No announcement yet.

New storage unit facility owner :-)

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • New storage unit facility owner :-)


    I just purchased a storage unit facility in Wisconsin the beginning of April. I am totally new to this business and have many questions. I hope you all bear with me.

    The previous owner did not keep on top of collections at all. Thus said, we inherited 2 tenants that are way behind on payments. I am having a difficult time locating either one of them as again the previous owner did not keep good records, and I do not have updated addresses or phone numbers. What would you do in a case like this?

    I have read through the Wisconsin laws regarding storage units. I am wondering how much effort is to be exhausted in trying to locate a tenant who is behind on payments. I have sent letters to the address on their contracts, but of course they no longer live there :-(. Also, I have called the phone numbers listed on the contract, and of course the phone has been disconnected.

    One tenant is 3 months behind and the other is 4 months behind on payments.

    Have I exhausted my search for them? I have located one on Facebook, but I am sure it is taboo to contact a tenant via Facebook, even if done so via a private message.

    Can I start my first default letter.... I have kept all envelopes stating "addressee no longer lives here."

    Should default letters #1 and #2 both be sent certified? I am sure they will be returned to me as addressee no longer lives here, but I will keep them as a record that I made an attempt to notify them of their default in payments and that their storage items will soon be removed from their unit.

    When I have exhausted the default letter route, from my understanding of the Wisconsin laws I am to put an ad in the local paper under legal notices..... that said, I am not sure how to word the ad????

    All other tenants are great (50 of them) all paid up to date and have an excellent history of paying on time. I just need to get these 2 tenants to pay up or I need them to move on so I can rent these 2 units out again. Oh, the previous owner said these 2 tenants have always been a problem, getting way behind and then catching up. I don't want to play that game as the units will be a big part of my income after I retire.

    Any suggestions or knowledge you have would be greatly appreciated :-)

    I believe it is Default Letter sent out, 2 weeks later the second default letter, and then 2 weeks later an ad in the paper. Is this correct?

    *Sorry about all the questions but the Wisconsin laws are a little difficult for me to understand as I have poor reading comprehension.

    Thank You,

    Cloverport :-)
    Last edited by cloverport; 6 May 2016, 03:23 PM.

  • #2
    Re: New storage unit facility owner :-)

    First, do the tenants way behind have alternate contacts listed? I would start the lien process like they just got to the time for that. I know has been way longer but that is an inherited problem for you. Start the process and follow the state statutes as per the steps and time frames for each. What does the lease say about when it all starts? Does it mention that updated phone numbers and addresses are the responsibility of the tenant? Hopefully someone here, from Wisconsin, can help. Also contact your state Self Storage Association for details. They should help you. In some states they have books/literature they can either give you or sell to you that takes the state statutes and puts in laymen's terms to easily understand.


    • #3
      Re: New storage unit facility owner :-)

      There are no alternative contacts on the contracts. Some of the contracts are over a year old. I of course am going to change that situation and keep better records in the future. I believe it does mention that updated information is their responsibility. Thank you for the info on the state self storage association I will contact them as well.

      Now, that I own the units I will not let a tenant get this far behind in the future.

      Thank you pacnwstorage :-)


      • #4
        Re: New storage unit facility owner :-)

        Does the lease/contract state anything about when lien proceedings start? Is the lease initialed? Is it signed? I can tell you that having just 2 tenants causing you grief out of a total of 52 is pretty good. Get rid of them and move on and check out my signature. I can assure you that whether you have a smaller facility or larger, get familiar with the statutes. Best thing to do for the future. The state SSA may also have a sample of a lease that can help you update your lease if needed.


        • #5
          Re: New storage unit facility owner :-)


          I'm also in WI.

          My routine:
          Payment due on 1st of month.
          Friendly reminder e-mail or letter (depends on tenant) sent out first of month if not paid. Better sooner than later I have found.
          Paper letter, overlock, and $20 late fee on the 8th to 10th of the month (when I get to it, really). Management software also sends a copy via e-mail if on file.
          32 days late: Cut the lock and see what's in there. If not empty or a car, lien letter mailed via certified mail.
          In another week I place an ad in the paper, charge them $50 for the two ads.
          I photograph the ad and publish it in the local facebook "word of mouth/classifieds" group. Far more effective than the newspaper. This goes viral locally, lots of shares and people tagging each other. THIS is when the tenant will come out of the woodwork and call you with a story. They or someone they know WILL see it, and considering you were legally obligated to publish it in the newspaper anyway, I see nothing crass about this. You are helping to prevent their stuff from being sold if they see this.

          I've never actually had an auction yet. Been through the above process three or four times now. The money always comes in about two days before the auction. YOu know what's in there from when you cut the lock, so you can judge if it's worth taking partial payment or not. My opinion is that I don't want an auction if I can avoid it. It's a chance to get sued, and really I just want that tenant gone. I once told a delinquent tenant I would take 50% payment but only if they showed up with a truck or trailer and moved out immediately, and signed a paper saying they were doing so.

          Whatever mail comes back as undeliverable, you need to save, unopened, as evidence that you tried to contact them at last known address. It's not your responsibility to track them down beyond using the contact info they gave you on the contract or in writing otherwise, although I see no reason you can't use facebook messaging. It's private. Just know that your message may go to a "filtered" section and they may never see it. Also I would never "friend" a client for collection purposes.

          If they give you a new address, ask for it in writing or email so that you can print and retain a record of that correspondence.



          Latest Topics