How to Make a Self Storage Rental Agreement

May 25, 2022

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7 min

Creating your self storage rental agreement is an important first step before you can start renting out storage units!

Your self storage rental agreement not online defines the responsibilities of the tenant, but it also defines your responsibilities to the other party. Furthermore, it can serve as legal protection in the event of a conflict so long as your rental agreement adheres to state law and you follow those laws properly. For this reason, it’s always advisable to consult with your state’s self storage association or an experienced attorney.

Here are some tips to help you get started if you’re on your way to opening your new self storage facility—or if you’ve already opened and you want to refine your rental agreement.


Your Self Storage Rental Agreement

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A while back, I moved to a new city and had to physically take a three-hour (both ways) trip to sign the lease for my new apartment.

When I showed up at the leasing office, I was forced to sign now fewer than 30 different spots in the paperwork. It was a mess of addendum after addendum, agreeing that I’d read each one in this 50-plus page legal document.

Don’t make your self storage tenants go through this experience.

Of course, it’s important for your self storage rental agreement to cover what you need it to cover. There’s also no one-size-fits-all solution for leases. After all, the laws governing a California self storage rental agreement are going to look different than a Texas self storage rental agreement.

Despite all that, you also want the process of signing it to be straightforward and smooth.

If they need to physically come into your office, sign paperwork until their wrist hurts, and then walk away not even fully understanding the terms of the agreement they just signed, then that’s already setting you up for a disgruntled customer on day one.

Let’s look at some of the things that are commonly included in a self storage rental agreement and some ways to make it all better for you and your tenants.

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What to Include in a Self Storage Rental Agreement

Let us say this again so we can make sure it’s extremely clear: the needs of your rental agreement will vary from state to state, and you should always consult with legal experts regarding your rental agreement.

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With that in mind, there are some things that are commonly included in rental agreements as the baseline expectation. What must a rental agreement for a self storage facility include?

Here are some key things to include in your self storage rental agreement.

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Tenant Rights & Responsibilities in a Rental Agreement

The rights and responsibilities of your tenants are probably the first things that come to mind when you’re considering your self storage rental agreement.

Information that falls under this category includes:

  1. The amount of monthly rent
  2. Payment schedule
  3. An outline of what happens if rent isn’t paid
  4. Items that aren’t allowed
  5. Facility rules
  6. Requirements for cleanliness
  7. Things tenants CAN’T do (such as living in their unit)
  8. Outline for the move-out process (such as required notices)

Though you may not organize the rental agreement in exactly this way, these are all important things to address in the document.

Keep in mind that you may also want to provide some of this information in another form, as well.

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Owner’s Rights & Responsibilities in a Rental Agreement

That’s right; the rental agreement is also the place for you to define your rights and obligations.

Providing this information for your tenants helps both parties. For the tenant, it helps them better understand what to expect while storing with you. It can also provide some peace of mind.

For the owner or operator, defining these rights and responsibilities helps protect you legally and sets up the customer’s expectations so that they are less likely to be surprised by actions you take.

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Some examples of information to include from this category:

  1. Conditions under which you may enter a tenant’s storage unit
  2. Conditions under which you may lock a tenant out of their unit
  3. Information regarding lien sales and auctions
  4. Outline of the eviction process and what can lead to evictions
  5. Any other legal notices as required by your state law

As a contract between two parties, it’s important to remember that your self storage lease isn’t just for your tenant.

The rental agreement limits, serves, and protects you, as well.

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How to Deliver & Store a Self Storage Rental Agreement

There are other important things to consider about your rental agreements beyond what to include in them.

You also need to think about

  • How to get the rental agreement in front of your customers for them to sign
  • How to store your self storage rental agreements
  • What information from the rental agreement should be repeated elsewhere
  • How to update your self storage rental agreement

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Why You Should Use eSign for Self Storage Rental Agreements

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The truth is that your tenants prefer convenience above all else.

While you might just think the best route is to have them come into your office and sign paperwork physically, there are many reasons that might not be what you should do!

These days, consumers are used to signing documents online. It’s more commonplace and easier than ever, and you should consider making use of digital signatures at your self storage facility.

With eSign, you can deliver the documents over the internet, have your tenants sign them, and then file them away so that everything is ready to go before your tenant even visits your facility for the first time. Since it’s always in a digital format, you can store the files locally or on a cloud and avoid having to print or scan any paperwork, significantly cutting down on office work.

For customers in need of storage during stressful times, this convenience can’t be overvalued.

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How to Ensure Tenants Understand Their Rental Agreement

Most people aren’t going to read the entire self storage rental agreement.

That’s on them. You can’t force them to read it, and by signing it they have agreed to it regardless of whether or not they scrutinized the pages.

That may be true, but don’t you want your tenants to be informed?

The better your tenants understand your self storage rental agreement, the less likely you are to encounter problems with them over the course of their tenancy.

In order to best deliver the critical parts of your lease or rental agreement in a way customers will understand, you should present them with that information in other forms as follow-ups to the rental agreement.

For example, perhaps the schedule of payments and late fees is addressed in the rental agreement. Even so, it can also be presented in a text or email after move-in as a reminder that they are more likely to read. Much of this can also be automated via your self storage software.

By presenting information from the rental agreement in bite-sized packages spread out over the move-in process and their first month with you, you can be more confident that your tenants are reading, understanding, and adhering to it!

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Check out some of my other favorite posts 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.

Find out more about self storage software.

Download our Self Storage Software Playbook to get a full glimpse of what software is out there to help!

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