Are you the renter of a self-storage unit? If so, you may have heard of storage unit auctions. At first glance, they may cause you some concern. Can you fall victim to these auctions? Can your possessions really be sold at one? Yes, they can, but there are steps that you can take to prevent this from happening.
Pay Your Bill
The reason for public storage auctions is unpaid bills. Your storage unit bill should be treated like any other important bill. Treat it just like your mortgage or car payment. If you miss enough payments, your home can be foreclosed on or your car can be repossessed. The same thing can happen with self-storage units. In some ways, your belongings are held as collateral.
Never let your bill fall behind more than two months at a time. Your best bet is to keep it updated and paid on time. If you foresee financial difficulties ahead, remove your belongings while your account is still in good standing. Store them at your home or at the home of a close friend or family member.
Talk to the Owner
This approach is one that you should not rely heavily on, but it will not hurt to try. If you are experiencing temporary financial difficulties, explain that. Let the company know you can make full payment the following month or in a few weeks. Offer to make small weekly payments, especially if it can prolong an auction. Do not, however, make this agreement if it is one that you cannot keep.
Remove Your Belongings
Did you receive a warning that your storage unit contents may be auctioned? If so, can you get to them? You may be able to. If so, remove everything from your storage unit immediately, especially all family photographs and personal documents. If these items sell, they will be thrown away almost right away. When removing your belongings, you will still have an unpaid bill to pay. With that said, if your stuff is not inside the storage unit, it cannot be auctioned off.
If you opt for this approach, you will want to take action right away. After three months or more, the self-storage company may change the locks. This means that you may not gain access to the unit. Many will refuse to give you back your belongings until you agree to pay your overdue bill or at least a portion of it.
Check Your Contract
After a certain period of time, an unpaid storage unit bill can translate into abandonment of property. This means that regardless of whether or not an auction is listed as a consequence for an unpaid bill in your contract, one can still take place. It is still important to consult with your contract. If you do not see anything about a storage auction, you can cause a stir. This may buy you more time
Check Your Mail and Answer Your Phone
Before a public storage auction is held, the owners will likely try to contact you and multiple times. Do not assume that you are simply just getting another late notice. There might be a warning that your belongings are slated to be sold.
Those running self-storage units do not want to sell or auction off your personal belongings, which is why they will make multiple attempts at contact. You need to remember that they are running a business. Your unpaid bills are causing them to lose money.
As a recap, the best way to avoid having your belongings auctioned at a public storage auction is to pay your bill and on time. Once you have gotten your bill in good standing, you may want to attend a public auction. When you are the bidder, as opposed to the person having their items sold, you may see how neat these auctions really are. In fact, did you know that you could make money with them?