5 Things to Know About Self Storage Rental Agreements

February 22, 2022

self storage leases
6 min

Self storage rental agreements. The chances are you’ve got one, but do you think much about it beyond that?

Your self storage lease isn’t just a binary question of “have one or don’t have one.” There are a lot of considerations to make about your rental agreement. What to include in your rental agreement is only even the surface level of the discussion around self storage rental agreements and rental forms.

So, what other factors do you need to consider when establishing your lease for your self storage business?

Why Do You Need a Rental Agreement?

To start, let’s look at the reasons you should have a self storage lease agreement as a standard part of renting your storage units.

Hopefully, you’re already making use of a self storage lease agreement. Even if you are, though, there may be ways you could improve the lease or how you use it. 

Defining the objective of a lease will help make sure we are all on the same page and help us identify how it can be improved!

So, why do you need a lease agreement?

  • Establish the start and end dates of the rental agreement
  • Ensure tenants and owners understand their responsibilities
  • Make the payment schedule clear for both parties
  • Protect the rights of both tenants and owners

Your self storage rental agreement does a lot of work for your business, and knowing its true objectives helps you decide how to refine it (and your software and processes around it) to maximize its benefit.

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How to Deliver & Store Your Self Storage Lease Agreements

If the goal of a lease agreement is to make life easier, then the way you deliver it for a new tenant to sign should probably fall in line with that objective.

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There are three primary ways to deliver a lease to a tenant:

  • Have them physically come into your office to sign
  • Mail the lease to them with the intent that they will sign and somehow return it
  • Have them sign the lease agreement digitally

These days, people are increasingly comfortable and used to the idea of signing documents—especially leases, such as in apartment buildings—through online portals.

Also referred to as eSigning, digital signatures make life easier for both parties.

5 ways ebook

A wide range of software is available to self storage owners to enable eSign at their facilities. Finding a solution to deliver your digital self storage rental form is probably one of the more manageable tasks!

A bonus of using digital rental agreements is that you can securely store these documents digitally instead of in a physical filing cabinet, making organization and access much more convenient.

Next, let's look at how to make a self storage rental agreement.

Pug Pro Tip: The customer experience should be your real focus when it comes to delivering the lease to them. If you choose an eSign software as your lease-signing method, make sure to send the documents via a method that makes sense for your customers. In many cases, this means text messages!

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What to Include in a Self Storage Lease

The basics of a self storage rental agreement are pretty obvious: Tenant pays owner, owner allows tenant to use property.

What goes into it beyond that, though? What must a rental agreement for a self storage facility include? Is there something that maybe you haven’t thought of?

  • Terms describing the rental period and early termination requirements
  • The payment amounts and schedule
  • Deposits (if applicable)
  • Grace periods and additional fees (such as late fees)
  • Detailing of the lien/auction process
  • Items that are not allowed to be stored
  • Contact details for both the self storage business and the tenant
  • Expectations for both parties

There are many things that a rental agreement might include, and the above list is by no means complete.

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The Legal Side of Lease Agreements

When it really comes down to it, a rental agreement is there to protect both the owner and the tenant on legal grounds. 

The problem? Laws can be confusing.

You want to make sure that your self storage lease agreement is legally binding and adheres to laws at all levels, including local, state, and federal.

What is the best way to do that?

Consult an attorney.

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Your state’s self storage association is an excellent place to start, but ultimately you will want to see an attorney. They are the true experts on these matters.

Don’t risk any aspect of your business on legal advice from anyone but a legal professional!

Pug Pro Tip: When choosing to consult an attorney, we suggest you find one with experience in the self storage industry to ensure they are thoroughly versed in the legalities of the self storage world.

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Getting the Most Out of Your Rental Agreement

In order to get the most out of your self storage lease agreement—and make sure it’s not just a chunky bit of paperwork that sits around waiting to be needed—you should aim to remove friction and ensure its objectives are met.

Get free checklists, templates, and forms with our Self Storage Operator  Toolkit

What does that mean in a practical sense? Two things:

  1. Make the process as easy as possible
  2. Make sure it doesn’t hide important information

We already talked about the idea of refining your delivery method. Whether you choose to go with an analog or digital method of getting the rental form signed, you should make sure that process is easy for all parties involved.

That part is easy to understand, but what do we mean by hiding important information?


Let’s be honest: Your tenants probably won’t read a self storage lease agreement.

You might get a few who take the time to go through every line on every page. Then you’ll get a few more that will skim through and see if anything crazy stands out.

Many more will go back and read the lease after they have a problem.

The problem with all of this is that it just doesn’t help you upfront. If you are trying to deliver information to a tenant to set expectations, you want them to see it. 

If you only deliver that information via your lease agreement, the chances are that you are effectively hiding it from them without intending to.

To alleviate that problem, go the extra mile to deliver the information in a neater—and easier to digest—package after they sign their lease!

You should also keep in mind how to update your self storage rental agreement. Knowing what to include to make the process seamless will help ease problems down the road!

Pug Pro Tip: Physical welcome packages (left in the storage unit) can be a great way to deliver the need-to-know information to tenants. For a digital delivery method, consider texting the important information once the lease agreement is signed!

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Check out these other great posts for advice on running your self storage business!

At StoragePug, we build self storage websites that make it easy for new customers to find you and easy for them to rent from you.

Need help with your rental agreement?

Download our Operator Toolkit to get forms, templates, and a starting point for your lease!

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