What to Do If a Tenant is Storing Prohibited Items

Jon Fesmire |

There are some things you just don’t want in your self storage facility. These include those tenants who harass other tenants, renters sleeping in their units, and tenants storing prohibited items. After all, those items are not allowed for good reasons. They include flammable liquids and explosives, which can cause serious damage to people and property, perishable foods, which can attract all sorts of pets, and live plants, for the same reason.

You have the right to ask tenants breaking these rules to move out. Here are the basic steps.

The Lease

Your facility should have a robust contract for tenants. It needs to include the billing schedule, their rental fees per month, how to access the facility and their unit, and your termination and eviction policy. Make sure those are all included, so the tenant knows what to expect, and so that you’re legally covered.

The contract must give you the authority to end a tenant’s lease immediately, giving them a 30 day notice to move out. (In some states, it may be 60 days once they have rented from you for more than a year.)

Contacting the Tenant

Naturally, you’ll want to follow the law to the letter. As such, when you’re creating your facility’s standard contract, be aware of the correct way to serve a termination notice in your state, and what that notice must include. Generally, it will be via mail, fax, or email. You may wish to use two methods to make sure the tenant gets the message.

The Next Step

Ideally, the tenant will pack their things and move out. Unfortunately, sometimes, tenants will challenge a move-out letter.

They may simply stop paying rent. In that case, follow the procedures for that circumstance, including over-locking the door to their unit and taking steps to bring the unit to auction. The other option is pursuing eviction.

That’s right, the initial letter giving the tenant a specified period of time to move out is not an eviction, and if they do move out before you have to file an eviction with your local court, the fact that you kicked them out will not show up when future landlords search their records. Because of that, it’s in the tenant’s best interest to move their things out of your facility.

An eviction will give them either 30 or 60 days to move out, again, depending on the state and how long they have rented the unit. At this point, most stubborn tenants will move out. However, they may challenge the eviction. Note, too, that if they challenge it and lose, this will look even worse on their rental record.

Worst Case

It is possible that a renter will continue to challenge the eviction all the way to court. If that happens, you may have to hire an attorney. In other words, an eviction has the potential to get expensive, so be prepared for that possibility. However, remember that it is highly unlikely to go that far.

Now, if you do learn that a tenant is storing prohibited items, you know what legal steps to follow. Again, a brief consultation with an attorney can help you learn exactly what you need to do whenever you have a renter you need to have move from your facility.