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Calling The Police - Where Do Customers Cross The Line?

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  • #16
    Had one last week. Tenant split from her boyfriend, took him off the lease, changed the code, wrote a letter to us banning him from the unit. He apparently knew this so he showed up on a Sunday (when we are closed) waited until someone came in, followed them through the gate. Turns out he cut the lock, put his lock on the unit. The tenant calls us, tells us this, said she got the code from her ex so she could open the unit and that it was just his stuff left in the unit. We explained to her that since she is the only one on the lease, that she is 100% responsible for the unit, contents, and payments until the unit is vacated. During office hours, the guy comes back, pulls into the parking lot and not 10 seconds later follows a vehicle inside again. We call the police, the come right down and trespass this guy (he is not a good guy). We did allow him to get as much stuff out of the unit with the police officer watching over him, and he is no longer allowed on site. We explained to the officer (who relayed to the guy), he is not allowed on our property for any reason, and is not to contact us. She (the tenant) will have to figure out a way to return his stuff to him, whether she pays a moving company to come and take the stuff, or she empties out the unit herself. She said she understood and was sorry for putting us in that position. The officer told us this has happened before at other facilities and it's a sticky situation being that the person not allowed access is the only one with stuff left in the unit. Now we wait until she gets his stuff out, or it goes to auction in 60 days and we take a huge loss.

    And no, there is no way we want to just allow this guy back on the property to get the rest of his stuff out. He is not a good guy, broke in twice, and could open pandoras box if the original tenant had left 1 item in there that she didn't get back. Not even going there, worth the loss in money to keep him out.

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    • #17
      I see a problem at the beginning of your post. You had two people on the lease. Then you allowed one of those tenants to take another one off the lease. IMO, should only be one person on the lease and if you allow two people on the lease, then you should have both in front of you to remove one of those names and have the second person sign off as no longer responsible for the unit. The girl wrote a letter. Big deal. If you started with two names on the lease, that is not right of her to do that. If you only have one name, hers, and he was just on the access list, you did not tell us that, then she can bar him from the unit. Glad you called the police but whether that is his stuff in there or not, he should not be allowed to take anything if it is just her name on the lease.
      "Never let the inmates run the asylum!"

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      • #18
        We've had similar situations - here's what we learned.

        The customer must file a police report, not you, because they were the victims of the theft.

        If you want the boyfriend on the property for him to take his things, arrange for it in advance, set a specific time (from ___ to ___ on May __, 2017), and call the police department to request an officer for a "civil standby." Inform all parties that an officer will be present for removal.

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        • #19
          Originally posted by pacnwstorage View Post
          I see a problem at the beginning of your post. You had two people on the lease. Then you allowed one of those tenants to take another one off the lease. IMO, should only be one person on the lease and if you allow two people on the lease, then you should have both in front of you to remove one of those names and have the second person sign off as no longer responsible for the unit. The girl wrote a letter. Big deal. If you started with two names on the lease, that is not right of her to do that. If you only have one name, hers, and he was just on the access list, you did not tell us that, then she can bar him from the unit. Glad you called the police but whether that is his stuff in there or not, he should not be allowed to take anything if it is just her name on the lease.
          Pac, sorry I should have cleared that up. The ex-boyfriend was listed as "Additional access only" and was not a signer on the lease itself which is why she was allowed to remove him.

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          • #20
            Originally posted by tomokc View Post
            We've had similar situations - here's what we learned.

            The customer must file a police report, not you, because they were the victims of the theft.

            If you want the boyfriend on the property for him to take his things, arrange for it in advance, set a specific time (from ___ to ___ on May __, 2017), and call the police department to request an officer for a "civil standby." Inform all parties that an officer will be present for removal.
            The police report we filed was for unauthorized access to our property, not the unit itself. Being that he deliberately got inside the gate after trying his code multiple times and the keypad stating "Access denied" was enough for us to trespass him according to the police, especially on the 2nd day when we were sitting in the office.

