Can A Self Storage Centre Sell My Goods?

self storage costs

Have things been a little tight financially? Maybe you’ve missed a payment on your self storage rental? When it comes to self storage costs and missing payments, storage facilities may deny you access to your belongings but can the centre sell them if you don’t pay?

The simplest solution is to speak to your self storage centre manager and let them know your situation as there may be another option. The worst thing you can do is bury your head in the sand and ignore the issue. In this guide, we share some advice on how it all works and what you need to do.

Self Storage Costs, Contracts And Obligations

By signing a contract, you must pay the agreed self storage costs for renting the unit. If you fail to meet those agreed payments, the centre has a right of lien over the contents. That means they can hold on to your belongings until you’ve paid the debt. However, it’s not as easy as the show “Storage Wars” make it to be as the proper is long and complicated.

The storage facility should first give you notice that you are in arrears and what will happen if you don’t make payment. If you ignore the notices and don’t pay your self storage costs, the centre will be entitled to dispose of the contents at some stage. Remember, as long as your belongings are in there, and you don’t pay, they are losing income as they can’t rent it to anyone else.

Storage Auctions And Notifications

According to Self Storage Association UK, the practice of auctioning abandoned contents of self-storage units is illegal in the UK. All the UK’s leading self storage companies follow strict guidelines, including Space Centre Self Storage, when a personal storage unit or business storage unit in Stroud, Gloucester, Stonehouse or Bristol is abandoned. Here are the 3 steps that storage facilities must follow upon discovering an abandoned storage unit.

3-Step Process For Abandoned Units Or Non-Payment Issues

The first thing they will do is make several attempts to contact the owner of the storage unit before accessing the goods via post, e-mail and phone call. It may seem like they want to sell your contents but it’s actually not a profitable exercise.

If they still can’t contact the owner, the storage unit may be valued in terms of its contents. The facility will sell items of value to cover the rental debt from the previous owner but this is not in the form of storage unit auctions.

When the owner cannot be contacted, the facility will make an inventory list of the items and add an estimated value to all the goods. From there they will contact antique dealers and second-hand furniture stores amongst other specialists to try and sell the items. Any items that are not sold will most likely be disposed of.

Self Storage Costs And Bereavement

There is the odd exception to the rule where there is a genuine reason for non-payment and receiving no response to letters. This extends to a death in the family where they are unaware that the person had a storage unit. If there’s no paperwork lying around and the property isn’t owned, there’s a chance it could be overlooked.

The truth is, nobody wants to get into a long-winded dispute over self storage costs and non-payment. So, if you think you’re going to have trouble meeting your monthly commitments, talk to your storage centre manager. There are probably things that can be done to help which we highlight in the next section.

How To Ask For Help

The simplest solution is to remove your contents from the storage unit before you get to the point of no longer being able to pay the fees. This way you won’t have any issues but if you really have nowhere else to store your belongings, you could request to move everything into a smaller unit. There are 2 options when doing this:

  • Ask the storage facility for advice on how you are storing the contents of your unit. Can it be done more efficiently that will allow you to move everything to a smaller unit and reduce your costs?
  • Take a detailed stock of what you are storing and ask yourself whether you need everything in there. Perhaps you can put a few things into the garage at home, with friends or get rid of altogether.

How To Avoid Issues With Self Storage Costs

It may seem easier said than done but the key is to not get into arrears in the first place. When you start using a self storage unit, take some time to think about what you are storing, how you are storing it and if you really need it.

Make sure you get the right-sized unit from the start so you are not paying for space you don’t need. Always think about the possibility of having to store items for longer than you originally planned to. If you need some advice about how best to store your items, ask the centre manager.

Solutions may include setting up a payment plan, paying a discounted amount for rent or paying what you can now and agree to pay the rest later. As part of the deal you could be asked to remove your belongings immediately so be prepared for that.

What’s Included In Self Storage Costs?

When we talk about self storage costs, it covers more than the physical unit. The price of a self storage unit largely depends on how much stuff you want to store, the storage period and the replacement value of your belongings should something go wrong. Self storage costs are also often higher the closer you are to major cities.

On average, the cost of a self storage unit is approximately £23.11 per square foot per year (source: SSA Report, 2019). However, this is the national average and prices may vary depending on the location of the facility. Also, keep in mind that the value quoted by the SSA is the base rate and excludes VAT and insurance.

Related: ‘8 Things You Should Know About Storage Costs

Conclusion

A golden rule is to clear out before you store, especially when moving from one property to another. It’s so easy to put everything from the existing property into self storage but that’s not always the best idea. Be strict about your pre-move clear-out and get rid of anything you are not likely going to use or need.

Most centres are flexible when it comes to changing the size of your unit. At Space Centre Self Storage, we certainly are and you can even move to a smaller unit without a penalty as we understand that your circumstances might change.

With the help of our easy-to-use online Price & Size Guide, you can rent the right unit for your requirements. Visit the website or contact our friendly, experienced staff for more information about self storage costs and how to reserve the perfect unit for you.

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Mark Dangerfield

About Mark Dangerfield

Mark started his career in precision engineering before establishing Space Centre Self Storage in 1995 with his father Paul. The company started in Stroud with just a handful of storage units and has now expanded to include three branches and over 800 individual units in Gloucestershire & North Bristol. Mark's great grandfather started a Stroud based removal company J H Dangerfield & Son in 1900, and the family have been in the industry ever since. With storage facilities in Gloucester, Stroud and Bristol, Mark has a wealth of experience and is passionate about providing local affordable, quality self storage