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  • Locks/Keys

    We provide free locks/keys to our clients while they are here. Each of our locks has 2 keys, the client gets one and we keep one. We have numbered all of the locks and keys. However, this is a huge pain. Especially keeping track of all the keys. Do any of you provide locks and keys and if so, how do you manage it? Do you have one master key for all of the locks, and do you have your locks numbered as well? Thanks!

  • #2
    Re: Locks/Keys

    Originally posted by BudgetStorage View Post
    We provide free locks/keys to our clients while they are here. Each of our locks has 2 keys, the client gets one and we keep one. We have numbered all of the locks and keys. However, this is a huge pain. Especially keeping track of all the keys. Do any of you provide locks and keys and if so, how do you manage it? Do you have one master key for all of the locks, and do you have your locks numbered as well? Thanks!
    This is a very dangerous way to run the business. You are exposing yourself to an immense liability. What if:
    - You have a dishonest manager that takes things from clients?
    - Someone breaks into your office and gets into the keys?
    - A renter falsely accuses you or your staff of going into their unit?

    I'm sure the group here could add onto this list all day long. The standard operating procedure should be that you do not have a key to the rented units. When I sell a lock, I make a point of showing them the sealed package and either giving it to them or opening it in front of them and handing them both keys.

    If someone is delinquent, you use an overlock. If you need to get in for auction, you cut it.

    Steve Hajewski
    Trachte Building Systems
    www.trachte.com

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    • #3
      Re: Locks/Keys

      While I see your point Steve, our customers are free to provide their own locks and keys if they prefer. And in our defense, we own and manage our facility, the keys are stored in a locked safe off site and the renter is told up front that we have a key for emergencies. They like this because if they show up and have forgotten their key, they know we are only a phone call away and will come and unlock it for them. But again, it is completely their choice, and they sign a contract acknowledging this. My question was just about how to manage all the locks and keys.

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      • #4
        Re: Locks/Keys

        Sorry, I'm with Steve on this one. The great thing about Self Storage is that we do not have care, custody, and control of our customer's belongings, but you are deliberately making yourself responsible. I hope your insurance company knows you are doing this, because I have serious doubts they would approve.

        You asked if we provide locks and keep keys and how do we manage it. I would be surprised if you find anyone on here that does that on a grand scale. We do keep keys for select commercial customers for deliveries to their units, but it is a small quantity in one cabinet with hold harmless agreements signed. I can't imagine doing that for hundreds of units, particularly residential customers. However even the commercial customer purchases or brings their locks, and if they ever vacate, we hand the extra key back to them.

        If the customer loses the key to their lock, we cut it off for them for $25 and sell them a new lock.

        So how many emergencies do you have in a typical year that you need the customer's key for?

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        • #5
          Re: Locks/Keys

          On sites that have offices, we accept packages/boxes for tenants. Some tenants leave a spare key so that we or UPS and FEDEX can place the items in their units. I'll be honest: this makes me nervous! But those tenants do sign a note that says we can do that. I don't like it; especially when some of those boxes can be heavy.

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          • #6
            Re: Locks/Keys

            As Steve said, I am one of the group that would never want that responsibility for tenants keys. I do have 3 keys for commercial tenants that have been here years that I give to UPS or Fed Ex when they come but that is it. I would never want the liability. Like lisa said, what does the facility insurance company say about this? I bet nothing good.

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            • #7
              Re: Locks/Keys

              Originally posted by QuickTrip View Post
              On sites that have offices, we accept packages/boxes for tenants. Some tenants leave a spare key so that we or UPS and FEDEX can place the items in their units. I'll be honest: this makes me nervous! But those tenants do sign a note that says we can do that. I don't like it; especially when some of those boxes can be heavy.
              We don't deliver boxes to the customer's units. The delivery guys have to do so. Our agreement specifically says that we will not enter the units, and they are leaving the key for delivery drivers only. UPS, Fedex Ground, and all the trucking companies deliver to the units. Only the post office and Fedex Express do not. We encourage commercial customers to not use Fedex Express or the US mail for deliveries, but will keep a box or two in the office for a brief time if something shows up.

