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  • Off Road Vehicle in Auction Unit

    Hi Everyone,
    I need some help with a first for me. I cut the lock on an Auction unit because I was sure the client moved before red lock was put on the unit. Much to my surprise there is Off Road Vehicle in the unit. Worth way more then client owes. So I contacted the owner of the mini storage to see if he has had something like this happen before and what is the Auction procedure on the unit. He said no. Great I have about a month before the Auction and for the life of me can not figure out why the client has not paid. The Self storage act of Michigan is clear as mud. The way I am interpreting the law is we have to see if there is a lien on the vehicle. If yes we have to contact the lien holder. Either way I thinking this is going to be a tricky situation and I still hoping client come in and pays in full.

    Colleen
    Mason Mini Storage
    Mason Mini Storage
    Mason, MI

  • #2
    Sounds a lot like Oregon. First, it sounds like you did not know the vehicle was in the unit so you have no copy of title or registration. I also assume you are having problems getting the tenant to respond. Going with those first 2 scenarios, you need to get the VIN # off of it and do a title search at the DMV to see if the vehicle has a lien on it. If so then contact them and tell them that come auction day, even if you have to stretch that date out by another month, they can pay for the fees owed and have the vehicle. You should also check to be sure the name the lien holder has is the same as your tenant's name. If not then contact the police and ask for help. If is the same then the lien holder can pay and take it or they can give you a release of lien for the vehicle and you can either sell it at auction or have it towed away, again following all state statutes for towing away, and be done with it. I would assume the tenant gets back in touch unless there is something illegal about the vehicle in the unit. Might even want to have police check the VIN first and see if the name comes back as your tenant. I have sold cars/trucks/motorcycles and RV's here in Oregon doing it that way. That is also why I ALWAYS ask a tenant what they plan on storing and if they say anything with a VIN on it then I get a copy of title or registration and if I see something in a unit with a VIN and the tenant did not tell me I then lock it down and get to the bottom of why they have not told me about it.
    "Never let the inmates run the asylum!"

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    • #3
      If you are having trouble finding the person via the contact info on the lease, you might also want to try Facebook. You might also be able to see their friends list to identify a spouse or close friend that might be able to help you figure out what is going on. Maybe it's stolen and the client bailed, or maybe they are in the service and forgot to tell you before they left.

      Comment


      • #4
        Wow thanks PAC that was a lot of good information.
        Mason Mini Storage
        Mason, MI

        Comment


        • #5
          I called the second contact on the Lease. I also sent Certified mail to the Address and was accepted.
          Mason Mini Storage
          Mason, MI

          Comment


          • #6
            Yea, I forgot to ask if you attempted to contact the alternate contact person. Typically there is a way to contact someone and at least leave a message for a call back from them or tell the tenant to call you back. Another very important thing, Document every step from the beginning to the end of this. My software allows for "tenant notes" and I fill those up all the time. I even copy and paste emails received and sent and always document the times and dates. All this is a PITA but as managers/owners it is what we do and see every day. Sometimes the statutes even have a different set of statutes for VIN vehicles and if other items are in the unit and they also go to auction, they are both sold separately and not all in one bid. Know your statutes, no matter how muddy, and do the search at DMV if the police cannot help after all other avenues are exhausted.
            "Never let the inmates run the asylum!"

            Comment


            • #7
              Oklahoma laws are similarly complicated. I consulted with a vehicle auction house and a mechanic, and both suggested a legal process to notify before holding an auction. We receive our owed fees from the auction proceeds. But in the case of beaters, we have used an auto salvage company to haul off vehicles and sell them at their auctions. They take care of towing, checking the VIN, sending notification to the registered owner at his last known address. We don't share in the proceeds, but we free up a non-paying space.

              Comment


              • #8
                Is this a vehicle that can be driven on the street? Or is it a small off road vehicle like a four wheeler? Definitely call the nonemergency number for the police, If it is stolen, the police will tow it out for free. Is there anything else in that unit?

                Comment


                • #9
                  After researching this issue it off road vehicle can not be driven the street. So no title. There is OVR sticker from 2015 on the vehicle. I have tried to call client again and hoping he responds. Next phone call is to the police and ask about them locating him. My thought maybe he is Jail ect. There is also other nice items in the unit. This one is so strange. Usually my Auctions units are just junk. Off to Facebook stalk this guy next.
                  Mason Mini Storage
                  Mason, MI

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    So is this vehicle a car/truck or an off road ATV or dune buggy? What the heck is it?
                    "Never let the inmates run the asylum!"

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      If it has no title, treat it like any other piece of property. Auction it.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Agree. At this point, the "off road vehicle" without a title or VIN, is now just a planter and just sell the damn thing with the rest of the items in the unit.
                        "Never let the inmates run the asylum!"

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          We had a unit last month, had a go kart in it. We do auctions online, and the auction company told us no auction without a vin. Since it ended up being a homemade kart, it had no vin or serial, so they let us proceed.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by MMSMason View Post
                            Hi Everyone,
                            I need some help with a first for me. I cut the lock on an Auction unit because I was sure the client moved before red lock was put on the unit. Much to my surprise there is Off Road Vehicle in the unit. Worth way more then client owes. So I contacted the owner of the mini storage to see if he has had something like this happen before and what is the Auction procedure on the unit. He said no. Great I have about a month before the Auction and for the life of me can not figure out why the client has not paid. The Self storage act of Michigan is clear as mud. The way I am interpreting the law is we have to see if there is a lien on the vehicle. If yes we have to contact the lien holder. Either way I thinking this is going to be a tricky situation and I still hoping client come in and pays in full.

                            Colleen
                            Mason Mini Storage
                            When you say "Off Road' do you mean a vehicle like a truck with big tires used to ride around in the woods type vehicle, or a vehicle that does not require a state license because it is only supposed to be driven off roads? If it does require a state license plate, you may want to check to see if your have any special requirements for advertising of the sale of the vehicle. In CA, for years, we had to go through DMV and it was a hassle. Lucky for us the law now allows us to have vehicles towed if the rent has not been paid for over 60 days. Vehicles not requiring a license we treat the same way as a living room set.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              So how does a storage manager be proactive about unauthorized vehicle storage? My rental agreement states "No motor vehicle may be stored without an accompanying motor vehicle addendum," but that's no guarantee. I thought of adding "Occupant hereby authorizes any state Department of Motor Vehicles or similar agency to release records of any stored motor vehicle to Owner," but that doesn't mean the DMV will accept that. In my state a release of records form is supposed to be signed and notorized by the owner! I suppose you could add that the Owner may have any unauthorized vehicle (and maybe any authorized vehicle, in a unit under default) towed, but I'm not even sure of my state's requirements on that.

                              Comment

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