Wouldn’t it be nice run a storage facility where every tenant followed the rules and there were never any problems? Unfortunately, we don’t live in that world. We live in a world with fallible human beings. Most will understand the importance of your facility’s rules, but a few will ignore them.
Let’s look at the problem of tailgating. That’s when one tenant inputs their code at the gate and drives in, then someone else rolls in behind them before the gate can close. This is a real pain, but there are things you can do to prevent it.
You may be wondering what the big deal is. If the second person through is a tenant, why not just let them come in and get their stuff? If the person isn’t a tenant, they won’t have access to a unit anyway.
When a person puts in their code, it allows you to keep track of when tenants have entered, and when they have left. Yes, if they are an actual tenant, they can be there as long as it takes to do load, unload, or arrange boxes in their unit. However, if they tailgate in, you can’t be sure if it’s a tenant who entered, or a thief.
If the person is a non-renter, there are two major reasons they may tailgate in. The first is that they are there to help the person who was ahead of them. While it’s fine for a tenant to have a friend help them, the proper way to do this is to drive in, park the car, then go back to the gate and enter the code again so the friend can enter.
The second major reason is that the tailgater is a thief hoping to break into a unit, which is the main reason you need to prevent tailgating at your storage facility.
When to Allow Tailgating
Don’t allow tailgating. That’s it. The gate is there to allow one car through at a time.
Make sure your tenants know from their first day that your facility will not tolerate tailgating. Explain the rules, tell them that it’s one vehicle through when the gate opens, no exceptions. You can also explain that if they need help, you can enter, walk back, and re-enter your code for each helper vehicle.
Ask them to pause just past the gate until it closes when there is a car behind them that is not part of their moving crew. That way no one will have the opportunity to tailgate in.
Also, tell your new tenants that if someone tailgates in behind them, that they should contact the office and inform them that someone snuck in behind them. Then, you can deal with the trespasser.
Check gate settings and talk to your gate and security system manufacturers about gate settings. Set the gate to close within a few seconds after the car has cleared it. You don’t want the gate bumping into cars, but you don’t want it left open too long either.
You can also set up your gate system so that if a person did not enter their gate code to enter, their gate code won’t let them out. They’ll have to come to the office, at which time you can give them a warning about tailgating in. This can train tenants quickly, since they will know if they get lazy and tailgate in, they’ll have to go to the office to ask to be let out. Check your state laws or contact the Self Storage Legal Network, as this may be illegal in some states.
Warning and Evicting
If you have repeatedly warned a tenant not to tailgate in and they continue to do it, it’s time to take more serious action. Lock the offender out of the gate and overlock the unit. Immediately serve them a 30-day vacate notice and allow them on the premises to empty their unit only when someone is in the office.
Honestly, it should never get to this point. Having their own unit alarm go off, or being unable to get out, and then receiving a warning, should be enough to teach anyone to follow the rules.
We hope the information here helps you run a smoother self storage operation!