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Storage Unit Contract

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A storage unit contract is between a storage facility and an individual or business renting storage space and explains the terms of the rental arrangement. They detail the duration of the rental, the size of the storage unit, the payment terms, and the responsibilities of both parties, such as the facility's obligation to provide a secure storage environment and the renter's duty to keep the unit in good condition and pay rent on time. It's important for renters to carefully review and understand the terms of the contract before signing to ensure they know their rights and obligations regarding the storage space.

What Should Be Included in a Storage Unit Contract

Storage unit contracts or agreements are usually pretty straightforward but should include the following:

  • The contact details of both parties to which the agreement applies
  • A start date for when the storage unit contract begins
  • The number of your storage unit
  • A description and size of the unit you are renting
  • The monthly rental amount and when it is due
  • How you are expected to pay for your rental, i.e. direct debit, credit card or cash, etc.
  • Guidelines on how to terminate the contract, i.e. notice period, and how the company would like to receive notice
  • What constitutes a breach of contract, i.e. failure to make a payment or store prohibited items

What Shouldn't Be Put in a Storage Unit

It’s important to know what should and should not be kept in a storage unit. When signing storage contracts, be sure to read through the entire agreement carefully. Pay close attention to any clauses that may be added or not, as these could potentially impact the terms of your agreement.

These items include:

  • Live animals and pets
  • Flammable, dangerous, or corrosive liquids such as petrol, oil, paint thinner, alcohol, and propane
  • Drugs, weapons, ammunition, or illegal items
  • Perishable food items
  • Important documentation
  • Family heirlooms
  • Humans (you may not live in your storage unit)
  • Items susceptible to moisture or water damage
  • Items that are sensitive to extreme temperatures
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Consequences and Prevention of Breach of a Storage Unit Contract

Consequences of Breaching a Storage Unit Contract:

  • Loss of Possession: The storage facility may revoke the renter's access to the unit, leading to the loss of possession of stored items.
  • Financial Penalties: Renters may be subject to financial penalties or fees outlined in the contract for breaching terms such as non-payment of rent or violating facility rules.
  • Legal Action: The storage facility may pursue legal action against the renter to enforce the terms of the contract or seek compensation for damages incurred due to the breach.
  • Credit Damage: A breach of the storage unit contract could result in negative consequences for the renter's credit score if the storage facility reports the breach to credit agencies or pursues collections.

Ways to Avoid Breaching a Storage Unit Contract

  • Read and Understand the Contract. Carefully review the terms and conditions of the storage unit contract before signing to ensure full comprehension of rights, responsibilities, and potential consequences.
  • Adhere to Payment Deadlines. Stay current on rental payments and any other fees outlined in the contract to avoid defaulting on the agreement.
  • Comply with Facility Rules. Follow all facility rules and regulations regarding access hours, prohibited items, and security protocols to avoid violating the contract terms.
  • Secure Insurance Coverage. Obtain adequate insurance coverage for stored items to mitigate financial risks in case of unforeseen events such as theft, damage, or loss.

Trends in Storage Units

The storage unit industry is seeing rapid growth as a result of the pandemic, spurring more people to reorganize their homes, find extra space as they work from home, and move to the suburbs or move in with more family members. Thirty-eight percent of Americans reported being storage unit users, according to a newly released StorageCafe survey of about 17,000 survey responses. https://www.nar.realtor/magazine/real-estate-news/commercial/self-storage-becoming-a-booming-business.

The report identified some of the latest storage unit trends, including

  • Gen Xers (54%) and baby boomers (51%) are the most likely to use storage units. Millennials are also showing increased interest at 40%.
  • Living in a spacious home doesn’t negate the need for a storage unit. About 42% of residents of homes sized from 1,500 to 2,499 square feet use storage units, along with the same percentage of residents in larger homes from 2,500 to 3,500 square feet.
  • About one-third of Americans say they put furniture in a storage unit, the most common item to store. That is followed by clothing, home appliances, sporting items, hobby gear, and business items.
  • Downsizing is the main reason Americans rent a storage unit. Next are moving or needing more storage space at home.
  • By state, Idaho has the highest percentage of the population that uses storage units, at 59%; next is Utah at 54%, then New Mexico at 53%, New Hampshire at 49%, and Wisconsin at 48%.
  • The most popular storage size unit is 10’ x 10’, followed by 5’ x 10’.

The self-storage real estate sector had something of a breakout year in 2021. Sales volumes hit $23.6 billion, and rents climbed to new highs. However, all good things must come to an end.

Self Storage Industry Snapshot (U.S.)

Annual revenue $39.5 billion Details
Construction spend $3.75 billion Details
Facility average occupancy 92% Details
Number of facilities 45,547 – 60,024 Details
Percent of households renting 9.4% Details
Total rentable square footage 1.709 billion sq. ft. Details
Average storage unit price $88.85/month Details
Average rental duration 14 months Details
Profit margin 41% Details

Key Terms for Storage Unit Contracts

  • Indemnity Provision: Outlines the legal protection for the storage facility against certain claims or liabilities arising from the rental agreement.
  • Lien: Grants the storage facility the right to retain possession of stored items until rent or other charges are paid.
  • Force Majeure Clause: Defines unforeseeable circumstances, such as natural disasters or acts of war, that may excuse non-performance of contractual obligations.
  • Sublease Provision: Addresses whether the renter is permitted to sublease the storage unit to another party.
  • Exclusion of Warranties: This clause states that the storage facility does not make any promises or guarantees about the condition of your storage unit.
  • Access Hours: Specifies the designated times during which the renter has permission to access their storage unit within the facility.

Final Thoughts on Storage Unit Contracts

The agreements between the renter and the storage facility outline important details like rental fees, access hours, and liability. It's essential to pay attention to clauses regarding insurance coverage, as some facilities may require renters to obtain their insurance or offer it as an add-on service. Additionally, be aware of any penalties for late payments or breaches of contract. So, whether you're storing household items during a move or keeping business inventory secure, understanding and abiding by the terms of your storage unit contract is key to a smooth and stress-free experience.

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