Gabfocus Spotlight: How should you handle evicting a troublesome tenant?

February 23, 2024

self storage help video quote
3 min

If you haven't had a troublesome tenant, the chances are you just haven't been in storage long enough.

It happens to all operators eventually. It's not something you do wrong; it's just the way some customers are. The problem is that getting rid of them isn't always straightforward. You don't want to risk opening yourself up to legal trouble.

Listen as Joe Doherty of the Self Storage Association chats with Melissa and Tommy about his suggestions for dealing with troublesome tenants.

Question: "How should you handle evicting a troublesome tenant?"

Check out the video clip below to hear their answers:


In this Gabfocus Session: 2023 Storage Legal Update, Tommy and Melissa were joined by Joe Doherty of the Self Storage Association. He gave us his legal update for the self storage industry as of the end of 2023, and he even gave us a sneak peek at the legal landscape of 2024.

Check out the full Session to dive deeper! 

Don't want to watch the clip? Here's what Joe had to say:

You've hit exactly on the one that I had jotted down for that.

It's these what I'll call troublesome tenants. Somebody who's paying you, but perhaps they're harassing your manager. They're living in a unit. They're doing any number of other illegal or things that are in violation of the rental agreement.

And what do you do with those folks?

So the first step that I recommend is send them or literally hand them a notice of non-renewal. I know there are some folks in the industry who say, "Well, what's the difference between non-renewal and termination?"

I have a concern that if you terminate the rental agreement that you potentially eliminate your lien rights. Not everybody shares that view, but that's my view.

So just say, "Hey, we're not renewing you for the next month." And then depending on the severity of what's happening, if it's somebody living in the unit, I say cut off that person's gate and code access and overlock their unit immediately. And say the only reason you're coming to your unit is to take a staff escort and clear out your property.

And then if the tenant doesn't respond or doesn't clear out their property by the date that you've given them, you are now in the world of eviction.

It's not a payment issue that you deal with through a lien remedy. You have to evict them. And for the most part, there are some states that allow for what's called self-help eviction where you don't have to go to court, but you typically have to go to court to evict somebody.

The biggest thing you want to make sure you're asking for from the judge is what to do with their property. You can get rid of the person, make sure they're no longer a tenant, but what do you do with their property?

And you'd want to ask for permission either to dispose of that or to sell it."

—Joe Doherty

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