Self Storage Rent Control Victories in 2024

May 15, 2024

a gavel about to fall
3 min

Not too long ago, we published an article about rent control in Georgia.

For a very long time, the self storage industry has benefitted from relatively small oversight. Some of the worst we’ve had to deal with have been requirements around liens and towing vehicles.

The industry really stepped into the spotlight in the last few years, though. And we’ve also seen large national operators starting to play dangerous games with introductory rates at the same time.

It should come as no surprise, then, that rent control talks have been popping up more often.

Thankfully, we’ve got some wins to announce this year!

Georgia House Bill 811—Defeated

This is the bill we posted about in February.

As a recap, this bill’s rent control provisions were actually fairly reasonable. They included things that operators should already be doing to create a better customer experience and run a good business.

However, there were other things tied into the bill that were less reasonable.

Here’s a quick recap:

  1. Storage operators would have to provide certain information to tenants. This included things like dates of any damage to the facility ever.
  2. Pest control would be required with strict responsibilities in the event of pests being discovered.
  3. Operators would have needed to create and maintain a complaint system.
  4. There were new requirements for rental agreements.
  5. No more requiring insurance. Also, additional requirements would be in place if you even offered it.

This was a prime example of how increased scrutiny on the industry due to unreasonable rate management practices won’t only impact the operators using those practices. It’ll have a splash effect for ALL operators.

It’s something that every operator should be aware of.

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Rent Control Ordinances in New York City—Defeated

We didn’t post about these, but New York City also had rent control talks recently.

Rather than a state bill, the city was considering two separate ordinances that would have rent control implications.

Here are the details:

  1. The first ordinance regarded late fees. Basically, it would have made storage owners unable to charge late fees of any kind or amount.
  2. The second ordinance was more expansive. It would have “severely limited owners’ rights to increase rents,” according to the Self Storage Association's Legal Review. It would have been unlawful to increase the rent for any tenant by more than 2% per year. It would also have made it unlawful for a facility to terminate occupancy for any reasons other than nonpayment—meaning no evicting tenants for breaking the rental agreement, even in the event of tenants living in the storage unit.

The first ordinance would apply a $1,000 penalty for any late fee charged. The second ordinance would have subjected owners breaking any part of the ordinance to a $2,500 penalty (per violation).

There were also provisions to allow the city to recover the penalties and otherwise enforce the ordinance.

Thankfully for NYC storage operators, these ordinances were also defeated.

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The Importance of Supporting Self Storage Associations

Wow, what great news! Georgia and NYC decided not to pass these laws and ordinances!

Well, not exactly. Obviously, it took work from someone to fight against them.

So, who does this kind of work? Are storage owners in these areas running out to the halls of government and picketing until their voices are heard?

It’s possible, but probably not.

The main folks fighting against rent control and other unfavorable bills and ordinances are the national and state storage associations.

The rent control bill in Georgia? The SSA and GASSA worked together to take it down.

The NYC ordinances? You probably guessed it—the SSA and NYSSA.

There are many other ways they help storage operators, too. From legal battles to free resources and more, being a part of your state association and supporting the larger Self Storage Association are important ways to support your own rights and get the help you need.

Here are some examples of other legal battles the SSA recently listed in their Self Storage Legal Review:

  • Newspaper bills in Florida
  • Newspaper bills in South Dakota
  • Self storage tax bill in Virginia
  • Cashless ban in Florida
  • Fingerprinting bill in California
  • Emergency unit registry in Vermont
  • And more!

You can find the details of these battles (and more) by getting the SSA’s legal review here.

Here are some of my other favorite posts to check out!

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