Self- storage facilities generally have a list of items in their rental contracts that are prohibited from being stored in rented units. Tenants are prohibited from storing flammable items, hazardous materials, and food, to name just a few. Most of these restrictions are due to the damage that they can cause, such as accidental fires or unwanted rodents. Another item that should definitely not be stored is humans. It may sound humorous, but the topic is very serious. There are stories trending online of people sneaking into gyms and IKEA stores and staying overnight. This definitely can happen inside a self-storage unit and does more often than you might expect.
Not a Home
With the rise of trendy tiny homes, small homes made out of storage containers are gaining in popularity. However, that’s not the same as squatting at a unit in a facility. Although units can be spacious and climate controlled, it’s the facility owner’s responsibility to make every effort to prohibit squatting from happening. Facility owners know that having a person living in a storage unit comes with large legal ramifications for the business as well as safety hazards.
Self-storage managers are responsible for conducting multiple inspections of the premises at various times each day to identify maintenance issues, hazardous conditions, and tenants or guests behaving inappropriately. Here are some of the red flags:
• Tenants who constantly bend the rules of the facility
• Unusual loitering at the facility
• Low stock of paper products
• Increase in trash and food waste
• Multiple extended visits daily or almost daily
• Tenants who make sure that the inside of their rented units are never visible to anyone walking by
Although some self-storage tenants have legitimate reasons to visit the facility often, it is important for facility managers to protect the safety of the property and the other tenants. It is important that self-storage business owners provide appropriate training for their on-site managers and empower them with the authority to take action up to an including notifying the police of suspicious behavior.
Have you ever dealt with a squatter? Tell us about your experiences in the comments.