Keep Track & Watch Your Back with Our Self Storage Unit Abandonment Form

February 14, 2023

3 min

You’ve been dealing with this delinquent tenant for weeks now, trying to get them to pay their late fees and get out of your facility.

Finally, they get as tired of hearing from you as you are of calling them - they say you can just do what you want with their stuff, as long as you go away!

But is that legal? And if it is, what steps should you take to protect yourself from liability? Check out our Self Storage Abandonment Form here!

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Abandonment, liens, and auctions get really complicated really quickly.

If you’re not sure what the law is, these situations can also be super scary. There are horror stories floating around of six-figure settlements over improper disposal of a delinquent tenant’s belongings.

One key to avoiding any legal trouble - though it’s not foolproof - is to keep a written record of everything you and your tenants agree to. 

This is where our self storage abandonment form comes in. 

Why Use a Self Storage Abandonment Letter?

This form is just a handy way to keep track of the agreement you’ve made with your tenant. The template has easy fill-in-the-blanks for your business name, the date, address, and other important information.

All you need from the tenant is a signature. Everything else can be filled out ahead of time.

This form, and the others in our self storage operator toolkit, comes from our friends in the self storage industry, who use them to solve common problems. 

Stressful situations, like dealing with a delinquent tenant, are made easier with preparation. If you’ve got a form ready to fill out and sign, the total time you have to spend with a stressed-out tenant can be greatly reduced.

Additionally, if you’re a manager (or owner) that isn’t quite sure what the proper approach is in a given situation, planning ahead and having a policy can make your life a lot easier.

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What's the Difference Between Abandonment and Lien?

Self storage abandonment is an agreement between the delinquent tenant and the operator to forgo the lien process. Once you’ve agreed that the self storage unit is abandoned, you can dispose of the items within, clean the unit, and try to rent it to a paying customer.

Self storage liens are the legal process required to get rid of a tenant’s things if they’re behind on payment and you have to remove their stuff without their permission or even knowledge.

Liens (which lead to auctions) can be expensive, time-consuming processes that keep your unit tied up for months in most cases. While you wait the legally required weeks or even months to proceed with the auction, your self storage unit can’t be rented. That’s money you’re not making.

Compare that to the money you’re agreeing to forfeit with an abandonment. If you agree to forfeit any late fees or unpaid dues in exchange for getting your unit back, that’s lost potential as well.

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Consider how likely you are to recover any of the money you’re owed before you agree to abandonment. If you don’t think the tenant is going to be able to pay - or that you won’t be able to get them to pay - then signing an abandonment agreement is the best way to get your unit back.

Auctions rarely make self storage operators much money. You may be an exception! But try to keep track of what your average auction profit is - if you can even make a profit. That number will be helpful to compare to the lost revenue you could be making with an empty unit.

Regardless of your posture towards liens and abandonments, having the proper forms ready is good practice. These forms can be edited to fit your branding and your needs.

Download this self storage abandonment form and all our other helpful documents in the Operators Toolkit!

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