Lien Laws Frequently Asked Questions

1. What are self storage lien laws?

Self storage lien laws are statutes that went through your state legislature and were signed into law by the governor of your state. The lien laws can often be very specific and sometimes difficult to follow. The nice thing about the lien laws is that they provide you with a way to remove tenants that do not pay from your facility without having to go to court.

2. Where can I find the self storage lien laws for my state?

You can find it right here on our website or through your state’s self storage association.

3. What does “Last Known Address” mean?

Last known address simply means the last address the tenant provided you with. This might be the address provided at the time of rental. It could also be a change of address submitted in writing or via e-mail. You should check your state lien laws to confirm what types of change of address notifications are considered legal.

4. Do I have to ask buyers to leave behind personal items?

In most states, the statute does not address personal items such as family photos or personal documents. We do ask people to leave behind any personal items as a courtesy. It should be noted that if a unit contains documents that were used in the course of a business, like a law or medical practice, it may violate privacy statutes if these items are sold.

6. What is verifiable mail?

Verifiable mail is any form of mail in which you can verify the date it was sent. This can be certified mail, but many states have adopted less strict standards and are now allowing you to use first class mail with a certificate of mailing.

7. When can I deny my tenant access to their unit?

This will vary from state to state, but it is very important that you check your state lien laws to ensure you are in compliance.

8. What is a newspaper of “general circulation?”

A newspaper of general circulation is technically defined as one that is printed at least once a week for general distribution and circulation. However, your state lien laws could expand on that definition. For example, many states do not allow advertising in a penny saver type of paper and some states require that the paper be located in the same county as the storage facility. Check with the paper you wish to advertise with. They might be able to provide you with an affidavit stating that they are of general circulation.

9. How do I know if the lien laws in my state change?

Your state self storage association would be involved with these changes. If you are not already a member, you can join and they will keep you up to date with any events occurring.

10. Does my letter need to be dated the same date it is sent?

Most state statutes require that you provide a time frame for in which your tenant has to respond to the letter. Usually, this is 14 or 15 days. Usually, you cannot publish an advertisement before this time has expired.