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Divorcing Spouses

Recently I have had issues come up with couples who are divorced and squabbling over the rights to the unit they rented. Our lease only allows one persons name as the main renter. The other person is listed as an authorized person to have access. On some occasions the renter does not list the spouse-so then they have to get a court order to gain access. I just want to make sure I protect our facility in these matters. What do other managers do in these cases?


  • rhiphelpsrhiphelps CARegistered User ✭✭
    At our facility, we have been told that if the person is listed to have access, they have exactly that. It is up to the primary tenant on the lease to make any changes per Change of Address form. Divorces don't exactly happen over night, so there is a bit of time to prepare.
    For example, if the unit is in the wife's name, she would need to come to the office and fill out a COA form, removing her husband from authorized access. I would also recommend that she change the access code and change the lock. If the husband comes in, he will not have access. It would be up to the couple and the police if they wish to involve them to divide up the contents of the unit then. 
    If the wife doesn't change the access, and the husband gets into the unit (say he clears it out!), it would be up to the wife to file a police report. 
  • WoodyWoody VARegistered User, Daily Operations Certified
    I ran into this situation a couple years ago.  The couple hadn't completed the divorce yet.  The unit was originally in both names but the husband (primary lessee) came in and dropped the wife from the unit and replaced her with someone else and changed the lock, access codes, etc.  When the wife showed up with movers during non-office hours on a Sunday she couldn't access the property.  She called and spoke to the after hours call center who told her I'd be in later in the afternoon.  Sure enough she showed up again with movers and police in tow demanding access to the unit.  She did have a court order but it didn't list our specific property information or the unit number.  The police officer calmly told her to work it out with your husband because we can't authorize access to the property.
  • AZStorageGuyAZStorageGuy AZRegistered User ✭✭✭
    @anotherattic , the way our company does it, the person who signed the lease holds all the cards.  If husband and wife are divorcing and husband is the tenant and wife wants access to the unit, guess what?  She either has to get written authorization (notarized) from him, or else she gets his key and gate access code directly from him. Or, as you mentioned, a court order (or any other legal document explicitly granting her access to THAT space.)

    Our job is easy.  We're just the hired help, standing on the sidelines (the best place to be if you don't want to get HIT!). 

    We're not the gatekeeper in this case.  The tenant is.
     William McBride
  • Kimbo225Kimbo225 CARegistered User
    I had that issue several months ago. The lease was in the husbands name and the wife was listed as an alternate. the wife came in after office hours with the gate code and key to the unit and cleaned it out. The following day the husband came and realized his wife cleaned out the unit. He called the cops, they showed up and told him there was not a thing he could do because California is a community property state and she had as much right to the unit and its content as he did. The cops refused to do anything except take a very short report and told the tenant good luck!
  • AZStorageGuyAZStorageGuy AZRegistered User ✭✭✭
    Kimbo225 said:
    The cops refused to do anything except take a very short report and told the tenant good luck!
    Good luck = "fat chance!"
     William McBride
  • LoriLori SCRegistered User, Daily Operations Certified, Advanced Operations Certified, Administrator Certified
    When I rent a unit I stress the importance of the power of the alternate.  All we do is rent the unit.  What happens to the parties involved is really up to them and their personal agreement.
  • SeanL_ESMSeanL_ESM LARegistered User
    Stick to the rules and laws of your state.  Don't go out on a limb no matter what they tell you!  My advice: Don't get involved!
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