You moved out of your storage unit last week and then got a bill in the mail. After a few choice curses, you call the storage facility and hopefully don’t share those curses with the person who answers the phone.
You may have calmed down a little bit, but you still want answers. Where did these new charges come from?
As a storage manager, it’s very rare for me to have to send someone a bill after they move out, but it does happen.
Well, for the same reasons that you might send someone a bill after they move out of a house or apartment: they left behind a mess or broke something.
Most recently this happened when the tenant had spilled some sort of oil on the floor of the unit. The tenant noticed during the move out process and came to tell us about it. Because she was upfront about the damage, we tried to keep the cost of repairs to a bare minimum. In fact, we found that we could simply clean up the oil spill using oil-absorbing kitty litter and replace one section of the floor. Total cost to the tenant $20.
But we could have charged her more and might have if she had not been so forthcoming about what happened.
According to the terms of the contract, we can charge a cleaning fee of not less than $100 when necessary. I’ve only had to charge that fee once and believe me, it was necessary. The things people leave behind in storage units can be downright disgusting.
What we more commonly have to charge after move out is a lock-drilling fee.
We don’t keep keys to your storage unit, so when you move out, you need to remove the lock before we can rent the space again. If you leave the lock on, you either have to keep paying for the space or pay a lock-drilling fee.
Again, this isn’t a fee we like to charge. We’ll call you and ask you take the lock off, usually giving you a couple days to come back and do so. But if you leave the lock on indefinitely, ignore our calls or promise to come remove the lock and then don’t do it, you’ll get a charge.
Generally speaking, avoiding extra charges is as easy as reading your lease and paying attention to it.
Are you required to give notice? If so, email or write, as the lease states, to let the company know you are moving out.
Take the lock off and make sure you let the manager know you moved out.
Clean the unit. No, it doesn’t need to be spotless, but if you leave behind, furniture, trash, or just random stuff, expect to be charged that cleaning fee.
If you broke something, tell the manager. Chances are it’s something minor and easy to fix. If we know about it, we’ll be much more understanding and probably just charge you for the supplies. If you hide it, lie about it or try to sneak out without telling us, we’ll charge you for the repair supplies and the time it takes our maintenance crew to fix it.
You can avoid post move out fees by simply being a good storage unit tenant!