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            • #21
              Originally posted by letsgosonics View Post

              The police report we filed was for unauthorized access to our property, not the unit itself. Being that he deliberately got inside the gate after trying his code multiple times and the keypad stating "Access denied" was enough for us to trespass him according to the police, especially on the 2nd day when we were sitting in the office.
              Yes, at that point he is trespassing on YOUR facility and the unit has nothing to do with it other than that was his ultimate goal to get in that unit. The law was first broken when he entered YOUR property. That's when I wish I had a robot dog to sic on the guy and let the dog grab him and carry him outside the gate. I can't wait for one of those dogs to be built!
              "Never let the inmates run the asylum!"

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              • #22
                Funny how he claimed to want to speak with us the whole time after the officer trespassed him. We told the officer we did not want any contact with him, and he was never allowed back on our property for any reason. While the first time he got in was after hours (our cell phone numbers are listed on each keypad), the 2nd time was during office hours. Sorry buddy, we don't put up with that here.

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                • #23
                  I honestly hope that neither myself nor my staff will ever have to come across a situation where we'll actually need to call the authorities in. I'd like to believe that people are inherently reasonable and perhaps just telling them that their behaviour warrants further action will help them to calm down? We need to play our part to help keep them calm and resolve any situations too. But to answer the question - violence is my hard limit and I wouldn't hesitate to call if anyone gets hurt in my facility!
                  Edward Thirlwall
                  http://supercheapselfstorage.com.au/.../self-storage/

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                  • #24
                    Our facility is in a rough area. We've called the cops several times. Last month I found a man sleeping in his storage unit. Rough sort. He followed me to the office, screaming and yelling. I sat in my chair, he kneeled down in front of me and got in my face. He ended up threatening to burn the place down and shoot us.

                    We've found drugs in units, a cross-dressers unit that we thought was being used for child pornography or something, other customers with mental issues who got verbally aggressive. And there's the customers that call the cops on us for not letting them into a storage unit that they say has their belongings in it.

                    We are very familiar with our police department.

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                    • #25
                      I sit in my chair and a man kneels in front of me to yell and threaten? Size 13 to his chest!
                      "Never let the inmates run the asylum!"

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                      • #26
                        Had to call the cops on someone yesterday. It took the police forever to respond and by the time they did the tenant had vacated and left. One of my bosses spoke with the guy's wife today and she was defending her husband all up and down. I understand that's her husband but she wasn't here when the incident occurred. We got the vibe that they're going through some personal things because they had mentioned their housing situation was unstable.

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                        • #27
                          I agree that if anything boils down to physical altercations, that it's time to call for backup. I don't think any self storage facility really has security staff attending to take care of the ruffians and all that, but neither should be let our customers think that we're too soft to make the call if they cross the line. I do think that we need to make it clear that we are trying to get the whole issue solved without having to escalate things before we actually do though. We are still service providers after all...

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                          • #28
                            With every situation there has to be some give and take and some sound reasoning involved. In this day and age I see all too often where a service provider is just doing what they are allowed to do by those that employ them and the next thing you know you get maced in the face for stale french fries. Think some of that comes from the entitlement era, you bet it does. I am all for LISTENING to a tenant's concerns/complaints but as soon as they start accusing anything offhanded that just isn't so because they believe they should get only their way and will not allow a conversation of reason, then they have crossed my line and they can pound sand. I have yet to raise my voice to a tenant, even when they are raising their voice at me. I just tell them to leave and come back when they can act like an adult and the fact that they are acting like a child is implied. I live and breath my signature. Yes we are service providers but I for one am not going to allow belittling, cursing, yelling, threats or any attempt by the tenant to tell me how I should do my job or tell me what they are going to do when it is against facility policies. I have 3 police that rent here. I have their direct lines and I have the option of 911. I really cringe when I hear of another facility manager going thru an out of control situation. Be safe, all of you.
                            "Never let the inmates run the asylum!"

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