For those who abandon a self storage unit (by either refusing to pay rent or abandoning items therein),
an auction may take place. This is generally to recover past due rent, final fees that
are unpaid, or for abandoned items that were not donated to charity. Many people choose to leave final
fees unpaid if they anticipate leaving items behind, but are warned that they may still be billed if
the auction does not raise enough money to cover all fees or charges.
Avoid Self Storage Auction By Paying Your Bill
Mini storages are a great way to store all kinds of valuables, and it is advisable to keep the monthly
dues up to date instead through a variety of payment methods offered by many modern self storage
facilities. Many mini storage facilities offer methods such as online payment, amounts
payable yearly or every six months, or prepayment options. They also offer email or regular
mail reminders, and some small self storages offer complimentary phone calls to the number on file as a
reminder of an amount coming due. This helps the renter remember to pay their bill on time to avoid losing
You Can Find Great Things At Self Storage Auctions
On the other hand, self storage auctions can be a great way to shop for valuables as well. Many
people visit and bid on these auctions, to purchase books, furniture, tools, and other items to keep or
resell. Some mini storage facilities conduct auctions on individual items or lots of items. Others auction
entire units and the contents thereof. Most people who bid on entire units or lots sell the majority of the
items they purchased, usually on sites that offer auctions, such as eBay. This helps the person buying the
auctioned items not only to get their initial investment back, but a profit as well. It becomes a fun
and lucrative hobby quickly, especially those who can afford to purchase large lots of
furniture or other large valuables.
Self Storage Auctions - A Fast Growing Hobby
This is also a hobby that is becoming very popular for shopping enthusiasts. Much like bidding on items
that are found on websites like eBay, bidders are bidding primarily on the idea of what is included instead
of the item itself, since many self storage facilities do not show the item itself but instead show either a
picture or a listing of what is included. Hobbies that require odd items can become expensive to upkeep, but
shopping via self storage auction can be a great way to find odd, old, normally expensive, or hard-to-find
pieces at relatively inexpensive prices.
Self Storage Auction Rules
However, do not assume that these auctions have no rules and that items can be auctioned at almost any time
for any past due amount or for any reason. Many states have strict rules regarding how and
when mini storage items may be auctioned, and if any of these rules are not followed to the letter, the original
owner may have the right to sue the self storage facility and require the items be returned from the purchaser.
These rules include:
Self Storage Auction Rule 1: All efforts at collecting unpaid rent must be expended. This includes
attempts to telephone the renter at all phone numbers available, sending of certified letters to the address on file,
efforts to email the renter if any email address is given, placing an ad in a local newspaper to contact the renter
and advise of any impending auction of their items, and any other means of contacting the renter to set up an
arrangement to pay.
Self Storage Auction Rule 2: State-mandated timelines must be followed. Many states require that
self storages wait for a given amount of time before auctioning items. For some states, this can be as long as ninety
days, and, for others, as short as thirty days. States usually demand that past due amount reach a certain amount
and length of time (for example, past due amount must exceed $500 and be more than 60 days past due) in order
for facilities to be allowed to auction items.
Self Storage Auction Rule 3: Before being allowed to auction items left in vacated units that do not
have a negative balance due, many states require that facilities determine whether the renter meant for items to be
donated to charity. If the renter has signed a statement noting that they are donating the items to charity, all
attempts to have the items picked up by a charity organization must be expended. Only items that are not picked up
by a charity organization within a reasonable amount of time (usually from 14 to 30 days) may be auctioned. Mini
storages normally have to show proof of contact for each charity organization as well, proving that they contacted
the organization and stating a reason why items were not picked up.
Items That Cannot Be Auctioned
Each state has unique laws concerning auctioning of personal items left in rented units. This includes birth certificates,
social security cards, photographs, and similar items. Many self storage facilities will not or cannot auction these
items, and will send them to the last known address for the renter (or, space permitting, store them until they can be
picked up). These types of items cannot be sold, due to identity theft potential, and should not be thrown away, so all
methods of returning them will be expended.
Self storages and mini storages must be certain that they cannot contact the renter in any way before they auction stored
valuables. There are legal rules that must be followed and paperwork that must be kept for each auction in order for the
self storage facility to be able to apply the money to any past due amount. This includes documentation of all methods
of contact attempted and the results - including return of certified letters (the post office will return them to the mini
storage facility if they are refused or undeliverable). Only then can the items be auctioned, making way for those who shop
self storage auctions for work or for fun to bid on items.