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  • People Looking to Live in Units

    Inspired by this thread. With so many people out of work, do you have concerns that new renters will attempt to live in a unit at your facility? How do you screen prospects to prevent this problem, especially if you offer online reservations? What would you do if you discovered it?
    Amy Campbell
    Editor
    Inside Self-Storage
    [email protected]

    @AmyCampbell_ISS
    480.281.6091

  • #2
    I cover all that in my script I follow on the phone and in the golf cart when I show the unit. I look right at them and will not continue unless they look at me and answer to the affirmative. I have only caught one lady one time sleeping in unit. She no longer rents here.
    "Never let the inmates run the asylum!"

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    • #3
      While I have the concern for people and the current environment we are in, no one will be living in my units. In 8 yrs, we've caught 2 the next morning and given them the boot.

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      • #4
        I have run into this issue since the disaster occurred here on August 10th. Mostly from existing tenants who had homes that were completely destroyed. I have had to explain to them that we don't allow it. Normally I would of just kicked them out, but with some much of the town destroyed I just gave them a warning.

        I have also had people staying at facilities for extended periods of time going through items. Which isn't technically living there, but again they are loitering because they have no place else to go. This I have gotten a bit more lax on considering the nature of the recent disaster, but this too is something I will need to crack down on soon.

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        • #5
          If it's in person, while they are signing the lease, I say the following and let them know that I mean it.

          No storing of any ex’s no children no puppy dogs, no living in the unit, no living outside the unit; no making of your own meth or other drugs; no making of your own fuel; no food no food no food no mothballs no hazardous materials no explosive materials no bombing materials no use of the dumpster, nor more than four tires, no smoking on property and no potted plants, even if the plant is dead.

          I have had one person in the past two years try to live in his unit and others reported him. He was given one warning verbally with a written follow up. Then when he continued, I told him verbally and in a letter that I would not be accepting any more payments for his unit. In Florida, during COVID, no one is allowed to be evicted from anywhere for any reason. So I didn't evict him, I just didn't take his next payment and told him to be out before it came up or his property would be trashed. I tried to get him removed by the police but they couldn't do anything.
          Throw kindness around like Confetti - But don't get glitter in your eyes!

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          • #6
            I've dealt with this issue a few times since I've been in the business. Of course, I specifically state "no living in the unit" during my spiel. The times I've had to confront/caught a tenant sleeping in a unit, I've gone over the fact that it's dangerous, someone could trap them in the unit. (We place tags on unlocked units). It's against the law (These units are not legal for inhabitation) which would put our business in danger. I give them one warning and then they are out. Plus it bothers other tenants if they see someone hanging around all the time and wonder how safe their belongings are.

            We did have a Hurricane come through last month, and electricity was out for over a week in many areas. I did have some tenants come in and use the restrooms to clean up, brush teeth, etc. This, I didn't have a problem with. Many hotels didn't have electricity either and some water systems were down. We were just lucky to have both.

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            • #7
              There's a fine line between compassion and letting a tenant run roughshod over the rules and regs. As a manager you are hired to make sure that the rules and regs are followed. Fishhu is showing compassion in the above, but as we all know, letting a tenant LIVE in the unit is breaking the rules and a precursor to more problems (including sketchy electrical arrangements, fire, drugs etc etc).

              I have had to deal with this several times as a manager in San Diego-you feel for them but KNOW it's a slippery slope so putting your foot down in the beginning will save you from problems later on.
              Even duct-tape can't fix stupid. But it can muffle the noises.

              WA State

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              • #8
                No gray area here, it is black and white. No living in the unit, sleeping in the unit and no hanging around for long hours at the unit. I catch you, you are gone, PERIOD!

                Give them an inch and the mile will be taken. See my signature.
                "Never let the inmates run the asylum!"

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                • #9
                  Well, as we all know, scripts, written policies, and contracts don't mean much to people who intend to misuse their storage unit. It's not a common problem at the facility I manage, but it's usually pretty easy to spot a person intending to do this before actually renting to them. If their first question is "can I get to the unit any time I want?" that's a big red flag. Another is "What's the smallest/cheapest unit you've got?" I had one guy literally ask me, "Will the door lock on me if I close when I'm inside?" (smh...). If they somehow get past your screening process, their gate activity usually gives them away. Most people who don't use their unit for work don't come to their unit every day, so if you see someone coming frequently (especially early and late), then investigate and hopefully you have cameras.

                  I mean, it's sad that people are in this position, but at the same time, we're a business, not a charity.

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