Inside Self-Storage

SEP 2018

Inside Self-Storage (ISS) is an information source for industry owners, managers, developers and investors covering news, trends, facility operation, finance, real estate, construction, development, marketing, technology, insurance and legality.

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used in some states may vary, for example, "uniformed services." Regardless, if you don't ask the question, you automatically violate the law. Of the many rental agreements I review each year, less than a third even take a shot at asking about military service, let alone get the question right. This leads me to believe many of you aren't looking at whether there's a protected occupant/dependent prior to holding a lien sale. The consequences for violating the SCRA include civil and criminal penalties. 4. Failure to Comply With ADA The Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) has been around since the 1980s. While there may be some question about self-storage facilities built prior to the act, the ADA has become a real issue for the industry. Several national operators have even been sued recently because there was no way a blind person could use their websites, making them out of compliance. You must take the ADA seriously. At a minimum, storage facilities must meet the scoping and dispersion requirements of the act. Scoping means a certain number of storage units must be disability accessible. Dispersion means ADA-compliant units must be distributed throughout the various types of units you offer. In addition, think about other publicly accessible elements of your business, not just the doors to your units and buildings. According to recent class-action lawsuits, your website and marketing materials also need to be accessible to the disabled. 5. Failure to Update Your Rental Agreement Self-storage facilities are often worth a million dollars or more. For many of you, the operation is your source of livelihood, or a generation-passing income or asset. For that reason, it's worth having your rental agreement, as well as your policies and procedures, reviewed by an attorney at least once every three years. You may be pleased to learn that little or nothing needs to be updated. For peace of mind, it makes sense to spend a few thousand dollars to protect your million-dollar investment. As case law develops and statutes are updated, attorneys learn more and more about what is necessary to protect self-storage operators and their businesses. You simply cannot ignore these changes and expect to stay clear of the vicious lawsuits plaintiffs file against the industry. This column is for the purpose of providing general legal insight into the self-storage field and should not be substituted for the advice of your own attorney. Jeffrey Greenberger is a partner in the Cincinnati law firm of Greenberger & Brewer LLP. Licensed to practice in Kentucky and Ohio, he focuses primarily on representing the owners and operators of commercial real estate, including self-storage. His website, selfstoragelegal.com, contains legal opinions and insights as well as an article archive. To reach him, call 513.698.9350; e-mail jeff@grbrlaw.com. September 2018 I ISS 53

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