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What to Do If Tenants Leave Stuff In Unit After Moving Out

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  • What to Do If Tenants Leave Stuff In Unit After Moving Out

    I'm working on an article for the StoreLocal blog about what facilities can do if tenants leave junk in their units after they have officially moved out. Personally, when I've moved out of storage units I've always left them spotless, and I don't understand why anyone would leave anything, but I know it happens.

    So, how do you handle it?

  • #2
    My customers fill out their notice to vacate form and there is a box to check that states any items left in the unit after the move-out date are subject to either disposal or auction. In either case we charge $250. I explain to my customers, that we use the fee as a way to strongly discourage you from leaving stuff behind.

    I would much rather re rent an empty unit for a lower monthly price than charge someone for throwing their stuff away.

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    • #3
      Thanks, Merman! That's really helpful.

      Out of curiosity, what happens if you're unable to collect the $250?

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      • #4
        I keep their $30 deposit and depending on the amount either put it in the dumpster or take it to the dump. The goal is to get the unit back producing rental fees ASAP. It doesn't happen very often, my customers are very nice and respectful or I wouldn't have rented to them in the first place. THE MOST IMPORTANT aspect of our business is qualifying the tenants. If they don't pass the test, they don't get a unit from me, there's plenty of facilities within a mile that will rent to anybody that comes into the office.....and they get what they bargained for.
        In no way affiliated with Storman software.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by jonfesmire View Post
          Thanks, Merman! That's really helpful.

          Out of curiosity, what happens if you're unable to collect the $250?
          The corporate office would decide if they want to send it to collections or just write it off as a bad debt. Unless there are substantial amounts of money owed, maybe some extenuating circumstances, I believe the big bosses typically write it off and focus on rentals.

          My standard practice is to call the customer before I charge any fees though and give them an opportunity to remove the items. I tell them that the items need to be removed by the end of the day or I will have to charge them. The same goes for the few times that people have dumped their stuff by my dumpster.

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          • #6
            Like Storman said, the first contact should be a time to decide what kind of tenant you have and if you would rent to them. I tell all tenants that no matter what is left in the unit it is a $400 tab and will be sent to collections if not paid. I cover all this at move in and when given move out notice. I caught someone in a 10x10 trying to leave things about 4 years ago. That was when I was weeding out problem holdover tenants from the previous manager. I called them and reminded them what my policy was. They came back and emptied the unit and flipped me off when they went out the exit gate. Being flipped off is a badge of honor to me at times. I give no excuses and accept no excuses.
            "Never let the inmates run the asylum!"

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            • #7
              Originally posted by pacnwstorage View Post
              Like Storman said, the first contact should be a time to decide what kind of tenant you have and if you would rent to them. I tell all tenants that no matter what is left in the unit it is a $400 tab and will be sent to collections if not paid. I cover all this at move in and when given move out notice. I caught someone in a 10x10 trying to leave things about 4 years ago. That was when I was weeding out problem holdover tenants from the previous manager. I called them and reminded them what my policy was. They came back and emptied the unit and flipped me off when they went out the exit gate. Being flipped off is a badge of honor to me at times. I give no excuses and accept no excuses.
              Do you have any luck getting money that you have sent to collections. And this question is for anyone to answer not only Pac
              Dave (Woodee) Scott

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              • #8
                I never send to collections, I just say I will. To me it is better to just get the unit empty and rent again. Collections costs money and I see no reason to throw good money after bad. Some facilities use collections though. The fact that I tell the tenants how nosey I am and am on my golf cart checking open units and look for move out activity. I then ask and see if they will tell me they are moving out.
                "Never let the inmates run the asylum!"

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                • #9
                  I charge a $50-100 cleaning fee, if there is more than just trash I post the unit with my auctions.

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                  • #10
                    Oh my. Unless I can get a Relinquish Rights Form signed by the tenant abandoned units always go through Lien Process. I am never going to assume that valuables were not left unintentionally behind. It may just be a bag of trash but as soon as I dispose of it (without proper relinquish rights paperwork) then the customer can claim they left diamonds in that trash bag. We always go through lien process and dot all of the I's and cross all the T's.

                    Not worth the risk.....JMO....
                    Stephanie Tharpe
                    Senior VP of Operations
                    A+ Storage of Tennessee, LLC
                    Nashville, TN
                    http://www.aplustorage.com
                    615.288.2162

                    TNSSA Board of Directors
                    www.tnssa.net

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                    • #11
                      I do the same as MCG.
                      MamaDuke

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                      • #12
                        The OP said "leave junk in their units", and that's what I based by comments off of. If I open the door and find a bag of trash, I'll take pictures and get rid of it. Going through the CA lien process takes weeks.

                        On the other hand, if I open the unit and there are things that look to me to have value, then off we go with the lien process while I'm calling every contact I can find for that tenant, their family, friends, social media accounts, etc. making life hard on them until they either come get it or it's sold.

                        Clearly MCG and Mamaduke are better managers than I am, and I mean that.
                        In no way affiliated with Storman software.

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                        • #13
                          I send a notice of abandonment letter if I deem there is nothing of value in the unit, but there's more then I would like to go dump if possible. I wait 10 days and then throw it away. It's the easiest, fastest legal way I could find to get rid of left behind junk.

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