Transferring a Unit from One Customer to Another

Jon Fesmire |

Managing a self storage facility is one of those jobs where surprising new situations are bound to crop up from time to time. The first time a tenant tells you they want to transfer their unit to another person, you may scratch your head. Why would they want to do that, and what’s the procedure?

Fortunately, there are a lot of sensible reasons for doing this, and the paperwork isn’t tough.

The Why

There are at least dozens of reasons one person would transfer their unit to another person. Here are some possibilities.

  • A parent rented the unit for their minor child, but the child is now an 18, so the parent wants to put it in their adult child’s name.

  • A couple is breaking up amicably. The tenant has removed his belongings and left only hers, and they want to transfer the unit to her name.

  • Two friends are renting a unit together, but the one on the lease is moving out of town with their personal belongings from the unit. The one not moving wants to keep the storage unit, so they decide to do a transfer.

Of course, this shouldn’t be relevant to facilitating the switch, so let’s cover how to do that.

The How

When a tenant first rents a unit, you probably require certain documentation from them, including a credit card and ID. You’ll want to see their ID again before making the switch, and the tenant taking over will need to provide their own credit card information plus a valid form of government-issued picture ID.

You may want to have a tenant transfer form, or simply ask the outgoing and incoming tenants to provide you with a letter that states they are transferring it from one to the other. Have them fill out the form, or write the letter, and sign it in front of you. You can then sign it as a witness. Alternately, you can have them bring in a notarized letter that they both have signed. The letter should make it clear that the contents of the unit will remain. This doesn’t mean that ownership of the contents is necessarily being transferred. That’s a separate issue between the outgoing and incoming tenant. It simply means that the contents will remain in the unit and that the new person will become the renting tenant.

Then, show the new person around the facility as you would any new tenant. Return to the office and have the current tenant fill out the normal, necessary paperwork for ending their tenancy, and have the new person fill out the rental paperwork to become a tenant, renting that unit. Follow all other normal procedures for getting the new renter situated, including having them buy the necessary insurance, getting them their gate code, informing them of the rules and hours, getting a copy of their ID, and so on.

That’s it! It’s a fairly straightforward procedure, with that extra letter from both tenants showing that they agreed to the swap. If you don’t have a generic transfer letter that tenants can use as a template, we recommend you write one up and print it as needed. Then, you’ll be all set for when this situation arises.