Saturday, March 29, 2014

What You Need to Know About Self Storage Contracts

It's important to read the fine print of anything you sign, and self storage contracts are no different. While most self storage companies are reputable, there may be downsides to the contract that can bite you if you aren't careful. It's a good idea to request a sample contract from any storage company you are interested in so you can take the contract home to read carefully.

Here are some important areas of the contract to understand before you rent storage.

General Contract Agreements

The self storage facility uses the contract to protect itself while also offering you protection. You should understand exactly what will happen if you miss your monthly payment, because some facilities will close your unit without notice, refuse you access to your belongings and send them to auction. You should also understand the company's policy on employee access. In general, no one should access your storage unit unless you default or there is an emergency, such as a flood or fire.

Equipment and Vehicle Use for Free

Many storage facilities will give you free use of a moving truck and equipment if you sign a contract. This can be a great deal when you consider the cost of renting these items on your own, but remember there is still the fine print. You generally have to provide a refundable deposit, and the use of the truck, moving equipment or trailer may be offered for a limited amount of time, such as two hours. If you exceed this time, you may be charged for time and mileage. If you will need the equipment or vehicle longer than the facility offers for free, investigate your options.

Insurance on Your Belongings

Most self storage companies will recommend you purchase insurance on your belongings, which is a good idea. Some contracts include a clause that limits your rights in case of accident if you do not have insurance. Some companies will go so far as insisting you purchase their insurance policies or a policy through a partner. Check rates on any insurance policies you are offered and make sure they are competitive and meet your needs.

Other Costs of Renting Storage

When you read your contract, you may find additional costs of renting storage that you did not factor into your budget. You may need to buy a padlock, for example, or you may be charged for parking on the property. You should also consider the cost of moving and packing supplies.

Deposits, Rental Terms and Notice

You should be asked to provide a deposit before you rent storage, unless there is a promotion. This deposit should be refundable when you move out of storage but you should check the conditions before you sign the contract. While most self storage facilities just require a clean, empty unit, some will impose very strict conditions.

Finally, you should also check that you will be refunded for any time you do not use the storage unit for rental and insurance charges if you terminate your contract early. Check the minimum and maximum rental terms, and understand the notice period.

If you are being asked to give a month's notice, you should probably choose another storage facility. Christine writes for Access Self Storage, which maintains storage facilities throughout Metro New York and New Jersey with cheap storage that doesn't sacrifice on amenities, security and great customer service.
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