How to Stop a Self Storage LienAlthough every state is different, there are some general similarities in how the process works. First comes the renter’s default, or failure to pay their lease. Usually after a week to thirty days of a missed payment, the renter is considered to be in default. At this time, if you pay what’s owed, you can regain access. However, if you do not, the company sends you a formal default notice. That’s generally followed by a public notice (usually a small notice in the local newspaper).
Some self-storage contracts spell out terms in plain language while others might leave you utterly confused. It’s smart to brush up on lease agreements before you sign on the dotted line. “If a manager is doing his or her job, there shouldn’t be any surprises,” said Kelly Epps, property manager at Pioneer Stor & Lok in Columbus, GA, who said she sits down with customers to make sure they understand their lease agreements. Still, it’s ultimately your responsibility to understand any paperwork you sign. Here’s a guide to what you should know about self-storage contracts and legalese. —SparefootNext comes scheduling of an auction, when the storage company will sell your belongings. Of course, if you already took steps to get out of a self storage lease, none of this is likely to happen. But if you aren’t free of the contractual obligation, understand the company will auction your possessions. However, you can stop the auction by paying the arrears, plus any fees. If the auction does occur, your belongings will be sold and the proceeds will go toward your unpaid debt. If there’s any money left, the storage company will notify you to claim it by a certain date. To stop or delay a self storage lien, there are different steps you can take:
- Pay what you owe, in-full. The most obvious solution is to pay all that you owe to the self storage company, including past due rent and any fees. While this is an expensive option, you will regain access to the unit so you can empty it and move on, with your possessions.
- Work out a payment arrangement. If you go to the self storage management, you can ask about working out a payment arrangement to get you caught up. The company might or might not accept your offer but most are willing to negotiate or at least offer some assistance.
- Learn if you can oppose the lien in small claims court. Depending on your jurisdiction, you might have the option to oppose the lien in small claims court. This is only a temporary solution because you signed a legally binding contract.
- File for federal bankruptcy protection. If your financial situation is serious enough and you are in deep debt, you can look into filing for federal bankruptcy protection. This is a last resort measure and you need to speak with an experienced bankruptcy attorney. There are eligibility rules and criteria you must meet in order to file.