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Understanding Your Self Storage Lease

Krista Diamond | Jan 15, 2019

After choosing a storage unit online or in person via a Storelocal Tenant Interface, your next step is to sign your lease agreement. You might feel the way most people do when confronted with a long document: overwhelmed by all of the legal language and ready to just sign the thing so you can move on with your day.

We admit it; self storage lease agreements aren’t thrilling documents, but you should still take the time to read yours so that you understand a few basic things. Here’s are seven things to look for when reading your lease.

Rent (And When It’s Due)

This one is a no-brainer. Make sure you know how much money you’ve agreed to pay, when it’s due and how to pay it. Find out if auto-pay is available and sign up for it if you’d like. You should also familiarize yourself with other fees that you might be expected to pay including an admin fee, security deposit and other fees.

Accessing Your Storage Unit

Make sure that you know what hours the facility is open which days of the week so that you know exactly when you can access your storage unit. 24-hour access actually isn’t that common, so knowing your storage facility’s hours will ensure that you can access your unit when you need to.

What to Do When You Move Out

Self storage leases are typically on a month-to-month basis. This makes moving out easy, but it’s still a good idea to know how much notice you are required to give before doing so.

What Items Can’t Be Stored

There are a number of items that are prohibited in pretty much all storage facilities. This includes perishable food, ammunition and chemicals. However, some storage facilities prohibit items that you might not expect, such as canned goods and items that exceed your lease’s value limit, so do take the time to check.

Value Limit

Wait, what’s a value limit? We thought you’d never ask. Check your lease to see if your storage facility has a limit on the overall cost of items you’re allowed to store. This is a value limit.

The Lien Process

Curious about what happens when you don’t pay your rent? Don’t find out the hard way; find out by reading your lease. There will be a section on grace periods, penalty fees for late rent and what the lien process (i.e. those famous storage auctions) looks like. Consider this section your what-not-to-do guide.

Anything You Don’t Understand

Peruse the lease for any other miscellaneous items that don’t make sense to you. Yes, it’s not much fun to read long documents, but it’s a good idea to take a look at your lease while you’re in the presence of a self storage manager so that you can clear up anything that you don’t understand. From fees that seem unfamiliar to you to your storage facility’s policy on how many people can be on a lease, it’s possible that you’ll find things you don’t totally understand. And that’s totally cool. Just ask, and you’ll be ready to store with confidence.