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Can I Store Someone Else’s Belongings In My Unit?

Can I Store Someone Else's Stuff in My Unit?
This idea may seem appealing to you, if you’re moving in with your boyfriend or girlfriend; or you have roommates; or you and a family member both need storage. However, there’s a lot of thought to be put into this decision before making it. We’re going to run through some scenarios for you to help you decide what’s best for you.

Whose name will be on the rental agreement?

Whoever’s name is listed on the rental agreement is the sole owner of the unit and its contents.

Meet Chris and Becky: Happy boyfriend and girlfriend looking to move in together.

Becky signs the lease for the unit and Chris puts his super comfy couch and entertainment system in there while they’re apartment hunting. Then something goes wrong and they break up. So, what happens next?

Chris goes into the office of 140 Mini Storage and says, “Hi, I’m Chris. My girlfriend Becky rented a unit for both of us. We broke up and she has the key to the unit. I need to get in there to get my stuff out, can you let me in?” The manager will look at the account, see that his name isn’t on the lease and has to tell him no. Not only that, but we do not have access to your storage unit – only you have the keys to your lock. Then the manager will take a red lock and put it on the storage unit until Becky comes into the office to change the security code and put a new lock on the door.

I’m sure you’re thinking, “But that’s not fair! Chris’s stuff is in that unit!” Well, for one thing, the manager has no real way of knowing that for sure. And for another, Chris should have thought about that before he let someone else store his things in their name. The only way he will get his things back is if he works it out with Becky. But one thing’s for sure, he won’t be given access by a 140 Mini Storage employee. You never know what the future holds, even for married couples. Break ups and divorce can be a messy process, and we’re not lawyers or couples’ counselors, so we go by the book; “Is your name on the lease? No? Then we cannot grant you access.” I know it sounds a bit nasty, but let’s look at another angle shall we?

What if one of them wanted revenge on their ex? Or, what if one of them was just a thief who happened to find out about the shared unit and was trying to take advantage of the situation? Would you want us to give out your information then or have access to your storage unit? We didn’t think so. Every property manager will say the same thing, “You should never store someone else’s belongings in your storage unit, and you should never store your belongings in someone else’s storage unit.” You open up quite the can of metaphorical worms by doing so. The comforting thing about this situation is this: You will never have to worry about one of our property managers giving out your information to anyone other than you.

Who will pay the bill?

The bill is to be paid by the customer whose name is on the rental agreement. Should they not make payment by the due date, access is denied, a lien is placed on the account and it may be processed at auction.

Meet Joe, Ken, and Adam: The Roommates.

Joe works full-time, Ken and Adam work part-time. Since Adam has more free time at his job, he stops in to get a storage unit for the three of them. He signs the rental agreement and pays to set up the account. He tells his roommates how much the rent will be and they decide to split it three ways. Over the next month, all three guys put various personal possessions and furniture into the storage unit. After a few months, Ken gets behind on his bills and isn’t able to pay Adam for his part of the rent any more. Adam tells his property manager that he doesn’t have the full amount to pay for the rent that month.

What happens? The property manager says, “Sorry, no partial payments.” And when the rent is late, the property manager puts a red lock on the unit and denies access. Now Adam has to pay Ken’s part of the bill or else he doesn’t get access to his stuff. Why? Because Adam is the only person listed on the rental agreement. He is the only one contracted to pay for and utilize the storage unit. So after a month goes by without payment, Adam receives a certified letter saying a lien has been placed on the unit and he has to pay or his unit will be auctioned. Adam got stuck with the bill because Ken couldn’t pay. It’s a bad situation, and one that could have been avoided if the guys had each just gotten their own storage unit. We have storage units small enough to accommodate just about any need – so why risk it?

What if that person dies?

Meet Sarah and Abby: Mother and daughter.

Sarah is moving into a retirement home and puts a bunch of things in a storage unit that Abby doesn’t have room for any more. Abby also puts some of her own things in the storage unit because she knows her mom won’t mind. Fast forward several years, and Sarah passes away. Abby now wants access to the storage unit to get both her and her mother’s things out. As soon as the property manager hears of Sarah’s passing, they must put a red lock on the unit and deny access to anyone who shows up. Why? Because it’s the law.

To protect the rights and belongings of the deceased, property managers cannot allow access to anyone who is not the tenant, their P.O.A. or the executor of their will/estate. Until someone shows up with a short certificate issued by the county court house department of wills, no one is allowed access to that unit, and payments must still be made. So Abby can’t get to her personal belongings unless she’s the executor of the estate, and if she isn’t, she has no real authority to have anything to do with the storage unit or its contents. The rental agreement states that the person who signs is the sole owner of the unit and its contents.

So, what have we learned?

You probably could share a unit with someone, if you are okay with taking the risk along with it. However, we still wouldn’t recommend it. Since we have storage units of all sizes and types, it would be much less hassle for you to take out your own storage unit rather than sharing with a friend or family member.

We’ve seen all sorts of messy situations arise from poor judgment and every one of them could have been avoided. Talk to your property manager about your situation to see what will be the best course of action for you. We want your storage experience with 140 Mini Storage to be the best, so we’ll do our best to make sure that happens.

If you now realize you need to get your own storage unit, you can rent one online. Or, you can contact your property manager for more information.