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"I didn't use the whole month. Don't I get a refund?"

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  • "I didn't use the whole month. Don't I get a refund?"

    For some reason, I've had a good number of tenants lately who don't seem to be able to read or understand what a "monthly contract" means. They believe if they empty and unlock their unit on April 16, for example, that they should receive a refund for April 17-30. When I remind them that storage contracts are monthly, not daily, they then object that "You're going to rent the unit to someone else and get double rent for that time period." Well, yes, because YOU chose to remove your lock and empty the unit, thus voluntarily giving up your unit and terminating the contract. I even had one guy he told me he as "absolutely sickened" that he wasn't going to get a refund. Do these people really think we're giving refunds to everyone who vacates before the last day of the month? We'd be issuing refunds left and right!

    I think what confuses people sometimes is that we prorate the first month, but that is not a refund. The contract AND policy sheet clearly state, "There are no refunds for rent payments except for pre-paid rent beyond the current monthly rental period in which you vacate your unit." So, yeah, if you paid through May and vacate on April 16, you'll get May back, but not April.

  • #2
    We're setup the same way. We prorate in but not out and we stress this at move-in. I have had a couple who try to push back and I remind them, they are more than welcome to keep the unit until the last day of the month, if they don't want us re-renting it. I've only had one tenant that did that, but he had already removed his lock, so I blue tagged him, sent him an unlocked unit notice along with what the fee is for us locking said unit. I got a $5 extra charge out of him for him being stubborn. On the other hand, I do have tenants who are surprised we don't charge them an early termination fee for them vacating early.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by AngelaESSTX View Post
      I do have tenants who are surprised we don't charge them an early termination fee for them vacating early.
      Wow, that would be a new one for me! I had one older guy years ago who removed his lock on an emptied unit mid-month and when he found out there was no refund, he came bursting into the office with a lock raising his voice "That's MY unit, and don't you rent it to anybody else! I'm putting this lock on right now!" I basically told him to suit himself but be sure it was removed by the last day of the month if he didn't want to pay for the next month. To his credit, he had it removed on time, LOL! And this guy was REALLY well-to-do as well

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      • #4
        So how can you make this clear when tenants move in?
        Amy Campbell
        Editor
        Inside Self-Storage
        [email protected]

        @AmyCampbell_ISS
        480.281.6091

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Amy_ISS View Post
          So how can you make this clear when tenants move in?
          We have a bullet-point style policy sheet that summarizes the major things in the contract, and this is near the top of that list. We also verbally mention go over that. Every new or returning tenant is required to read and sign this policy sheet.

          To be clear, MOST tenants understand this and don't cause a fuss, but we do have a sizeable minority lately that seem to have selective memories (or decided they didn't like the policy that they agreed to).

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          • #6
            RMRSS Bullet points are an excellent way to highlight important parts of the lease.
            Amy Campbell
            Editor
            Inside Self-Storage
            [email protected]

            @AmyCampbell_ISS
            480.281.6091

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Amy_ISS View Post
              So how can you make this clear when tenants move in?
              We have an addendum they have to read (or we read to them) and sign that specifies "WE DO NOT PRORATE MOVE OUTS You have until the LAST DAY of the Month to move your items out. If you are still here on the 1st of the month you will be charged for the full month. Units must be SWEPT OUT prior to leaving. We need a 10 day written notice before vacating."

              We also have it posted in office with other important bullet points: No smoking on prop, etc. They are told but some still think they can either sweet talk or muscle talk their way to a refund haha.

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              • #8
                I tell everyone it's a 'month to month contract'. If they pay ahead our policy is, and it's on the rules and regs and signs in office, 'no refunds on pre-paid rent', though if it's someone active duty who was suddenly sent somewhere we'll waive that.
                "The comeback is always stronger than the setback."
                Mom, Navy Vet, genealogist and voracious reader
                WA state

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                • #9
                  When I go through the rules of the property sheet. The first thing I do is explain that issue clearly, with examples. I ask if they are clear about move out policy. Have not had an issue in a few years. Never assume that they read the paperwork.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Amy_ISS View Post
                    So how can you make this clear when tenants move in?
                    I'm not sure it matters how clear you make it for some people, they will always claim they didn't know or it wasn't explained to them even though its clearly outlined when they move in.

