Are you living in a small apartment or moving to a small apartment and looking for somewhere to store your belongings? Well, storage units are the perfect solution for you. But what happens if you don’t pay for storage?
You’ve probably heard the horror stories of people who didn’t pay their storage unit bill on time and lost everything they had stored in the unit. Not only do you have to worry about losing your belongings, but you also have to worry about paying a huge fine or going to jail.
Paying for storage is the best way to ensure that your belongings are safe and sound. Storage companies offer a variety of payment plans so that you can find one that fits your budget. Plus, most companies offer a discount if you pay for the entire year in advance.
Here’s what will likely happen if you fail to pay for storage.
The Storage Unit Will Go Into Default
If you don’t pay your storage unit bill, your unit will go into default. This means that the storage company can take legal action against you. The company will first send you a notice letting you know that you have 30 days to pay the bill, or they will take possession of your belongings.
If you’re unable to pay your rent on time, for one reason or the other, you’ll be given a grace period. Nothing will happen to your items if you pay within this grace period. If you don’t pay, then that’s when things will start going south.
Each rent contract has a point of default defined, which is the longest period you can go without paying rent. In most cases, it’s 30 days. If you take more than these days, the storage unit will go into default, and the management will cut your lock and replace it with one of their own.
The Management Will Try to Reach You
If you don’t show up to pay your storage bill, the management will try to reach out to you. They’ll send letters and make phone calls. If they can’t get ahold of you, they’ll start going into default. They’ll try to reach you because self-storage businesses are bound by lien laws that they must strictly follow to avoid small claim court cases.
Once your unit is in default, they will try to contact you at least once to let you know that you have missed your payment. That’s why it is important to ensure that you update your contact information with them when you move. This is because their attempt to reach you could go wrong if you fail to update your contact address, which can cost your belongings.
The most common form of communication in many states is using email. It’s a valid mode of communication since some homeowners may have changed addresses and may no longer receive the notification on their last known address.
There Will be Some Waiting Period Before Your Belongings are Auctioned
The entire process of an auction is governed by state law. There are different procedures and rules for each state, so you’ll need to check with your state’s laws to find out the details. Depending on the state, there may be a waiting period from the time of the sale until the actual auction.
This is to give you time to redeem the property. This period is usually 30-90 days, but it varies by state. During this time, they will try to reach you, and this is a good opportunity to explain yourself to the facility manager. Explain what is going on, and you could get yourself a deal that works for both of you.
You’ll Be Notified of the Auction Date
Most states require that the homeowners be notified of the date of the auction. The notice is generally published in a local newspaper and/or posted on the courthouse door. The notice will list the date, time, and location of the auction and a brief description of the property to be auctioned.
In remote areas where there are no local publications, advertisements may be made through flyers and announcements. This will notify the public of the impending auction but won’t provide as much detail as a legal notice.
You Can Stop the Auction by Paying the Debt
If you’re in danger of foreclosure, you might be able to stop the process by paying off the entire debt owed to the bank, including any back payments, fees, and interest. This is called reinstatement and must be done before the auction date.
The facility managers will also be obliged to work with you so that they don’t need to auction your properties. Make sure you explain yourself to them. You might be surprised to find out that you can strike a deal to help you keep your belongings and pay the arrears at a more convenient time. You will need to move your belongings immediately after the settlement to make room for another tenant.
Your Credit Score Will be Affected
If you let your property go to auction, this will negatively affect your credit score. This will happen, especially when your unit has been auctioned off and the auction price was not able to cover the full past due amount. You can settle this amount with your storage facility owner, but this doesn’t mean that you’ll be getting your items back.
When the balance remains unpaid, the facility owner can turn over your debt to a collections agency, eventually hurting your credit rating. This will make it harder for you to get loans in the future and can even lead to higher interest rates. If you are trying to rebuild your credit, this is the last thing you want. So if at all possible, try to work something out with your landlord or the mortgage company to avoid this.
It’s Not Worth It
In the end, most people will tell you that it’s not worth going through all the hassle and expense of a foreclosure. If you can sell the property for less than what you owe on it, it’s probably not worth your time and effort. You’re better off just giving the property back to the bank and walking away.
In most cases, you’ll be able to buy another home in the future and start over. So don’t let a foreclosure ruin your life – it’s not worth it. But let this be your last resort after you’ve tried all the means possible to avoid it.
What can you do to ensure your belongings are not disposed of?
The easiest thing to do is to pay for the storage fees. However, there are other things that you can do, like ensuring that you give the storage manager your address, your email, and your landline and mobile phone numbers. You can also give the contact details of a close family member or a close friend.
The commercial interest of a storage firm is in keeping your stuff and collecting fees. So once they have contacted you, it’s important to reply promptly and let them know your intentions. If you’re abroad and making an immediate payment is impractical, tell the storage manager when you’ll be back and how you will pay when you get home. Make sure this message is acknowledged in some way.
How do the storage companies get rid of unpaid properties?
Storage companies may use different ways to dispose of unpaid things, including skips, recycling centers, selling to house clearance companies, and selling privately. If your stuff has been disposed of and there was something irreplaceable, try to ask your company manager how they disposed of it. It may not be too late, as they may be more helpful if you pay off your arrears.
What happens to your storage contents if the tenant dies?
There are some legal issues that are involved in the event of a tenant in the lien. The tenant’s family will inform the storage company of what happened if they know the person owned a storage unit. After that, the unit will be sealed, as the company, once informed, does not have the right to sell the contents or hand them over to any relatives unless written in a validated will.
If there is a written will for the family member to take the stuff, then the family will have to come and claim the belongings and pay off any outstanding balance on the unit. If the family does not want the belongings, then they can sign a waiver releasing the storage company of all liability, and the company can dispose of the contents however it sees fit.
Storage units are a great option for those who need extra space to store their belongings. However, before considering a storage unit as your next option, try to go through the lease contract because it contains all the information you need to know in case you fall back on payment. It’s important to read through and understand the contents of the lease contract before signing because it can help you avoid legal issues with late payments in the future.