Self-Storage Operators Talk Electronic Late Notices: Are They Legal, Worthwhile?
Copyright 2014 by Virgo Publishing.
By: John Carlisle
Posted on: 01/11/2011



 

Imagine one of your new self-storage tenants leases a 10-by-30 unit but then asks for a favor: "Please send me payment notices by fax or e-mail because I won't receive them by mail. I travel a lot, and mail notices are futile."

While it may not be reassuring to know your tenant has trouble with snail mail, It’s not unreasonable to expect electronic payment notices in this day and age. Cell-phone, utility and other service providers often e-mail customers when bills come due (or are past due), and then provide an electronic means for payment.

Several facility operators have turned to Self-Storage Talk, the industry’s largest online community, to discuss this issue, as the above scenario actually happened to California manager and member hurlco. On a thread titled “Can I send notices via fax or e-mail,” members have responded with varying stances.

The law in most states requires that self-storage late notices be sent via traditional mail or, in many cases, Certified Mail. Some say it's unreasonable for the tenant to expect notices by any other means. After all, it's the customer’s responsibility to pay on time, and if the facility offers an auto-pay option, the tenant ought to use it.

Yet other members see the benefit in e-mailing notices, and have even gone so far as to call for a change in the law that will make electronic notices the preferred method. One member suggested the tenant could sign something waiving the right to Certified Mail notices and use an alternative method. (Of course, consulting an attorney before making such a move is suggested.)

Have some insight on late-payment notices? Would you prefer an electronic system to Certified or traditional mail? Share what you know and give your opinion on the thread. If you haven't registered an SST account, which is necessary to post, you can do so for free at www.selfstoragetalk.com.

Live and growing since 2008, Self-Storage Talk is the official forum of Inside Self-Storage. The community has approximately 3,870 members, 23 different topical forums, 3,870 discussion threads and 33,500 posts.