A surprising number of people ask when they come to rent one of 422 Spacemall‘s storage units, “So do you have auctions like on Storage Wars?”

What I tell them is while local storage auctions are nothing at all like the so-called reality television show, storage auctions do happen. Whether your from Audubon, Collegeville, Phoenixville or Norristown, there is always a chance that you could end up with your stuff in a storage auction. But avoiding losing your stuff to an auction is simple, even when you fall behind.

Pay Your Storage Bill

This may seem obvious, but the way that most people end up with their stuff in storage auction is that they fail to pay the bill, for awhile. In Pennsylvania, the legal process for a storage auction begins when you are 60 days late. After that, you will be notified, by email or U.S. mail, that a storage lien is being placed on the unit. At that time, and often before, depending on the specifics of your contract, the facility can deny you access to your stuff until you pay the past due bill and any associated fees. In fact, the facility can legally even move your things to another location for safe storage until the sale date, but most facilities won’t exercise that option.

If you are faced with a bad economic situation that makes it impossible to pay your bill on time, talk to the facility. Most storage unit facilities, especially those that are locally-owned and not part of a major chain, will be happy to work with you to get the bill paid.

Get Your Storage Company Proper Contact Information

If you change your phone number, mailing address or email address, contact your storage facility. The law says that the facility needs to contact you at the address you provided when you moved in, unless you have updated that address. Giving the facility more ways to contact you means that you are more likely to get a call or a letter if you forget to pay the bill. In our years in the industry, we’ve seen dozens of people on the brink of losing their stuff because they moved and didn’t let the facility know.

On average, I will have tried to contact a renter no less than a dozen times before we resort to an auction. If you’re phone number is disconnected and the mail comes back, there’s not much else I can do.

The big secret, that isn’t a secret at all, in the storage industry is that auctions are a pain in the neck for the facility. We have to notify the renters and deal with their angry calls, advertise the sale to attract buyers, cut locks, host an auction and then make sure the buyers clean the unit out. And most of the time, the buyers get your stuff at a fraction of what it’s worth.

So if you find yourself in a situation where an auction could be in your future, contact the facility. Most of the time they will make payment arrangements with you, but if you say you’re going to pay at a certain time, be sure to keep your word. That will go a long way to keeping you out of an Oaks-version of Storage Wars!

For professional, friendly storage units right here in Oaks, contact 422 Spacemall today!