Inside Self-Storage

MAY 2019

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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Page 13 of 47

M uch has changed in the self-storage industry in recent years, so it's time to review my list of legal issues that keep me— and many facility owners—up at night. Some are familiar, while others are new nightmares, my friends. Here are four common concerns as well as how to reduce your risk. Rental Agreements Are you keeping your rental agreement up-to-date? After the last several years of legislative victories by the Self Storage Association, it's extremely likely that your state statute has been updated or improved. Changes might include: • More/better ways to send default notices • Adjustments to the requirement, frequency or type of advertising needed prior to lien sale • The ability to tow a vehicle in a defaulted space, sometimes to the exclusion of selling it • Improved protections under the contractual value limit in the rental agreement • A safe-harbor late fee • The ability to host online auctions • The ability to sell contents insurance to your tenants If you haven't been paying attention to your state laws, your rental agreement could be significantly behind the times. Moreover, if you haven't made some of the changes that are mandatory under an updated statute, your agreement may be a handicap rather than offer protection. Some statutes have been altered to require new or updated mandatory How to prevent these four common business nightmares By Jef rey J. Greenberger Legal Worries Keeping You Up at Night ? language in the rental agreement, which might even need to be stated in a conspicuous manner. There are some states that now allow for e-mail of default notices, but only if you get some form of affirmative consent from the tenant. You might need to apply for a limited-lines insurance license in your state to sell contents insurance. The list goes on. If you haven't conducted a contract review against your statute on your own or with a trusted attorney, you're gambling your entire business against a thousand or so dollars in legal fees. Make sure your agreement is legally compliant and up-to-date with your statute. Tenant Insurance Have you switched from asking new customers if they wish to purchase tenant insurance or a tenant-protection plan to requiring it? If you haven't caught up with this trend, 2019 is the year to review your position on this subject. When you meet with tenant insurance or protection vendors, they may give you a list of good reasons to offer their policy or plan. My rationale is far more basic: If all your tenants are covered in some way, then when there's a loss or disaster— especially if you're somehow alleged to be at fault or negligent—your tenants will be entitled to receive checks from the provider in lieu of bogging you down with attorney letters threatening litigation. Just in the last few months, I've been dealing with several large facility fires, earthquakes and, as always, break-ins. While I would never argue that an earthquake is your fault, when a tenant doesn't have coverage for his personal property, he's going to try to make you pay for that loss. When you have a tenant LEARN MORE Learn more from author Jeff Greenberger in the video "Legal Strategies Every Self-Storage Manager Must Implement Today," available in on-demand and DVD format exclusively at If you haven't been paying attention to your state laws, your rental agreement could be signifi cantly behind the times. 12 ISS I May 2019

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