The issue of lien-sale notifications came to the fore in Arizona this week as the legislature passed HB2435, which will save the state’s self-storage operators money by changing the requirement for expensive Certified Mail notices and newspaper advertisements prior to sale. It's an issue that affects operators worldwide, however: How do you notify a tenant of the sale? At what point have you fulfilled your obligation to the customer before selling his goods?
While not yet signed by the governor, the bill's advocates are hopeful the bill will become law. It eliminates the requirement of publishing lien notices in local newspapers, and replaces the requirement for sending Certified Mail to tenants in default with one for “verified” mail, which means any method introduced by the United States Postal Service that provides for proof of mailing.
But not everyone approves of the changes. Today an ISS reader submitted a comment to the online press release, criticizing the bill's aim and saying some self-storage owners are becoming lazy. "You have given your responsibility as a business owner over to the less responsible U.S. Post Office employee," he writes."These costs are in your overhead, and [it's] possible the real culprit is the corporate self-storage operator who is lazy, cheap and after the almighty buck (ROI)."
Operators discussing the topic on the Self-Storage Talk forum have a different point of view. "Fact is, this legislation will reduce costs, which, in turn, MAY reduce price and still keep a small amount of profit for the owner. It is amazing how many people just think anyone in business is greedy and will do anything for a profit," says Mel Holsinger, president of Professional Self Storage Management in Tucson, Ariz. (To read the full thread, see Legislative Victory in AZ!)
What challenges do you face in notifying tenants prior to lien sale? How do you feel about Certified Mail? Is it a necessary evil and business expense, or an archaic method that needs to be replaced with more modern communication?