Are you the kind of person who barely scans important legal documents? According to a recent survey, only 27% of people actually read the fine print on documents before signing them.
Self storage leases, like all leases and other contracts, can often seem dense and complex. And while they don’t make for compelling reading, self storage leases are worth reading. Here are the top 10 things to look for before you sign yours:
1. Rent payment. Obviously, this is the most important information to glean from your self storage lease. Make sure you know how much you owe, when it’s due and what methods of payment are accepted.
2. Gate hours. The lease should state what days and hours you will have access to your storage unit. Holidays may affect this.
3. Termination. This is how much notice you have to give before moving out. Self storage leases are typically month-to-month, but you will still be required to give a certain amount of notice before vacating. Termination details should also include whether or not rent will be prorated.
4. Fees. Besides rent, these are the other fees you may have to pay. This includes late rent fees, admin fees, security deposits, returned check fees and lock cutting fees.
5. Storage insurance. Some storage facilities require you to have storage insurance. They may even offer it on-site, which will allow you to sign up for it when you sign your lease.
6. Lock. The lease should tell you whether the storage facility will provide you with a lock or whether you must provide your own.
7. What you can use your storage unit for. This will specify whether your storage unit can be used for something atypical like band practice or office space. These unusual uses are typically not permitted.
8. Prohibited items. The lease will state items that you cannot store inside your storage unit. This typically includes perishable food, explosives, firearms, live animals and hazardous chemicals, but it may also include unexpected items like jewelry and family heirlooms.
9. What happens if you leave stuff behind. The storage facility will likely dispose of anything you leave behind and may charge you a fee for this. This may not be covered by your security deposit if you were required to pay one.
10. What happens when you don’t pay. You’ll definitely see the word “lien” somewhere in your self storage lease, along with information on what happens if you don’t pay your rent. This will outline the storage facility’s right to take a lien against the contents of your storage unit, which means they can overlock it and begin the process of auctioning it off to recoup rent owed.
If you have additional questions about the self storage process or want to know how to store difficult items, don’t hesitate to ask your storage facility manager. While you’re at it, check out our blog for more storage and moving advice.