sneaky customer

Im new to self storage so hello all. A customer who i cant get in contact with due to disconnected contact info. has 2 units with us, an rv and normal unit. She is past due and to the point of overlock but now i see she snuck in and got her rv. Now i have a space that is overlocked and empty and the fees are adding up. I cant get a hold of her and i fear she emptied her other unit then locked it on the way out. How is this addressed? Is this normal?


  • ESS
    ESS Registered User, Daily Operations Certified, Advanced Operations Certified, Administrator Certified, myHub Certified ✭✭✭✭✭
    Our gate locks out everyone past due on the 2nd day and we overlock on the 8th. Sometimes this does happen on the rare occasion and we just run them thru the lien process. When she comes for lock cuts, you'll know if the unit is empty or not. It would be a lot of work and depending on the state you're in, but you could overlock on the 1st or 2nd. In Texas, we can impose our lien on the first day they're past due (hence the gate lock out). Does she have an alternate contact, emergency contact, or employer on file that you can call? 
  • MamaDuke7
    MamaDuke7 Registered User, Daily Operations Certified, Advanced Operations Certified, Administrator Certified, myHub Certified ✭✭✭✭✭
    Do you have any way to sneak a camera over or under the door?  That's what I used to do in this situation.  Check to see if there is even still stuff in there.  If not, remove the lock and move on.  If so, you know to continue the lien process.
  • BusyProperties
    BusyProperties Registered User ✭✭✭
    If we believe that they cleaned out and left a lock for whatever reason, we cut it off and rent the unit to someone else. If by chance they make contact & wanted to keep it then the lock can be replaced at a charge. It is their responsibility to keep you updated with their contact info. I have people that take what they want and leave the rest for us to empty and never make contact again. It is sad. 
  • i43storage
    i43storage Registered User, Daily Operations Certified, Advanced Operations Certified, Administrator Certified, myHub Certified ✭✭✭✭✭
    Sadly, people move out what they want, leave junk behind, put the lock back on, and never pay up.  It happens to everyone.  I suggest you follow the letter of the law with all necessary notices before cutting their lock.  In the end, if they owe you money, be sure to file it with a collection agency.  That is the only thing that makes me feel better.  (Well, I have been known on one occasion to take all the stuff they left behind and deposited it on their driveway for them).   B)
    Jean Marie
    I-43 Storage
  • lmcav1116
    lmcav1116 Registered User
    I know i have to be fair and that means we cant sympathize or sway with policy. Im new to this and i know i have to stop feeling bad every time customers complain or cry because that is insane. We provide each item identified in the lease and they agree in desperate need usually and then forget about the rules. I felt bad until she snuck in and now after i check with a mirror ( thanks MamaDuke ) ill get to the bottom of it. Here the demand for units is pretty high and that is wasted space. Thanks All                                
  • shirleyR
    shirleyR Registered User
    Hi, Last year my cousin faced the same situation, the tenant passed due by locking the door. After a week he tried to contact him but could not reach, at last cut the lock. The unit was empty. He rented the unit to other people.
  • toddler
    toddler Registered User
    We got into the storage business 18 months ago and learned a hurry that people you feel sorry for are the ones that are going to take advantage of you. Here is our process,

    1) take a damage deposit when you do the initial paperwork, if they leave the unit clean and don’t leave anything behind we happily refund it. It they leave stuff behind we keep it.
    2) we have set up SiteLink to lock their gate code when they are 5 days behind. We overlock at the same time because they will follow others through the gate. We overlock trailers by putting a lock on the hitch, we over lock cars/trucks/RVs by parking out Bobcat in front of it. Be creative a big chain through the wheels works well too.
    3) do everything you can to make contact with them, you want to talk with then. When you do, make it very clear that if they are not paid up by a certain date you are going to throw their stuff out, if it’s a vehicle tell them it’s going to salvage. Just because you tell them your going to dispose of their stuff doesn’t mean you will, “always follow the laws in your area”. Most people don’t know the law and will assume you do and will hustle down to pay up.
    4) Document, Document, Document. Keeps notes on everything, if you do get into a legal fight those notes will make all the difference.

    Here’s a funny little thing, I starred out telling people “if you don’t pay we’ll sell your stuff” I’d get a luke warm response, now I tell them “if you don’t pay I’m throwing your stuff out”, well that really seems to light a fire under their a.s.
  • lmcav1116
    lmcav1116 Registered User
    thanks for all the help everyone.

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