Everything you need to know about self-storage contracts


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Unfortunately, it is not rare that storage facility owners come up with contracts that are written in such a confusing language that tenants have a hard time understanding what's written on the contract. Making sure that a self storage contract is adequately written will go a long way toward eliminating any misunderstandings, as well as allow landlords to protect their self storage facility from lawsuits to some degree.

With that in mind, we've prepared this article on everything you need to know about self storage contracts, whether you're interested in short term or long term storage. After reading our guide, the tenants should know what to expect before signing the contract, and the storage owners will get a chance to remind themselves about all the things they need to write in plain language, so that anyone can understand what's written in the contract.

The financial details

First of all, self storage contracts should feature all the details related to the financial aspect of renting a self storage unit. This information, of course, should include the amount that the tenant will need to pay, the date when they will need to pay, as well as how much money they will need to leave right away as a deposit.

The contract will need to specify after which date the storage owners will consider the payment to be late (which, technically and legally, isn't the same as the arranged payment date). The contract should detail what the fee will be for those tenants who are late with their payments, as well as what action will be taken if a tenant suddenly stops making their arranged payments.

Two men going over self storage contracts.

If there are any additional fees, they should also be included in self storage contracts. For example, if a tenant stops paying rent, the storage facility could sell the tenant's belongings at an auction. However, as organizing an auction takes time, there could be additional fees involved.

"Self storage contracts must include information related to payment, including its full amount, the payment date, and the deposit."

How can the tenant use the facility

Then, the regulations regarding the way a tenant uses the facility should also be included. First of all, many storage facilities - rightfully so - ban certain items in their units. These items are usually flammable, toxic, or they might endanger the facility in some other way. All types of banned items should be specified in the contract.

Also, a lot of storage facilities don't allow the value of all stored belongings to go over a certain figure (usually around 5,000 dollars). Even though the landlords have done everything they can to improve on-site security of self storage units, there's still a possibility of theft. In case something goes wrong and the stored items get damaged or stolen, covering the costs of those items whose value exceeds a certain high figure would be too costly for storage owners.

The contract should also specify in what condition the unit must be in after the tenant has stopped using it. For example, there could be an item in the contract stating that the tenant must remove all of his/her belongings out of storage and that he/she must use a broom to clean it after leaving.

"Banned items, the maximum value of stored items, and the condition of the unit after the tenant has stopped using it should all be regulated by the contract."

Notices that the tenant has to provide

There could also be some items in the contract related to all the notices that the tenant has to give to the landlord. These include a notice in the case that the tenant changes their address of residence or their phone number. As this is vital information in case the tenant is late with payments or there's another, different problem, such items are often included in the contract as a precautionary measure.

Also, there's another important notice that's often found in self storage contracts - the tenant might be obligated to let the landlord know that he or she will be vacating the storage several days or weeks in advance. If you're moving with the help of qualified professionals, such as the ones working for heartmoving.us , it's a good idea to set the moving date with your movers as soon as possible, so that you can ship your belongings from the storage unit without causing problems for the landlord.

"If the tenant changes his or her address or phone number, or if the tenant will be vacating the unit shortly, the landlord must be notified."

What rights does the landlord have

Another part of self storage contracts that the tenants should especially be aware of is the amount of privilege that storage owners may have. For instance, these contracts should specify the exact circumstances under which the landlord has the right to enter a storage unit that the tenant is renting. That usually happens when, for example, the landlord might need to do some repairs. Having that right in writing means that the landlord can make the necessary repairs right away, without having to wait too long.

Also, the contract should specify the exact conditions under which the storage owner can lock the tenant out of the unit that they are renting, as well as what can the tenant do to revoke this ban.

"Self storage contracts should specify cases in which the landlord can lock out the tenant out."

Important legal terminology

Finally, we'll conclude with some legal lingo that both the tenant and the landlord will need to be familiarized with.

  • If the landlord has a lien on personal property, this means that the landlord has the right to store your belongings and, after a certain amount of time, sell it as well.
  • Then, there's another mysterious term called indemnification. If the landlord has the right of indemnification, he won't be financially responsible for any lawsuits brought upon the facility on behalf of the tenant. So, if the facility gets sued because of something one of their tenants did, the said tenant must pay for all the legal proceedings, as well as for any court-ruled judgment.
  • If something happens to the tenant's belongings or the tenant is accidentally injured in the facility, the landlord is privileged to a release of liability. This means that he won't be held responsible for these damages, but only if they were the result of an accident and not the lack of precautions on the landlord's part.
  • Exclusion of warranties is a term specifying that the landlord is not responsible if the tenant is unsatisfied with the unit after signing the contract. So, tenants, be sure to check out the unit thoroughly before you rent it.
  • Breach, the simplest term on this list, refers to any violation of the contract. Basically, in the case a tenant or a landlord do something that's against one or several of the terms written in the contract, an unlawful breach is made.

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