How to Sue a Storage Facility

If the tenant is unhappy with their rental increase, they can sue the storage unit facility, but there are several things they should consider before going down that route. If the storage facility reviews the rental contract, it should be stated that they have been given the right to increase their tenant’s rent, and in sound, detail-orientated agreements, it may even say the amount of the increase.  

If the increase is stated within a contract, the storage facility is lawfully allowed to increase the rent as long as they notify their tenants. If the tenant is still unhappy, they could leave a civil review or make a Better Business Bureau complaint, and the storage facility could contact them regarding this rental increase.

How Long Before Storage Unit Is Auctioned.

When a tenant is in financial trouble and is renting a storage unit, they might need to know how long before a storage unit is considered abandoned by the storage facility.  

Many tenants who default on their rent for storage units are given a grace period before the auction begins. This grace period differs between states; mostly, it is 30 days, but it can be less. If a tenant is unsure of their grace period, it will be stated in their rental agreement. 

During this grace period, a storage facility will contact the renter through phone, letters, and/or email to notify them of the default, and if no action has occurred, they are clear to begin the auction process.

During the auction process, companies like Adverank, experts in digital advertising for the self-storage industry, can help advertise and increase a facility’s pay-per-click and social media advertising. Many companies think that PPC advertising is too complicated or challenging to manage. Adverank will seamlessly set up these advertising channels and manage them to reach as many people as possible.

Ads are customized to the customer’s wants and needs and designed based on keywords applicable to the facility and their budget.

Contact Adverank today to increase customers and traffic on any upcoming auction you may be organizing.