Here at StorageFront, we live and breathe self-storage. We could spend hours talking about how to store your old t-shirt collection, the merits of climate control and why facilities that rent trucks are so awesome. However, since we’ve yet to meet any self-storage groupies (though if you’re out there, we’re totally open to receiving fan mail), we don’t expect you as a consumer to know everything about the industry.
Last week, we attended the Inside Self-Storage World Expo so that you didn’t have to. While the event is geared more towards facility managers, vendors and for some reason, two different booths offering free massages, there was a lot of interesting information for tenants too. Whether you’re looking for a unit, you’re a long time tenant with questions or you’re a diehard fan of self-storage (wishful thinking, we know), we hope that the following pieces of advice can help you in some way. And if you’re thirsty for more knowledge, join us at next year’s Inside Self-Storage World Expo in Las Vegas, Nevada. We hear there’s nothing else going on in that town anyway.
1. Self-Storage Makes You a Better Person
Hear us out on this one. We’re not saying that the simple act of renting a storage unit makes you worthy of sainthood. We’re actually referring to how easy Charity Storage makes giving back. Representatives from this 501(c)(3)organization were at the ISS World Expo spreading the word about the amazing work that they do. Charity Storage partners with storage facilities and uses storage auctions to raise money for nonprofits.
Here’s how it works: The storage facility sets aside a unit for this, accepts donations, auctions off the unit and then Charity Storage gives the proceeds to Kure It Cancer Research and other charities. Because donations come from current tenants, former tenants and members of the community, you don’t even have to rent a unit to help out. This is a great way to get rid of clutter and get a tax-deductible receipt. Most storage facilities will fill their tenants in on the nitty-gritty details of what do donate and when to do it during the leasing process, so if you’re a new renter, be sure to ask your facility manager if he or she is involved in the program.
2. Lien Laws Are Tricky
Do the words “lien laws” make you feel like you’re back in kindergarten listening to your parents talk about the news? When it comes to self-storage, lien laws are basically just the rules that tell your storage facility manager when it’s okay to auction off your unit. If you don’t pay your rent, the storage facility won’t exactly call the camera crew from Storage Wars immediately and let them have at it, but they might eventually do this assuming they’ve made several reasonable attempts to contact you regarding the money you owe. The best way to prevent this from happening is obviously to pay your rent each month, but you should also read your lease before you sign it and see at what point you’ll be considered in default. Once you’re in default, you’ll be locked out of your storage unit as well as the property itself.
But maybe you’ve heard of a little thing called the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act. This law prevents deployed military members from having their stuff auctioned off. The logic is simple. If you’re in the military and you’re overseas, self-storage isn’t the first thing on your mind, so it’s understandable if something weird happens with your rent. And for storage facilities, it looks pretty bad to auction off the belongings of our troops, right? But here’s what we learned at an ISS World Expo legal discussion: If you’re an active duty soldier and your storage unit goes into default while you’re deployed, your storage facility actually can auction it off if they really want to and if they follow the appropriate steps. They can do this by going to state court. If you’re in the military, chances are you won’t ever have to deal with the seriously stressful situation of having a storage unit auctioned off while you’re deployed, but just in case you do, remember to know not only your rights, but the rights of the business too.
3. You Can Bring Your Service Animal to Your Storage Unit
If you have a service animal, whether it’s a dog or a miniature horse (yep, there are service miniature horses), you know how important it is to your well-being. It can be pretty frustrating to face the judgmental gaze of the hostess at your favorite sushi restaurant when you’ve got a serious craving for ahi tuna. The same goes for the front desk at that hotel, the grocery store checkout guy, the mall security guard and the misguided co-worker at your office. You’re probably tired of your well-behaved service German shepherd being treated like a ferocious beast and you’re probably even more tired of having to worry about how he (and you!) will be treated in different establishments.
At the ISS World Expo, we found out how it works with storage facilities. If you want to make a trip to your storage unit with your service animal, the facility manager is legally required to be cool with it. At the most, he or she can ask you to leash your animal. However, if doing so prevents your service animal from actually doing his job, you’re allowed to say no. If the facility manager has a problem with that, remind him or her that you can file a discrimination lawsuit. In the meantime, opt for online bill pay to minimize contact. And if the rude behavior persists, find a new facility. Month-to-month leases benefit you too!
4. Vegas is Awesome
Okay, you probably already knew this and so did we. But seriously, where else can you visit Paris (that’s where the ISS World Expo was), New York, Venice and whatever The Linq is supposed to be all in one day? Where else can you get a pretty decent steak at 3 a.m. and drink a three foot tall margarita in the street? Where else can you see live flamingos, lions, tigers, dolphins and sharks all on the same street? If you happen to hit the jackpot the next time you’re in Sin City and decide you never want to leave, remember that the self-storage industry in Las Vegas is booming. In fact, the city has been ranked as the third most popular U-Haul destination for two years in a row. Search more than 200 facilities in Las Vegas through us and find the right one for you. Viva self-storage!