Maryland Governor Signs New Self-Storage Lien Law

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan signed an update to the state’s self-storage lien law bill on April 14 that enables storage operators to e-mail tenant-default notifications and advertise lien sales via e-mail or a website as long as tenants have acknowledged such procedures by initialing a statement on their rental agreement. House Bill 786 was supported by the Maryland Self Storage Association and national Self Storage Association and faced strong opposition from the Maryland-Delaware-D.C. Press Association, a newspaper advocacy group.

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan signed an update to the state’s self-storage lien law bill on April 14 that enables storage operators to e-mail tenant-default notifications and advertise lien sales via e-mail or a website as long as tenants have acknowledged such procedures by initialing a statement on their rental agreement. House Bill 786 was supported by the Maryland Self Storage Association and national Self Storage Association and faced strong opposition from the Maryland-Delaware-D.C. Press Association, a newspaper advocacy group.

The final version of the bill passed the house and senate unanimously. The new law will go into effect on Oct. 1.

Introduced in February, the final language amended the original bill, which sought to allow self-storage operators to advertise lien sales in “any other commercially reasonable manner” as long as at least three independent bidders attend the auction. The auction-attendance stipulation was stricken in favor of requiring tenants’ acknowledgement of the default-notification and lien-sale procedures on the rental agreement.

In addition to enabling e-mail notifications and the use of websites for making public notification of auctions, the new law also allows self-storage operators to have vehicles towed after default reaches 60 days.

The public-notification provision is similar to other lien-law updates passed recently in several states, including Georgia, Indiana, Minnesota, Missouri and North Carolina. An updated lien law in New Mexico recently allowed operators to e-mail tenant-default notifications and conduct lien auctions online but didn’t include a provision allowing the advertisement of lien sales in media other than a local newspaper.

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