Self storage is defined as ‘a system whereby individuals rent containers or units of space within a large warehouse to store possessions’ (Definition: Oxford Languages).
When considering renting a self storage unit there are a lot of factors to think about beforehand. Any reputable company will have a legally-binding agreement in the form of a contract, this will highlight the terms of your lease and should include payment schedules, length of tenancy and the rights of both yourself and the self storage provider.
The idea of a self storage agreement is to lay out clear terms at the start of the lease to ensure a smooth service for both the lessor and lessee. As we all know, once signed this contract means that in the event of any disagreement, concern or transgression both parties can refer back to the initial agreement and resolve any issues quickly and easily.
A contract/agreement is good business practice and a standard operating procedure, in fact any company that does not have some form of written/electronic agreement in place with clear terms should raise a red flag.
However, it is worth taking the time to read through any paperwork before signing, so you fully understand what you are agreeing to.
To help advise you on what a basic agreement should contain, here at Store Insure we have created a handy guide, so you know what to expect.
Storage unit payment terms
The payment terms section should cover anything relevant to (spoiler alert!) payments for your self storage unit.
In its most basic form, the contract will outline the amount of the payment due, when it is expected to be paid by and the consequences of late payments including what will happen to your goods in the event that you are unable to pay. Some storage providers may offer a ‘grace period’ for late payments, however this is not standard. If you have paid a security deposit it would be a good idea to get this added to the agreement or at least referred to with accompanying paperwork present such as an invoice or receipt.
Also listed in the agreement will be the ways in which it is acceptable to pay each month such as Direct Debit, Credit Card or Standing Order. Many storage units will now charge the account automatically on each due date unless provided with the appropriate cancellation period from the individual leasing the storage unit.
In some instances, depending on what type of facility you use there may be additional costs such as cleaning, additional key cutting and access (if not a 24/7 location). This should all be made clear to you before beginning your lease.
What can and can’t be stored in self storage
There are a huge number of items that are acceptable to store (too many to list here!), resources and tips on how to store specific items can be found on our blog. Each storage provider will have their own variations on what is prohibited, which should be clearly stated within the lease agreement, most, if not all providers, will agree on the following prohibited items:
- Any living creatures
- Combustible, flammable or toxic substances
- Illegal or counterfeit items
- Perishable food items (many will accept non-perishable items)
- Money and securities
With any ‘tenancy’ it is important to discus beforehand with your self storage provider what items you will be looking to safely store. If you are found to be storing a prohibited item then you will be in breach of your contract and at risk of being removed from the premises, you may also face some hefty fines. If you have taken out storage insurance, storing prohibited items will invalidate your insurance leaving the rest of your items without cover. To find out what we at Store Insure cover, a copy of our policy wording with a full breakdown of items can be found here, alternatively use ‘Quote and Buy Online’ service for a full quote and instant cover.
Storage unit usage
A good agreement should highlight what you are unable to use your storage unit for and may also outline any terms relating to the upkeep and cleanliness of your unit.
It is fair to say that using your self storage unit as a home is always a clear ‘NO’ from the storage provider. Likewise, any alterations undertaken or damage to the unit will be in violation of your agreement and you will risk eviction and, in some cases, fines.
When vacating the unit, you will be expected to ensure that it is left in a clean and tidy state – so, for example, if you are in a unit where you are able to store a vehicle it is worth taking the proper measures to ensure no oil or other fluids stain the floor.
Termination of agreement
Before leasing your storage unit, you should be aware of how to end the contract when you feel it is no longer needed. The amount of notice that the storage provider requires should be outlined clearly with any possible costs highlighted.
As stated previously, many storage units are rented on a monthly basis, and so it is fair to say that these providers will most likely require a months notice. Although, there are those that offer two weekly and weekly contracts by prior agreement, either way the agreement will detail this specifically.
In most cases the above will be sufficient and no other issues will be raised. However, so both parties are aware, your agreement will also detail what will happen if either the lessor or lessee does not stick to the agreement. This could result in immediate eviction for the lessee, or non-payment for the lessor.
Other helpful information
All self storage providers are different and although not exhaustive, hopefully the above guide has given some guidance on the basic points that should be covered in a lease agreement.
For specialist items, it is worth approaching your chosen self storage provider prior to signing any agreement, they will be able to advise and have probably previously dealt with any scenario you could think of!
Key questions to ask your provider
- What happens to my possessions if I am unable to pay?
- Can the storage provider enter my property without my prior agreement?
- Is the unit accessible 24/7?
- What security measures are in place?
- Is the facility staffed?
Key questions to ask yourself
- What items am I planning to store and are any prohibited?
- How long am I planning to use the unit?
- Is the location important?
- Do I know approximately what size I need?
Can I get storage insurance anywhere else other than the storage provider?
The answer to that question is YES. Self Storage Insurance is compulsory at most reputable storage facilities and most providers will offer this themselves when you take out a lease agreement. Unfortunately, this insurance is often poor value for money in comparison to insurance from a specialist provider like Store Insure. With our ‘Quote and Buy Online’ facility we can tell you exactly what you are and are not covered for and can give you instant cover.
When compared against cover from storage providers, customers typically save money by choosing Store Insure.