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  • Unsure how to approach this issue

    I have a unit that a customer had purchased during the end of july, about the end of august it was brought to our attention that the said unit was still empty and had no lock on it. It seems like the customer came in paid for the unit and than just left to never come back. We have called multiple times attempting to reach the customer, but they never answer or return our calls from the voicemails we left. How would you go about dealing with this abandoned unit, I want to assume to start a pre-lien, lien and auction process but at the same time, what property am I putting through that process to gain possession of. The unit is clean, no items/trash, and no lock has been put on it. I am familiar with California's self storage laws (thanks to this amazing site) and have read through a lot, but have not come across a situation Any help is appreciated

  • #2
    My contract clearly states any unit left vacant with no lock is considered vacated and will be removed from the system. Does your contract have anything similar?

    Even without that, I would just make good notes and move it out. You have tried to reach them. The unit is empty and available to rent. Just be done with them.
    MamaDuke

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    • #3
      Do you have things in your contract as MamaDuke has? You should have if you do not Then you enforce the contract when you have those things in it Also check you lien laws

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      • #4
        Vacate it out of the system, clean that puppy and re-rent it. . If there is no lock and it's empty? Consider it a move out.
        "The comeback is always stronger than the setback."
        Mom, Navy Vet, genealogist and voracious reader
        Always sunny in California

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        • #5
          Buuuuuuutttttt, don't be surprised if they come in one day and are 'baffled' that their code doesn't work and they stop in the office and find they don't have a unit. I have had that happen. Some people are completely comfortable paying for an empty unit.

          Why??? *shrug* no earthly idea. The same people who keep their unit on autopay for 37 years and haven't stopped in to see it.
          "The comeback is always stronger than the setback."
          Mom, Navy Vet, genealogist and voracious reader
          Always sunny in California

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          • #6
            I agree with everyone here. I would move it out of the system. It's always a good idea to have something in your contract stating that the contract will void if the space is empty and lock is removed. No sense in having to write off debt when you could be renting it.

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            • #7
              Well we called the customer, notifying them about being late for August's payment and to avoid a late fee to get in contact with us, never heard back from them. Than around the end of august, another customer brought to our attention that the unit had no lock on it, and that they wanted the bigger size unit if it was available. So when they informed me I went out to check it out. Sure enough, the unit looks the same as the day I swept it out after the previous owner vacated. It doesn't even look like they went back there after they paid for the first month. I have called them multiple times since the end of August, two during the first week of September, than a final time last Friday stating that if we didn't hear back from them, that they would be forfeiting their unit and we were going to vacate it. I also sent a letter by mail to the address we had on file about this action. Yet I for my boss that is the facility manager (check my profile for explanation because we are more than just a storage unit facility, i just handle all storage related work while still having to report to my boss over seeing the whole property) She wants to make sure we approach it legally and go through the necessary steps before doing any action. Also, I have looked over our rental agreement multiple time, in my opinion from just reading through the forums, it's missing some provisions to help cover us on scenarios I've already ran into. I am unsure if I can post it here, and see what could be suggested to be added that we may have missed. I feel like the old manager in my position just copied and pasted the whole agreement from somewhere on google and than copied the business and professions code sections for the lien process. Thank you in advance for everything that you all inform me with! #Blessed2BeHere

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              • #8
                Sometimes customers rent a unit and then decide that no longer need it. If they haven't put a lock on in a few days we give them a call. If it is the last day of the month and I haven't heard from them after calls, text, emails and snail mail then I move them out on the 1st of the month. They are paid up until the last day of the month.

                Then there are others that rent a 5x5 unit on March 5th and pay for 2 years but didn't put a lock on. We finally got a hold of him on March 31st and he said he still needed the unit and he would be in to put a lock on and he did April 1st. Then he came in and paid for another year on 06-28-2021. Many years ago, before automatic gates, he was the night time security guard here. He would close the gate at 9pm and walk around the property until 6am the next morning. I looked him up on line and didn't find any arrest records or public records. He is odd but I feel ok about him.

                Sounds like you will have to get a " real " rental agreement made up, have new customers sign in and then send it to your current customers. I am sure that the CA SSA can direct you to someone that can help.

                The future depends on what you do in the present.

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                • #9
                  I really think you will be ok moving it out, The ladies that gave you the advice above, they do know their stuff!! You could be making money on that unit! Join your state self storage association, then you could even call them and they will give you advice. And you can get the proper leases! Have a great day, hope you get this solved, If it were me, I would move it out, rent it!

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                  • #10
                    If a tenant rents a unit, fails to lock it, has no items inside, but continues to pay for it, then I'd simply inform them I'm placing an overlock on the unit to secure the unit from unauthorized use, and they'll have to come during office hours to put their own lock on it. The unit is making you money.

                    if they do everything above EXCEPT they fail to continue to pay for it then I'd simply consider it abandoned on the day the late fee would apply and move it out (warn them first, but if they don't respond, that's on them). Be sure to send an email move out confirmation and make account notes so they can't claim you never told them. The unit is no longer making you money. There's no liability here either because their items aren't in the unit and they have no prepaid rent.

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                    • #11
                      I had this happen a couple of months ago. Guy came and rented a 10x10 unit; never used it, never locked it. His gate code was never used either. A few days past when his rent would have been due, I called him but no answer. There was no option to leave a voice mail so I tried calling several more times throughout the day. Nothing. I waited til the end of the day, to give him time to call back, but ended up just moving him out. I've never heard from him and he's never been back since the day he initially rented.
                      Too many freaks, not enough circuses.

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                      • #12
                        Thank you all for the knowledge, I respect all of your guys answers. I still haven't heard from the people and ended up just moving them out, seeing that they were 2 months behind....cleaning up after the previous manager, we just suspended gate codes to people that haven't paid for close to a year, and starting the liens/auctions on the other units that are 8 months or more unpaid. Slowly getting this place in shape. Thanks again everyone

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