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Teri Lanza

Teri Lanza
Editorial Director
tlanza@vpico.com

Self-Storage Talk Discussion: Resident Managers, Apartments Make Job Separations Messy

By John Carlisle Comments
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Resident self-storage managers are more connected to their jobs than most people, and the reason is obvious: They live where they work. Many times, it's not just one person living alone in the apartment. The facility apartment is often home to a family or, at least, a couple. Therefore, if a self-storage manager decides to move on, it's not as simple as giving two weeks' notice and then not coming to work anymore. Likewise, in the unfortunate event that a manager is let go, the owners/landlords must give their former managers reasonable time to move (at least 30 days is a common suggestion). That's the message from many Self-Storage Talk members, anyway.

Self-Storage Talk, the largest online community in the industry and official forum of Inside Self-Storage, is the place to chime in on the thread "Eviction," which refers not to the all-too-common scenario of kicking out delinquent tenants but instead forcing out dismissed managers and their families. From the owner-operator perspective, a facility apartment is part of the compensation provided for a manager's services. If for any reason a manager is released and a new one needs to be hired (in the event of a takeover or merger, these instances often arise), the apartment must become free in a reasonable amount of time for the replacement manager to start occupying it. But many posters say the owner's dilemma pales in comparison to the dismissed manager's, who now has the burden of finding a new job and home. Moderator MusicCity Gal had this to say: "As a manager, and I do not know your situation, but 30 days is reasonable. It is very hard to be a resident manager and lose your job and your home at the same time. Although it may be a bad situation, try to make it as easy as possible for all. I have just been through two site takeovers in the past nine months where resident managers had to leave. It was very uncomfortable but we got through it. This is never an easy situation."

Other members say resident manager dismissal must be covered in an employment contract signed upfront when the manager is hired. This contract should fully specify the process and time allowed for the manager to vacate the apartment. It's also pertinent if the manager signed a lease for the apartment separate from the employment contract, in which case all of the severability and eviction clauses related to the state or local rental laws would be relevant. Many posters suggest, however, giving managers a couple of extra days or weeks beyond what's enumerated in the contract is a good idea, for the sake of being "humane." One member suggested offering a per-day cash incentive for the manager to vacate the apartment, rewarding them for leaving expediently.

In a similar situation, a self-storage manager has found herself in a tricky predicament. Member storagegirl started the thread "Losing My Apartment" to share her operator's decision to raze the onsite apartment to expand the facility. To compensate, the owner will increase the manager's salary so she can move offsite. The pay increase seems to be the sticking point. To be a truly fair trade-off, the owner would have to offer a raise commensurate with the cost of rent, utilities and other formerly covered expenses, as well as account for the hassle and inconvenience of finding a new home, moving and commuting. Storagegirl is weighing her options but feels somewhat powerless because this decision was made completely beyond her control.
In short, these situations are difficult for both parties, which is why it's great to have a non-judgmental peer-support community at your fingertips, a place where you can be anonymous and frank and receive feedback or encouragement. It's these hard-to-solve situations for which Self-Storage Talk was created. If you're a member of the industry—an owner, operator, manager, investor, developer or supplier—you're invited to participate. To post your opinions, you must join the ranks for the 4,000+ registered members, but registration is free, easy and can be done at http://www.selfstoragetalk.com/register.php.

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