Contracts for Storage Units
Before signing a contract at a self storage facility, you want to be aware of the details and the type of information that might be presented to you. It is important to read any storage contract in its entirety before signing it, especially the small print.
Here are some things to be aware of before you are presented with the contract:
- General contract information. The contract or lease you sign protects the goods you plan to store. Although the contract might seem pretty basic, it is still important to scrutinize it. You'll need to know what happens if you are late for a payment, even if it is not your fault. You don't want to lose all of your things to an auction because you didn't read the contract carefully. You also want to see what type of access the self-storage facility employees will have to your items. You want to make sure employees only have access in case of emergency.
- Unit inspection.
Be sure to inspect your space before signing the contract, as it is yours once you sign the lease. If you find vermin, dirt, or leaks after you sign your contract, it is too late. Be sure to note any damages you find on your contract so you are not paying for them later. If the damages you find are major, don't be afraid to request a different storage unit or go to another storage facility.
- Use of moving equipment and vehicle.
Most self storage facilities will let you use vehicles and equipment to move your items for free, but you'll want to read this information very carefully. They may only be offered for free until a certain date. Following that date, you might be charged very high rates for mileage and the time you use the equipment and/or vehicle. You may also have the option to have someone help you pack or move your things, which also is not free. Be sure not to agree to either someone helping or vehicle/equipment rental unless you know the exact cost and have it in writing.
Many self-storage facilities require you to have insurance before you can rent a storage unit. Some facilities will offer their own policies, but those usually do not offer deductibles and have higher rates and lower coverage. It is preferable to insure your self storage unit through an independent self-storage insurance agency or private insurance company.
- Additional costs. Be sure to read the contract carefully for any additional charges that you may not be aware of. Some self storage facilities may ask you to buy a padlock from them, which usually is more expensive than providing your own. Watch out for extra charges such as fees to enter your unit at off hours or to park your car. Many self storage facilities also offer packing and storage materials, but costs can be much higher than if you bring your own.
- Deposits. It is expected that you will have to pay a deposit when signing a contract for a self storage unit. Be sure the deposit is refundable when you remove your things from storage. You also want to be aware of the terms of the refund; be sure they are not expecting unrealistic conditions of your storage unit, which are a guarantee you will not get a refund.
- Terms. See what the procedures are for ending your agreement. Be aware of any extra charges there might be for early termination. Some facilities may let you rent your storage unit month-to-month, while others may require a yearly contract. Find out how much notification is required if you wish to terminate your agreement. Be aware that some facilities might not issue a refund for the time you don't use if you choose to terminate your contract early.
When renting a self storage unit, it is important to read the contract in its entirety. Some facilities may let you take home a sample contract before renting, so don't be afraid to ask for one. If you prepare and take your time reading the contract, the process of signing the contract will be much easier and you will have much less anxiety.
The advice on this website is provided as a courtesy for informational purposes only. "Storage Tips" are offered as-is and no warranty is expressed or implied. For more information, see StorageFront's Terms and Conditions.