Ways To Avoid Losing Your Storage Unit

Storage Unit Red Lock

With so much focus on hunting for treasures, it's easy to forget about a storage unit's original tenant. Many auction hunters rent storage units themselves, though, either to store items they win or for personal reasons. Whether you're working on both sides of the industry or just keep your personal belongings in storage, it's important to take steps to protect your belongings and avoid seeing them at an auction.

Storage facilities don't like auctioning units off if they don't have to. They're in the business of storing items, not selling them, and auctions can be time-consuming and stressful for facility owners. They also generally do not profit from the sales. In most cases, the facility owner will be willing to work with renters. Here are a few tips for keeping your items out of auction if you fall behind on your payments:

  • Try to make a partial payment, even if you can't pay off everything that you owe.
  • Offer a settlement to the manager to see if you can negotiate your back rent down to a more affordable price in exchange for you immediately emptying out the unit.
  • Consider borrowing money from a friend or family member if you know you'll be late; that will keep you from paying late fees.
  • If you know you're going to be late on your rent, empty out your unit as soon as possible. Most storage facility managers will deactivate your access code and over lock your storage unit in as little as 3-5 days after the due date.

The storage facility will usually give you 60-90 days to make up your late rent before your items go up for auction. Bear in mind that you can pay off your unit at any time up until the auction has finished.

It's important to keep all of your contact information up-to-date. If the storage facility doesn't know your current address, phone number and email address, they won't be able to contact you to let you know that your unit is going up for auction. In some cases, you might not even realize that you're behind on rent unless you're notified. For example, if you pay with a credit card and the card on file is expired, you could lose the unit. Always check this information to prevent problems.

If you do lose your items, you might be able to get some of them back. If you attend the auction, you can approach the person who purchased your unit and request to get back personal items like photographs or tax documents. Many auction-hunters will be happy to give these things back to you if you're polite. Be aware, however, that they're under no obligation to do so, so there's no guarantee that you'll get your personal items back. Last but not least, find out how much the storage unit sold for. If your storage unit sold for more than what you owe in back rent and late fees, you may be entitled to a refund of the overage.

Are you about to lose your storage unit and need advice? Have you lost a storage unit or had to negotiate with a storage facility to get your stuff back? Share your story in the comments section below.


9 CommentsLeave a comment

  • I went through a horriffic 8 or 9 years of being sick from a mold infested home, was medically disabled lost two homes and now might loose my personal belonmgings
    I am having a hard time with this. I can’t pay the high bill that has mounted and I am scared and worried about thisl
    any ideas

    • I would contact the facility manager and explain the situation to them. They might be willing to offer you a settlement or let you remove the property from the facility.

  • This is some really good information about getting a storage unit. I liked that you talked about how you should always try to make payments. That does seem like a good thing to be aware of when you are looking for one.

  • That’s a good point that if the storage facility cant contact you, they couldn’t tell you if you aren’t paying them. I feel like it would be best to give them your correct contact info. I’ll make sure to update that if I get a storage unit.

  • My wife and I are thinking about getting a personal storage unit to put all of our extra things in. Our home is getting way too cluttered anymore. I am worried about losing our personal items but it seems like if we stay up on payments we have nothing to fear.

  • I liked your tip of making partial payments if you need to pay for your storage unit. My wife and I are looking for a new storage unit and we are worried that our budget will be too low. I’ll be sure to tell her that we should find a facility that accepts partial payments.

  • My son is trying to figure out if he should get a personal storage unit right now or not. He has had some issues with regular income so he needs to learn about what to do if he can’t afford the rent. I’ll let him know that as soon as there are signs of him not being able to afford the unit, he needs to clear it out so he can keep his belongings.

  • What I have in my storage at Storage Depot on Riverside in Fort Worth. I’m basically homeless living on a friend of a friends couch. I clean and do laundry to stay there. The family are pigs and don’t clean up after themselves. I try and donate plasma when I can and I’m not to tired. I’ve been on the down slide since my divorce two years ago. I don’t have transportation. I have severe depression and am bi polar. My family thinks by not helping me they are helping me. I would sleep in my storage if I could. Just to have my own space and some sanity. I’m looking for any help I can get to save my belongings. I don’t trust anyone enough to store my belongings at their home.

  • My sister is thinking about getting a storage unit to put some items into because she is moving into a smaller home this week. SHe doesn’t want her garage completely packed full of items, so she needs to get a place to store them. Her finances aren’t in great shape right now, so it’s smart to think about getting financial help from a friend or family if she starts missing payments.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *