Every year, thousands of storage units go into default across the United States and it’s not a good experience for the storage facility or the renter. Rick Runnells, owner of River Road Mini Storage in Paso Robles, CA, says that it costs management to process the liens, including auction notices, and selling someone’s personal property does not always cover the past due rent and expenses.
“No one wants another to lose their personal property,” said Runnells. “The laws that oversee self-storage units in California are written to give the tenant every reasonable opportunity to get caught up on rent and other charges or to move out of the unit. Most storage managers start the lien process as a last resort.”
Life happens, and it’s important to keep in touch with storage management when difficulties arise. An accident, an unexpected illness, or some other unforeseen event that might cause a delay in payment can most often be worked out to everyone’s satisfaction.
The California Self Storage Facility Act, that is part of the California Business and Professions Code, is very specific about how storage facility management must start and complete a lien. It is also specific about what the renter can do to stop the lien and recovery their property.
- The storage manager can’t do anything until payment is at least 14 days late. Then, a “Preliminary Lien Notice” may be sent, notifying the renter that his or her right to use and enter the storage facility will end on a specific date. The termination date must be no less than 14 days from the date on the preliminary notice.
- If the renter does not respond by the termination date, management sends a “Notice of Lien Sale,” stating a date after which the contents of the storage unit will be sold. The sale date must be no less than 14 days after the “Notice of Lien Sale.”
- The renter may avoid a lien sale by paying the amount of the lien or send a declaration opposing the lien sale to management by certified mail.
- If the date provided in the “Notice of Lien Sale” passes without the renter paying, management must advertise the anticipated sale in a publication, once a week for two weeks.
- The renter still has the opportunity to pay off the lien during the publication period, but may not get property returned until later.
- If the sale goes forward, the renter has the right to any amount left over after past due rent, late charges and other expenses.
The chances are that a temporary solution can be worked out if a renter is late due to unfortunate circumstances beyond his or her control. It is important to notify the storage management as soon as possible to avoid any complications.
Other things a renter can do to help avoid the lien process include:
- Set up automatic payments so the monthly rent is deducted from your bank account
- Keep the automatic payment system updated with new expiration dates if using a debit or credit card
- Provide a secondary debit or credit card in case the first one doesn’t process for any reason
- Read the rental contract so you know exactly what your obligations are
- Pay ahead a month or two or pay ahead when you are going on vacation, a business trip, or going in for a scheduled medical procedure
- Notify storage management when you are going to be out of town for more than a few days
- Consider downsizing to a more affordable unit before financial difficulties get out of hand
- Allow plenty of time if moving out of the unit is the best solution
River Road Mini Storage is a secure self-storage facility dedicated to making the needs of its customers a top priority. The company’s goal is to supply Paso Robles with a friendly, clean and secure facility at a reasonable price.
River Road Mini Storage
1631 North River Road
Paso Robles, CA 93446