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Teri Lanza

Teri Lanza
Editorial Director
tlanza@vpico.com

Manipulative Tenants: Begging, Bargaining, Sneaking and More

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When self-storage tenants are late on rent and need to retrieve something from their units, all manner of shenanigans occur. From the customer who makes up sob stories to the one who begs mercy to the one who practically steals his own stuff, you have to hand it to some folks for their daring and creativity.

As a facility manager, you plan a part-time role as debt collector, which can be a stressful but sometimes entertaining job. Your tenants who are late stop seeing you as the friendly facility manager and treat you like the bill-chaser you are in their world, often evading you … until they need something from their storage space. That’s when the fun begins.

Managers on Self-Storage Talk have shared some of their favorite hoodwinks, for example the guy who attempted to pay forum user Autodoc for “this month” when he was three months past due. “I'll be in next week to pay the back two months. Just need to pay this month so I can get in,” he said. Nice try.

Finallyfoundit has a customer, consistently late, who begs for permission to retrieve certain goods from her unit. This one says that if she can just retrieve X item, she can sell it to pay her storage rent, and she’ll no longer be delinquent. Clever tactic.

Geraldine1051 has a customer who stores a bus on her property. When told he couldn’t access the site until he paid his rent, he tailgated another vehicle into the property hijack items from his own. Fortunately, this forum member has a very protective maintenance man who put this customer in his place.

What "check is in the mail" stories do you have to share? What have customers told you or done to gain access to their overlocked unit? Do you cave for historically good customers who fall short only occasionally, or do you apply the same stern treatment to all? Are you a pushover when it comes to whining customers? Share your tales!

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