The below information is not legal advice and is for informational purposes only. If you need legal advice, seek the services of a competent professional.
Imagine this: you finally find the perfect self-storage unit for all of your belongings.
The storage facility representative hands you the rental agreement, and you’re ready to sign and store your stuff as soon as possible.
But hold on! Before you sign on the dotted line, it’s important to review the agreement carefully. Failure to do so could lead to legal problems in the future.
Be prepared and forewarned so that you are armed with the knowledge you need to get a good agreement. Let’s take a look!
Form of the Agreement: Boilerplate vs. State-Approved
When it comes to renting a self-storage unit, it’s important to carefully review the rental agreement before signing on the dotted line.
If you’d like to see what an example self storage contract is supposed to look like, check out this blank self storage rental agreement PDF.
Many facilities use a boilerplate rental agreements that they download from the internet to avoid paying for an attorney to draft a valid and effective rental agreement, or to pay for a state-approved rental agreement with enforceable terms.
However, it turns out that many of these agreements may contain illegal provisions or terms not allowed in your state. We have heard several stories from people who found out after their agreement was signed.
Some self-storage unit facilities may even add their own illegal provisions to the agreement, which could render the entire agreement unenforceable. If this is the case, it could be important for you to know that.
These illegal provisions may force the renter to accept an uninhabitable unit without any liability on the part of the facility or waive the renter’s legal rights.
This could lead to legal troubles down the road if the renter ever needs to take legal action against the facility.
To avoid running into issues with illegal provisions in a rental agreement, it’s important to do your research and understand the laws in your state regarding self-storage unit rental agreements.
Many states have specific requirements for rental agreements that storage facilities must follow, and some states may even require state-approved rental agreements with specific language and provisions.
By understanding the laws in your state and carefully reviewing the rental agreement, you can protect yourself from illegal provisions and ensure that you’re getting a fair deal.
Liability for Damages
When renting a self-storage unit, it’s important to understand your liability for damages. In most rental agreements, the renter is responsible for any damages caused directly by them or their guests.
This means if you accidentally break something while moving your items in or out of the unit, you would be responsible for repairing or replacing it.
However, a provision that holds the renter liable for damage outside of their control is usually illegal.
For example, if a natural disaster damages the unit, the renter shouldn’t be held responsible for something outside of their control.
It’s important to review your rental agreement carefully and ensure that you are not agreeing to any provisions that hold you liable for damages outside of your control.
In addition to natural disasters, there may be other circumstances outside of your control that could cause damage to your unit.
For example, if the facility has a fire or a flood, you shouldn’t be held responsible for any damage caused to your unit as a result.
It’s important to understand your rights and protections as a renter, and to ensure that your rental agreement does not contain any illegal provisions that could hold you responsible for damages outside of your control.
Waiving Legal Obligations
When renting a self-storage unit, it’s important to read the rental agreement carefully, as some facilities may try to include illegal provisions that waive the facility’s responsibility to maintain the storage unit. This is done to avoid liability in case of theft, fire, or other accidents.
This illegal provision forces the renter to accept an unsafe or insecure storage unit without any liability on the facility’s part.
This provision is illegal and allows the facility to provide an unsafe storage unit without any liability on their part. It’s important for renters to understand their legal rights and refuse to sign such an agreement.
If you come across this kind of provision in a self-storage unit rental agreement, it’s important to just bring it up with the facility management and refuse to sign it.
By signing such an agreement, you may be giving up your legal rights and could be held liable in case of theft or damage to your belongings.
It’s important to choose a facility that provides a fair and legal rental agreement to protect your rights and property.
An illegal provision in a self-storage unit rental agreement is one that has the renter waive their rights to the eviction process or any other legal remedy they may have against the facility.
This provision attempts to bypass the legal process required for evicting a renter, which is required to be orderly and civil in most states.
The eviction process can be a sensitive topic for both renters and self-storage unit facilities. As a renter, it’s important to be aware of any illegal provisions in the rental agreement that attempt to waive your rights to the eviction process.
If such a provision exists, it could result in the facility bypassing the legal process required for evicting a renter, leading to legal troubles down the road.
In most states, an orderly and civil eviction process is required for self-storage unit facilities. This process typically requires the facility to sue the renter first, allowing them to respond to the eviction action and giving the court the opportunity to make a decision.
By waiving this process, the facility is attempting to skirt the legal requirements and potentially putting themselves and the renter at risk.
It’s important to know the eviction process required by law in your state to ensure that the facility is following proper procedures.
Being aware of these details can help renters avoid legal troubles and ensure a fair and just eviction process in case it becomes necessary.
Some self-storage unit rental agreements contain a clause that authorizes the facility to confess judgment against the renter for any action filed on behalf of the facility.
This means the renter automatically admits to being wrong without even trying to defend themselves, ignoring the due process of law.
Attorney Fees and Costs
When renting a self-storage unit, it’s important to read the rental agreement carefully to avoid any illegal provisions that could cause legal trouble down the road.
One such provision is an agreement that allows the facility to automatically have the renter pay their attorney fees and costs in any legal action brought against them, which is illegal in most states.
The storage facility can only ask the court to tack on legal expenses and costs if they win the case, not before.
While it’s reasonable for the facility to recover legal expenses if they win the case, the renter should not be automatically responsible for the facility’s attorney fees and costs in any legal action brought against them.
Renters should be aware that they have the right to dispute any legal action brought against them, and they should not be punished for exercising that right.
Additionally, renters should be aware that some rental agreements may attempt to add additional fees or costs that are not allowed by state law.
For example, some facilities may attempt to charge a late fee that is higher than the legal limit, or attempt to charge a fee for an early termination of the rental agreement — which is not allowed in some states.
Carefully read any agreement and look out for illegal provisions that may put you at a disadvantage in the event of a legal dispute.
If you do come across any illegal provision, speak up and negotiate with the self storage facility to make sure your legal rights are protected.
A self-storage unit facility cannot automatically evict a renter when they are a victim of a crime on the premises.
For example, if a renter’s unit is broken into, the facility cannot evict the renter for something they didn’t cause.
Automatic eviction is not legal under any circumstances in most states. A self-storage unit facility cannot evict a renter just because the renter was a victim of a crime that occurred on the facility’s premises.
In such a situation, the facility has no legal basis to evict the renter. In fact, the facility has a legal obligation to provide a safe and secure environment for its renters. If the facility fails to do so, it could be liable for damages caused by the crime.
However, the facility may have the right to terminate the rental agreement if the renter has violated the terms of the agreement.
For example, if the renter was involved in criminal activity, the facility could terminate the rental agreement. It’s important to note that the facility must follow the proper legal procedures when terminating the agreement, which could involve going through the court system.
In most cases, the facility cannot evict the renter without first providing a notice of eviction and giving the renter an opportunity to respond.
The renter may have the right to dispute the eviction and present evidence in court to support their case. The facility must also follow the proper procedures for disposing of the renter’s property that is left behind, which usually involves notifying the renter and giving them a certain amount of time to claim their property.
The facility must follow the proper legal procedures when terminating a rental agreement and evicting a renter. It’s important for renters to be aware of their legal rights and obligations under their rental agreement and to take appropriate action if they believe their rights have been violated.
Both self-storage unit facilities and renters should be aware of these illegal provisions that could make a rental agreement unenforceable.
Before signing a rental agreement, renters should read the entire document to understand what they’re agreeing to and look out for any illegal provisions.
Facilities should review their state laws regarding self-storage unit agreements to avoid any illegal provisions that could result in a voided rental agreement.