              Here again, check with your employer to make sure he's paying for the worker's comp rating for you to lift and carry heavy boxes. If not, you shouldn't be delivering them yourself. The vast majority of storage employees are listed as clerical or office employees.

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              • #8
                Re: Locks/Keys

                I don't know what size facility you run, but it definitely sounds like a head ache. We don't provide locks and keys because of the liability as well. Those that we do have keys for we have a hold harmless for. Why not just sell your tenants a disk lock for cost about $3.63/ each. You waive your liability almost exclusively and you can wash your hands of the head ache. Should someone choose to leave a key with you, they sign a hold harmless. These would be my suggestions.
                Chasing Perfection to catch Excellence

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                • #9
                  Re: Locks/Keys

                  Originally posted by pacnwstorage View Post
                  As Steve said, I am one of the group that would never want that responsibility for tenants keys. I do have 3 keys for commercial tenants that have been here years that I give to UPS or Fed Ex when they come but that is it. I would never want the liability. Like lisa said, what does the facility insurance company say about this? I bet nothing good.
                  I looked on the lease and it says nothing about accepting packages. It does have a paragraph about the "right to enter, inspect and repair premises"; other than that, we do not enter the tenant's unit. Also, the lease says that the Occupant shall not provide owner or owner's agent with a key and/or combination to occupant's lock. I don't know what the company's insurance states.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Locks/Keys

                    I know that all leases do not cover all possibilities for a tenant's stay at the facility. That is why I and I bet others have posted facility policy/rules in the offices. You can adapt your rules/policies to just about anything that comes down the pike. I would check with the insurance people asap. I don't like to accept packages but have when it is small or just a couple and then I am on the phone and email to the tenant to come get because I don't want the liability. Long standing commercial tenants have a key I keep for the UPS and Fed Ex.

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                    • #11
                      Re: Locks/Keys

                      Sounds like a lawsuit waiting to happen, "the storage company stole my flat screen tv, etc...

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Locks/Keys

                        Hi,
                        Look up the term 'bailment'. Then see if your insurance covers that.
                        Bob Meister
                        http://www.aboutstorage.com

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                        • #13
                          Re: Locks/Keys

                          Originally posted by Billings Storage View Post
                          Sounds like a lawsuit waiting to happen, "the storage company stole my flat screen tv, etc...
                          In instances where you are willing to accept deliveries for commercial tenants you have them sign a "Hold Harmless" agreement before you accept their key. While this doesn't prohibit someone from looking at you sideways, if both parties have a mutual trust then the arrangement can work out nicely. We used to have quite a few customers we accepted delivery for, but at this point, we only have one customer we accept deliveries for and we don't keep a key. We just sign for the packages, phone him and he comes by within a couple of hours to pick them up.
                          Gina 6k
                          twitter.com/GinaSixKudo
                          VM: Four-Oh-Eight- Seven-Eight-Oh-Eight-Oh-Seven-Nine
                          [email protected]



                          You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough!
                          I am not an attorney, just an experienced manager who is willing to share what I have learned. Your thoughts, practices or opinions may vary and neither of us may be right.

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                          • #14
                            Re: Locks/Keys

                            I was thinking about this... whether or not I think it's a good idea aside, I would take a look at what systems car dealerships use to organize and tag keys. That's probably the closest parallel to what the original poster is doing. Hotels briefly crossed my mind but they have mostly gone to card systems, so with the exception of small older hotels they have moved on.

                            Steve

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                            • #15
                              Re: Locks/Keys

                              I have to agree with everyone on here regarding the liability. We never keep a key to a tenants unit except the deliveries with Hold Harmless agreements. We have actually stopped providing this service to new tenants and only honor current tenants with whom we have been doing this for.
                              Stephanie Tharpe
                              President
                              A+ Management Group, LP
                              Nashville, TN
                              www.aplusmanagementgroup.com
                              615.288.2162

                              TNSSA Board of Directors
                              www.tnssa.net

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