Ask the Waldmans

Ask the Waldmans

With Stanley and Jill Waldman

Should I Prorate the Rent?

Dear Waldmans: My self-storage facility is located in a college town, which means that we rent many units to students during the summer months. Our procedure is to rent units by the month, as that is what our state laws require. If a tenant moves in after the first of the month, we prorate the rent. However, we do not prorate the rent if the tenant moves out early.

One problem I have experienced is that college students typically move out in the middle of the month and do not want to pay for an entire month's rent. In the past, I have never given students a break, but now I am wondering if I am making a mistake. What should I do?
--Bottom Line in Columbia, S.C.

Dear Bottom Line: Our facility is located in a college town and we, too, have encountered this problem. Every summer, we offer college students a small discount off the monthly rental rate and nothing more. If we were to prorate the rent for all the students who moved out early, we would certainly lose a substantial amount of money. Of course, our rental policies have made some students mad, but rules are rules. One way to alleviate any problems is to explain the rental procedures thoroughly before renting to any college student or prospective tenant. This way, if the student or tenant does not like your rules, he can look elsewhere.

Just for your information, last week, we rented to more college students than we ever have before. Obviously, those few students who did not like our procedures did not affect the other students.

Many times, state law dictates whether to use an anniversary date or a prorate date. If you have the option, we suggest that you use an anniversary date. Anniversary dates allow you to distribute the workload over the entire month rather than at the beginning of the month. Additionally, you will probably receive more late fees as people forget to pay in the middle of the month.

Note: In regard to the "Ask the Waldmans" column in the May issue of Inside Self-Storage, employees or representatives of facilities who are authorized by an insurer to issue certificates or other evidences of insurance within the State of Florida under an insurance policy issued to the lessor should be registered with the Department of Insurance by paying a $50 fee. Upon such registration and approval, a special insurance license will be issued. A facility must have a representative licensed before offering this type of service. For additional information, call the Florida Department of Insurance at (850) 922-3100.

A father-daughter team, Stanley and Jill Waldman are both self-storage operators and attorneys who graduated from the University of South Carolina School of Law. In addition, Ms. Waldman received her master's degree in labor and employment law from Georgetown University. Together, they have devoted much of their talents to the family storage facility.

Comments and questions for "Ask the Waldmans" may be sent to: The Waldmans, P.O. Box 21416, Charleston, SC 29413; e-mail [email protected]; Web site .

Editor's Note: Views and opinions on legal matters are those of the authors. Professional counsels should be obtained before any determination or positive action is taken.

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