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Self-Storage Auctions: Renter’s Protections

We see a lot of this on TV: storage rentals that have gone unpaid going up for auctions and people coming in to bid for a chance to find lost treasure.¬†Often, a unit that is unpaid belongs to a deceased person, or someone who has left the country. The phenomenon is common enough to have spawned a host of urban legends, fact and fiction, about people who have won storage units and found body parts, money, or drugs. Real-life fortunes have been made, including a person who found Malcolm X’s diaries in one unit that sold for a cool million.

So is there a gaggle of auction vultures hanging around every storage unit, waiting for someone to skip out on a payment? Not likely. Most state laws, including the Texas storage unit laws, say a storage company must make enormous efforts to contact a tenant before setting up an auction, including mailing to the last known address and putting ads in widely circulated papers across the county. Often, it ends up costing the company more to set up an auction than it pays back, and in the unlikely event the auction selling price is higher than the tenant’s debt, that money has to be returned to the tenant for the goods he left in the unit.

Generally, it is in the storage company’s best interests to make every effort to contact a welshing tenant. A climate controlled storage unit may contain items that are very valuable, such as rare wines or delicate paintings. When dealing with objects at such a high premium, no company wants to foot the bill for a replacement.

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Posted on: Thursday, November 8th, 2012 at 1:51 pm

Posted in: climate controlled storage Houston, Saving Money, Self Storage

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