The storage industry is big business, so sometimes when you start renting with one storage company you quickly end up with a different company as your new landlord. So what should you do when your storage provider changes hands?

Examine the New Contract

When your storage operator sells the facility to someone else, whether it’s a national company or just a new mom-and-pop operation, there are likely to be changes to the contract. As soon as you find out that the change is taking place, head into the office and ask for a copy of the new contract.

Most companies should be happy to hand you a copy of your contract. If not, you might want to consider finding a new place to store your stuff.

When examining the contract, look for specifics regarding the new company’s policies regarding late fees, rental increases and mandatory insurance. Some companies are brutal regarding late fees and if you are used to a company with more laid back late payment policies, you could quickly find yourself owing a lot.

And be sure to get the contract in writing. Employees may not know the specifics of the differences or may be told to minimize your fears by telling you nothing changed. Be sure to look over the contract thoroughly before signing it.

Read Everything They Send You

When we send out letters to our customers, we find that many times they are unopened or unread, with the customer mistakenly believing it is routine communication. Don’t make this mistake!

Pennsylvania law allows storage operators to make changes in your contract by giving you 30 days written notice. Even if you don’t read the letter and don’t sign anything new, you are bound by the new contract if you stay past that 30 days.

You could be agreeing to a severe rate increase, huge late penalties or even a limitation on the value of things you can store without ever signing anything if you aren’t paying attention.

Read everything they send you and keep a copy of it for your records.

Ask Questions

When you find out that your storage company has changed hands, call or stop by and ask questions. In fact, treat this as if you were a first time customer. Ask about access hours, how much notice you have to give to move out, how often the company increases rates and what type of security they offer.

Having your storage provider change hands does not necessarily mean things will change for the worse, but it never hurts to protect yourself. Know your rights and be prepared to leave if the changes are not in your favor.