How Long Must A Storage Unit Be Abandoned or Delinquent to Be Auctioned Off?

August 7th, 2023

This blog is written to serve mini-storage customers nationwide. However, the specific answer to this question depends on state law, company policy, and your specific lease terms. Please check with your storage company for a specific answer to your situation.

In Alamo Mini-Storage’s policy, the word "abandoned" is defined as a unit being unpaid, unlocked, and nothing of significant value to a regular person is in the unit.

Storage units provide a convenient solution for people who need extra space to store business inventory or personal property. When rental payments are neglected or unit contents are unclaimed, storage facility owners face the dilemma of what to do with these delinquent or unclaimed units. What are the legal considerations and timelines surrounding delinquent or unclaimed storage units and when can they be auctioned?

What Does the Rental Agreement for the Storage Unit Say About Delinquent, Unclaimed, or Abandoned Units?

Before anything else, we need to review the rental agreement. When renting a storage unit, individuals typically sign a rental agreement that outlines the terms and conditions of the rental period. This agreement includes provisions related to rental fees, due dates, and consequences for non-payment. Reviewing the rental agreement carefully to understand the storage facility's policies regarding delinquency and the timeline for auctioning unclaimed units is crucial.

What Is the Local Notification Period for Delinquent Storage Unit Payments?

Storage facility owners must provide a reasonable notification period to tenants before declaring a unit unclaimed or abandoned. The duration may vary depending on local regulations and the specific terms of the rental agreement. Typically, it ranges from 30 to 90 days, allowing tenants ample time to rectify any outstanding payment issues or to retrieve their belongings.

What is the Delinquency and Lien Process for Storage Units in Your Jurisdiction?

Storage facility owners can proceed with the delinquency and lien process if a tenant fails to respond to the notice or rectify the situation within the notification period. This involves legally taking possession of the unit's contents as collateral against the unpaid rent. The specific steps of this process also vary by jurisdiction, so facility owners must adhere to the legal requirements to avoid any potential legal complications.

When Is a Storage Facility Authorized to Auction Delinquent, Abandoned, or Unclaimed Units?

Once the legal requirements for abandonment have been met, storage facility owners are typically authorized to auction the abandoned units. These auctions may be conducted in various formats, in-person, online, or by sealed bids. Interested bidders can bid on the units without prior knowledge of the contents, creating an atmosphere of anticipation and excitement.

Do Storage Facility Owners Try to Find Alternate Solutions to Auctioning Unclaimed or Abandoned Units?

Not all delinquent storage units end up being auctioned. Sometimes, storage facilities choose alternative solutions to deal with abandoned units. They may attempt to contact the tenant to resolve the payment issue, negotiate a repayment plan, or arrange to remove the belongings. Some facilities may offer donation options or additional time extensions on a case-by-case basis.

The timeline for abandoning a storage unit and the auction process depends on various factors. Storage facility owners must comply with legal requirements and provide reasonable notification periods to tenants before proceeding with the delinquency and lien process. While auctioning is often a last resort to recoup a storage facility’s losses, knowing your rental agreement's terms and conditions and communicating with your storage facility to avoid losing your belongings is essential.

If you have any questions about renting a storage unit at Alamo Mini-Storage, please do not hesitate to contact our team. We are here to help you have the best storage experience possible.