Don’t Lose Your Treasured Belongings: How to Avoid Self Storage Foreclosure
Thousands of self-storage units are abandoned, defaulted on, and auctioned off each year. Unfortunately, if your self-storage facility doesn’t have your current contact information or payment option on file, this could happen to you! Maybe you got a new credit card and didn’t update your auto-pay information, or maybe you have a new address or phone number. If you default on paying for your unit, you could lose all of your personal belongings and possibly still owe a large balance to your facility!
Know What is in Your Contract
Your lease will clearly state the terms you are expected to abide by while you are renting your unit, including the steps that will occur if you default on your payments. Once you are in default, you will be denied access to the facility as well as your unit.
Your storage facility will work very hard to contact you via mail, email or phone. If you’ve recently moved and your facility doesn’t have your address, you may not receive the letter. You also may not receive notices if you have an email on file that you don’t check or if the facility does not have your current phone number.
State and local laws vary as to what happens next, but your facility manager will announce publicly that your storage unit has been abandoned. Often an ad is place in the local newspaper that will include your name as well as the date and time when your storage unit will be auctioned to the public.
Your Unit Will Be Auctioned
A public auction will be held to compensate your storage facility for the unpaid rent on the unit. This also clears out the unit so it can be available for a new tenant. Auctioned units bring in a variety of prices depending on the items in your unit and the bidders at the auction. Your unit may sell for thousands of dollars or only a few dollars, depending on its contents and the bidders at the auction. If your unit sells for more than what you owe, you are entitled to the remainder. However, if the auction does not raise enough money to pay off your outstanding debt, you will receive a bill for the remaining amount. If payment is still not made, the bill may be sent to a collections agency and your credit will be affected.
How to Avoid Foreclosure
Check with your facility’s management periodically to ensure that they have received your payments. If you have your payment set up in auto-pay, be sure to update your account if your credit card number changes. Be an informed consumer and prevent foreclosure by making prompt payments and keeping your information up to date at all times.