Considerations to be Made Before Sharing Your Self Storage Unit
When family and friends need help, it is always a good thing to step up and offer them a hand. That is, at least, as long as this help you provide doesn’t cost any great expense. Always provide help if you can, of course, but be sure to understand any consequences you may be faced with when offering this help. This is important if you have friends or family asking you to share space in your self storage unit.
The very first thing of note here is that sharing or subletting is prohibited by most reputable self storage facilities, including us at Sentinel. Of course, this doesn’t mean these arrangements aren’t made behind facilities’ backs, and, when they are, tenants leave themselves vulnerable to potential damages as a result of the shared unit. Damages, moreover, that, because the lease agreement has been broken, leave any and all responsibilities for those damages to the tenant named on the lease.
Surely, your friends and family are making an innocent request to you, once they are certainly intent of making sure it doesn’t cost you anything, but this is not something they can in fact guarantee. They may be asking for space for only a brief period of time, perhaps during renovations or a transition between homes, but anything can happen during that time, and their brief period of time may turn into a much longer period than any of you could have foreseen.
If you’re faced with family or friends requesting help of this kind, it’s important to really consider what they are asking of you before you grant that request. For your consideration, here are the most important factors you should be warry of when family and friends come asking for use of your storage space.
Firstly, just don’t do it
As we stated above, sharing or subletting your self storage unit is prohibited. This stands against most storage facilities’ regulations for a number of reasons. No one can predict whether your relationship with your ‘shared’ tenant will sour. If it does, a lot of issues can arise. Only the leaseholder will be granted access to the unit, and anything in their unit is considered theirs. This could be a great difficulty for your ‘shared’ tenant to retrieve their items the moment you have a falling out. At Sentinel, we are not looking to get involved with such disputes, but would find ourselves in the thick of things if a situation like this occurred. We make every effort to avoid this.
Additionally, bills are paid only by the leaseholder. If for some reason the leaseholder is unable to pay the bill, a lien is placed on the account, and the unit may go up for auction. If you’re the ‘shared’ tenant, you may lose all of your stored belongings if the leaseholder fails to pay the bill.
And what happens if someone dies? If the leaseholder passes away, then any ‘shared’ tenant will have a very difficult time retrieving their belongings, as only the executor of the estate will be granted access to the unit – but rental payments will still be charged.
Consider the access
It can be a simple process to move items into a self storage unit behind a facility’s back, but it is much more difficult for both of you to access that unit as easily. Only the leaseholder is provided access to the unit, and if they plan to travel at all, that could leave the ‘shared’ tenant without access for the duration of their travels – and perhaps some annoyances while the leaseholder is away. You need to be there every time they require access, and that could be a massive pain if it’s at all frequent.
Estimations are Estimations
When family and friends come asking for use of your storage unit, they will provide you with (hopefully) a reasonable estimate of the number of items they have and the duration of the use they require. But an estimate is always just an estimate, and things can change quickly in hurry.
If your family or friend is away travelling, in between homes, moving long distances, or in the middle of renovations, anything can occur to stretch the time they require storage. What happens if this time stretches beyond the time you intended to rent the storage unit? What happens if you needed to add items into your storage unit after this time, but cannot because your family or friend still has their belongings in your unit?
Estimates can be reasonable, but they can easily come up way short of mentioning items that seem secondary afterthoughts to your family or friends, but are items that are going to fill your space more than you would have liked. It’s very easy to overlook a few items that can make a big difference to how much the space is used.
An estimate is just an estimate, and the reality can be drastically different than what was estimated.
At Sentinel we know the sorts of hazards and risks involved with shared storage units, which is why this is prohibited. Sentinel is granted to only those names on a lease to keep every tenants’ storage contents secure and protected. We do everything we can to ensure the safety of your storage belongings.
Shared units come with risks, and if you’re a tenant faced with a request to share your unit, then we firmly encourage you to reject the request – not merely for the sake of our rules and regulations, but rather, and much more significantly, for the safety of your belongings and the belongings of your self storage neighbours.
If you have any questions or require further clarification of our policies, please speak with your Sentinel advisor today.