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How to Handle a Problem Tenant at your Storage Facility

August 16, 2018

How to Handle a Problem Tenant at your Storage Facility
3 min

Problem tenants are an unpleasant part of any industry. A rude tenant may leave a bad review online that the world can see, jeopardizing the stability of your self storage investment. 

Here are some strategies you can use to handle problem tenants and turn their temporary annoyance into a long-term, loyal back and forth relationship. 

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Get Everyone On Board Right from the Start

A good back and forth communication is the most effective way to avoid annoying or problematic tenants.

  • Make your policies clear right off the bat and let it known that you are strict about them.
  • Get not only your tenants but also your entire team rowing the same boat. Everyone involved should know when and how to issue refunds, what incentives to offer and what information to communicate.
  • Additionally, make sure that you hold regular meetings and keep everyone updated on the policies, so there is little miscommunication. Setting clear expectations can prevent disputes down the road.


Know Where to Draw the Line

You will regularly come across difficult, rude, and unsympathetic tenants. Some of the times they’ll be right, and other times they will be wrong.

While you can’t protect your property from the occasional and inevitable climatic, environmental, architectural or pest-based problems, you can deal with your problem tenants in a positively.


Here are a few tactics you can use

  • Let your customer rage, rant, and stomp around without taking it personally. Make sure that they feel heard without getting defensive –remember you don’t want to lose a customer.
  • Stick to the facts as opposed to making emotional or defensive statements in response. Offer reassurance, a reasonable explanation and a way to get in touch with the right people –if they are not you.
  • Realize that there is a fine line between raging and abuse –never tolerate unnecessary violence, verbal abuse, harassment, or aggression.


Tenants Who “Can’t” Pay

If a tenant regularly fails to pay the rent then perhaps it is time to stop being so soft-hearted.

Most people who have been in the self storage business know that the people who sign up for a lease agreement and are serious about it, often pay their dues on time.

Not doing so due to ‘hospitalization’ or ‘vacationing trips’ are, more often than not excuses. Particularly because it’s straightforward to pay up in this day and age with so many different modes of payments being available.

Make it easy for your tenants to pay by offering the ability to make payments and sign up for autopay through your website.


How Do You Deal With Them?

  • Stay strict about your no-delayed-payment policy right from the start
  • Feel free to send the tenant a lien notice at the first sign of non-payment, or delayed payment.
  • Don’t work hard to get the tenants to pay! It sounds harsh, but anyone who wants to pay will do so. Just collect the late and lien fees, don’t listen to excuses.
  • Make it easy to pay you, so there are no excuses. Offer payment gateways in person, over the phone, online, and mail.


Tenants Who Want To Live In a Storage Unit

Self storage units are notorious for offering just about the same amount of space as a studio apartment for a quarter of the price.

So, it’s hardly a surprise that more and more economically struggling people are choosing to live in a storage unit.

However, over the years, this has resulted in some seriously dangerous consequences, legally as well as health-wise.

If you want to avoid live-in renters, here are a few things that you can do.


How Do You Deal With Them?

  • Make your storage units uncomfortable to live in so that people don’t consider it as a residential opportunity in the first place.
  • Keep a strict security, lock and gate check and log. Schedule regular check-ups and keep track of the video recordings of your gate log.
  • Be compassionate; they’re probably genuinely struggling to make ends meet. Make them understand that storage units are unsafe to live in because they lack basic necessities present in apartments including plumbing and temperature regulation.
  • Realize that such live-in arrangements could seriously put you at risk of legal liabilities –even if it may seem monetarily enticing at the moment.
  • Think about how your self storage facility needs to be safe and secure for non-live-in renter’s properties and valuables -- a live-in arrangement could pose a serious threat to your reputation as a storage unit owner.


Remember: Taking a Stance Doesn’t Make You a Bad Person

Many of the points mentioned above require you to take a stand, be strict and upfront –and that may not come as naturally for many of us.

Being a little harsh to protect your business does not make you a bad person –and in the future, you might want to stick to straightforward customers.


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StoragePug is a modern marketing company for self storage. We create intelligent marketing websites that allow you to rent units & take payments through your facility’s website.