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Things are happening to the self storage industry in California, and that’s to say the very least. In case you haven’t heard, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger just signed an amendment to fix some very old problems pertaining to self storage liens—more specifically, the issuance of lien notices, and the acceptable means by which companies can settle lien disputes with customers. Principally, the amendment makes it easier for self storage providers to send out lien notices; instead of certified mail, they’re now allowed to use certificates of mailing (a cheaper option). Additionally, the amendment allows for lien disputes to be settled in small claims courts—much cheaper than paying the legal fees associated with superior courts. All told, California’s self storage industry is, between its 3,890 facilities, set to save nearly $10 million in the coming year—no small amount, indeed.
Of particular importance, here, is the expedience with which self storage facilities (and companies) are going to be able to deal with lien disputes. Whereas yesterdays disputes were bogged down by long, expensive stays in the superior courts and mountains of legal fees, today’s can be settled quickly, efficient, and most importantly cheaply in the small claims courts. All of this, of course, means that consumers (i.e. tenants) are going to have to start taking their rent payments a bit more seriously. It was hard to get away with skipping your payments in the past; now, it’s pretty close to impossible.
All of this brings a simple question to mind: how can self storage customers make sure that they’re not falling behind on their payments? How can tenants guarantee that they are not going to fall behind on their rent—that they are not going to receive their own lien notices in the mail? Fortunately for consumers, there are some fairly simple solutions to these budget problems.
Don’t rent a self storage unit that you cannot afford. Your belongings are not worth the headache of a lien dispute. If you’re not sure that you can afford your payments, don’t agree to them to begin with. Sit down and work through your budget before the pen ever touches the rental agreement. If, at the end of the day, you should discover that you simply do not have the funds for a self storage unit, then you’re going to have to find another way to deal with your belongings.
Don’t rent a large unit unless you genuinely have to. You don’t have to store everything that you own. Really, it’s just not necessary. Sell the items that you don’t absolutely need, and call in some favors with your friends and family (i.e. make use of their garages, if they’re willing). If you can get rid of some of your belongings beforehand, you can rent a smaller, thereby cheaper, self storage unit.
If you don’t have the discipline to pay your bills on time, set up an automatic payment. Many facilities can draw rent payments directly from your checking account. If you’re forgetful; if you’re dealing with other problems—it might be nice to set up an automatic payment schedule. That way, you’ll never forget that your rent is due.
Now that major companies don’t have to worry about excessive legal fees, self storage customers are going to have to be sure that they are staying on top of their rent payments. Forethought, we’re going to find, is going to define the self storage experience.
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