Self-storage units are a great way to stash items you don't use often and don't have room for in your home. However, if you can't pay the bill, the self-storage facility can auction off your stuff to pay for your rent. If you haven't been able to pay your self-storage unit bill, check out these five must-know facts.
Communication Is Crucial
If you don't think you'll be able to pay your self-storage rent for the month, don't just hope to do better next month. Communicate with the facility. Let them know you can't pay. It's possible they'll work with you by reducing the amount owed or allowing you to take your stuff and leave. If you already haven't been paying your rent and you receive a notice that your items are going to auction, again, communicate. Don't wait until the day of the auction to try and negotiate a deal. Be proactive.
You May Be Able to Postpone the Auction
There are some instances where you can attempt to postpone the auction if you need more time to gather enough money to repay the late rent. In some states, you can oppose the auction in small claims court to delay the auction. If you are struggling financially, you may also be able to postpone the auction by filing for bankruptcy. If you aren't able to repay the money, however, the bankruptcy court will sell your items. The only surefire way to stop the auction completely is to pay your past-due amount.
You Can Pay Until the Last Minute
Though this may come as a surprise to you, self-storage facilities would prefer to not have to auction off your belongings because you didn't pay rent. Holding an auction is a hassle, and they would much rather have tenants who just pay their rent on time. As a result, they give you plenty of time (usually months) to repay the past-due amount. In fact, you can pay what you owe and stop the auction until the day of the auction.
Your Personal Memorabilia May Be Returned
If your storage unit has personal memorabilia like photo albums, you may be able to get these items returned. Most facilities request that buyers return these personal items to the facility manager. Some buyers, however, may not take the time to do this. You can, however, attend the auction yourself and ask the buyer if you can have or buy back your personal memorabilia. Just make sure to check with your state laws to know your rights. In some states, for example, you have the right to remove certain personal items that aren't worth much before the auction.
The Facility Doesn't Make a Profit
On TV, storage auctions make it look like the storage facilities can make big bucks by selling your unit, but that isn't the case at all. Storage facilities don't get to keep all that money. By law, they can only keep the overdue rent and the cost of the auction. If there is remaining money, it is sent back to you. In some cases, however, the amount paid by the buyer isn't enough to cover all the money you owe. In this instance the remaining balance is reported to credit reported agencies as unpaid debt. You don't have to repay it, but it negatively impacts your credit.
While storage auctions aren't as glamorous as the reality shows make them look, they are a real consequence of not paying your storage rent. If you are struggling with paying the rent for your storage unit, don't ignore it. Contact the facility today to learn more and negotiate a deal.
Including my husband and I, we have a family of six, but we live in a smaller house to help stash away more money in our children's college funds. Our family does a big house spring cleaning every year, and up until a few years ago, it used to be a lot more stressful. It got a lot easier when we decided to start renting a storage unit. Now, we keep our winter clothes in the unit during the summer and vice versa, and we store items we only use occasionally. Not having so much "stuff" around the house just makes it a lot easier to keep our house clean and free of clutter. I have learned a lot about storage units since we started renting ours, so I thought I would start a blog to share my tips on to help anyone who needs them!