                    I always like to point out to the few that do argue it, that had they given us proper notice to vacate, we could have let them know ahead of time.

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                    • #11
                      I added on the front of lease... NO RENT REFUNDS and require them to initial and that's when I tell them, if you are on auto pay tell us before you are going to move out, I tell them I would rather you stay 2 days over with out paying than us keep your whole month, and IF there are circumstances I will allow ONE prorate of 10 days, if they don't move out, they must pay a whole month. (I have them sign a paper on this as well if they do prorate) and I am glad this is a post, as I have been wondering if things changed, as I thought you couldn't re rent the unit until the end of the paid to date. (AZ) I know this was a law once upon a time, (or maybe it was a company policy) but maybe things have changed. I am not going to tell an "untruth" I have moved it out if they are gone and re rented if I really needed a unit for someone. I try to be as understanding with people as I can. I have a lot of return customers, and my boss is happy so I guess I am doing ok, except the can I move it out and re rent it, even if they are paid till the end of their rental period??? (back to the AZSSA website ha! )

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by SBAZ View Post
                        I added on the front of lease... NO RENT REFUNDS and require them to initial and that's when I tell them, if you are on auto pay tell us before you are going to move out, I tell them I would rather you stay 2 days over with out paying than us keep your whole month, and IF there are circumstances I will allow ONE prorate of 10 days, if they don't move out, they must pay a whole month. (I have them sign a paper on this as well if they do prorate) and I am glad this is a post, as I have been wondering if things changed, as I thought you couldn't re rent the unit until the end of the paid to date. (AZ) I know this was a law once upon a time, (or maybe it was a company policy) but maybe things have changed. I am not going to tell an "untruth" I have moved it out if they are gone and re rented if I really needed a unit for someone. I try to be as understanding with people as I can. I have a lot of return customers, and my boss is happy so I guess I am doing ok, except the can I move it out and re rent it, even if they are paid till the end of their rental period??? (back to the AZSSA website ha! )
                        That would sure be a silly law and government over-reach, since the tenant has the right to keep the unit locked through their paid-thru date if they wish. Removing their lock means "I no longer want this unit" and is a voluntary action. But as we all know, silly laws are not unheard of. Let me know what you find out! And obviously abide by the law for your state, whatever it turns out to be.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by RMRSS View Post

                          That would sure be a silly law and government over-reach, since the tenant has the right to keep the unit locked through their paid-thru date if they wish. Removing their lock means "I no longer want this unit" and is a voluntary action. But as we all know, silly laws are not unheard of. Let me know what you find out! And obviously abide by the law for your state, whatever it turns out to be.
                          I am sure hoping it is not a law, as what you are all saying sure seems like we should be able! I will let you know!

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                          • #14
                            I also have a conversation at move-in that we are prorating them to the end of the month, but we do NOT prorate on move-out. When they look at me with those glassy eyes, I slow down and explain it again. "you rent from me the space for a calendar month at a time, I don't give you money back if you move out before the end of the month, the same as if you rented at house or apartment".

                            Then they seem to get it.
                            In no way affiliated with Storman software.

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                            • #15
                              I have my tenants initial a statement that says they understand that we don't prorate out. I believe that it's more of an attempt to get a few bucks back rather than not knowing for many of them. But this argument is also part of the side effect of non-contact rentals. After all, when was the last time you read a software agreement or fine text on an online purchase before clicking "accept?"

                              I explain that we prorate in because its easy to do, but we do not prorate out because we have nearly 300 units and it would be an administrative nightmare. Much like a hotel that will not refund you part of your stay if you leave at 5 in the morning, I do not refund your rent when you check out early. The hotel charges in one night increments, I charge in one month increments. I rarely get anyone complaining it at that point.

                              As for the "but you are going to re-rent it" complaint... sure, and I sat on an nearly empty facility when I built it and I get to absorb the expanses between rentals.

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