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How to Make Self Storage Lien Laws Easier (With Software)

April 28, 2022

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6 min

Do self storage lien laws get you flustered? You’re not alone.

Lien laws and the lien sale process can be tough to understand without a physical guidebook to reference or a team of lawyers to consult. For that reason, you probably should consult a legal expert.

Don’t worry, though! There are ways to make the process a little more digestible and easier to follow. The right self storage software can make each step of the process just a little bit less intimidating!


Can Self Storage Software Make the Lien Process Easier?

There’s no self storage software that is going to automate the process of following lien laws for you.

At least, not entirely.

You may be surprised to learn that some self storage PMS will help with lien sales, while other self storage software will even guide you through the entire process.

In addition to the steps your chosen self storage software takes to help guide you through self storage lien sales all they entail, there are also other ways that software can help alleviate your lien-related burdens. 

Whether it’s helping you in the stages before an actual lien sale, helping you navigate self storage lien laws, or aiding in the follow-up after a storage unit has gone to auction, software can make your life easier if properly utilized.

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Self Storage Lien Laws Aren’t Easy

It’s true. Lien laws are complicated and often tedious. You’re not alone in thinking so, and it’s for a good reason.

A state’s lien laws can easily have fifty to a hundred sections, points, and subpoints that dictate what your responsibilities are as an operator.

It’s not uncommon for self storage operators to do everything they can to avoid initiating the lien process, even going so far as to put it off for months beyond what the law dictates as the minimum.

But if you haven’t had to dive into the self storage lien process yet, you may be unaware of what makes them such a hassle.

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So, what’s the deal?

  1. Self storage lien laws vary by state, making it hard to find advice online
  2. The law can be tedious enough that it’s easy to make a small mistake
  3. Laws change, including self storage lien laws, and you’re expected to stay up to date
  4. The self storage lien sale process is time-consuming and not why operators are in the industry

These are a few of the things that make the self storage lien process frustrating and distasteful.

Your self storage software won’t take away all of these headaches, but it can certainly help make the entire process more tolerable!

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How Can You Avoid Self Storage Lien Sales?

If you ask many self storage operators, their preference would be completely avoiding lien sales.

Rather than enduring the hassle of staying completely compliant with every aspect of a given state’s self storage lien laws, it’s easiest just to keep from getting to that point, to begin with.

There may also be cases where you feel a sale isn’t right, even if the law allows it.

Scott Zucker Lien Law Quote

So how do you do that, and how can self storage software help?

Two words: automated notices.

Yes, the most common way that software can help you (automatically) reduce the frequency of your self storage lien sales is by automating communication with your tenants. And it does it with minimal input or energy spent from your end!

Why do automated payment and missed payment notices work?

Automated notices for upcoming and late payments help solve one of the big reasons why payments are missed to begin with: people forget to make the payment. This is also a big reason why automatic recurring payments help solve the same issue!

In many cases, the self storage software you’re already going to have—your property management software—can automate messages to your tenants. 

So set up some upcoming payment reminders and missed payment reminders, cutting down on your manual workload and reducing the frequency that you even need to think about self storage liens!

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How Can You Make Following Self Storage Lien Laws Easier?

Let’s face it: You won’t always be able to completely avoid going to auction.

Even if you manage to resolve the matter before an auction, it can sometimes take you following the steps outlined in your state’s self storage lien laws and initiating the process.

Thankfully, there are ways that software can alleviate some of the actual self storage lien process hassle, too.

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There are four main ways self storage software can help with this burden:

  1. Guiding you through the self storage lien sale process
  2. Providing templates for the forms and notices you must send
  3. Logging your lien sale steps
  4. Providing an online auction space

Software can help you navigate self storage lien laws

Late 2 Lien is software that is backed by a lawyer experienced in the self storage industry and its many laws.

This software can be used standalone or as an integration with select property management software.

Late 2 Lien guides you through the world of self storage lien laws by automating the sending, filing, and monitoring of notices. For steps t can’t automate, it makes sure you know what you have to do. Overall, it reduces the time and effort you or your managers have to put into the self storage lien sale process.

Templates for documents required by your state’s self storage lien laws

While your PMS might not automate the process, it may offer templates you can print and use (and sometimes email).

This is a more manual process than Late 2 Lien, but it does help you feel better about addressing everything that needs to be addressed in notices and forms per your state’s self storage lien laws.

Logging your steps through the lien process

When you’re dealing with something as intricate and serious as lien laws and selling someone’s property to cover their debt, it’s critical to make sure you’re keeping good records of what you did and when you did it.

Depending on your property management software, it may include a built-in place to log all of these steps in connection to a customer record in your database.

Online Self Storage Auctions

While it’s not specifically related to software you’ll use in your own business, online auctions have been on the rise in the self storage industry. In many states, the storage lien laws have been adjusted to allow online auctions as an alternative to physical auctions.

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How Software Can Help With the After-Sale Phase of Liens

So, you’ve done it.

Despite all of your best efforts to contact this individual to resolve the matter, you were forced to put their storage unit up for auction.

What’s next?

Ideally, that’s it. You’re done with it, and you can move on with your life and your self storage business running smoothly.

That doesn’t mean you should forget about the sale, though. You never know if someone will challenge you. Even with all of the work you did, someone can still attempt to find where you took a wrong step and use that against you.

Thankfully, digital storage helps us organize and remember the details much more efficiently than our own minds or physical document storage. It’s no wonder that cloud storage has been on the rise over the last few years and is expected to keep growing.

Cloud Storage Stat

If your self storage software, such as your PMS, includes lien sale logging? Use it! If it doesn’t? Find somewhere else to (securely) store your records digitally.

With proper records, and assuming you followed those self storage lien laws to the letter, you have a much better chance of fending off any legal challenges.

In the end, software can make life easier, but you should never rely entirely on software or advice online. Remember to check with a legal expert or consult your state’s self storage association, as they are the ones most likely to understand your state’s self storage lien laws and be aware of recent updates.

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