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Preventing Discrimination Suits

Kenneth M. Piken Comments
Continued from page 1
The formula and solution is one in the same: All storage facilities should clearly post their rules and regulations at the site and within their rental contract. The minimum requirements for unit rental should include the following:

  • Minimum number of IDs needed 
  • Whether a photo is to be on any or all IDs required 
  • Driver’s license or official certification of ISD from a government agency 
  • A valid credit card in the customer’s name 
  • Phone number to contact and whether a cell-phone number will suffice 
  • Authorization for credit check (if the facility uses one) 
  • Emergency contact name, address and phone number 
  • Verifiable legal address (not a P.O. box) Vehicle registration (this is of vital importance for the rental of parking space)

While an operator can establish whatever rules he wishes for the protection of his occupants and facility, he and his staff must adhere to these regulations. It’s a prima facie case of discrimination if one customer is singled out for illegal or illegitimate reasons. There are generally four bases for discrimination: age, sex, race or national origin. A facility’s regulations must not be discriminatory in any way, i.e., they must be applied to all customers uniformly.

The simple fact is once rules are established and followed, it’s hard for a discrimination claim to be successful. Caution is the key word as to the initial establishment of the policies and procedures. Treat each customer or prospect equally, and the issue will be minimized. 

This article is being provided for general information only and does not constitute advice. Anyone with specific questions about this topic must address them to his attorney. This article does not constitute a legally binding relationship of any nature nor is same protected under the attorney-client privilege.

Kenneth M. Piken is a practicing attorney for 25 years and the managing partner in the New York-based law firm of Piken & Associates. The firm, which is more than 50 years old, concentrates on real estate and logistics matters. Mr. Piken was General Counsel for the New York Self Storage Association of more than 15 years. He has lectured throughout the United States and is the author of numerous articles on self-storage. He has been an expert witness in courts throughout the country and participated in drafting and lobbying for lien laws in New York. For more information, visit . 

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