Last week Arizona House Bill 2643, which outlines the protocol for the sale and disposal of personal property contained in a self-storage unit when a customer defaults or abandons the goods, passed the Arizona House Commerce Committee. HB2643 would limit the liability of self-storage operators in the event that private information or "protected property" is found in the abandoned or defaulted unit during lien sale.
The bill seeks to impose certain requirements on the self-storage tenant and provide protection for the self-storage operator. It specifically aims to:
- Subject the offending tenant to a penalty.
- Require tenants who store protected property in a self-storage facility to disclose that fact to the operator.
- Prohibit the sale of protected property by a storage operator who that has been notified about the presence of protected property or discovers a tenant has abandoned such property. In lieu of a sale, the operator would be required to destroy the property or turn it over to a suitable state or federal agency.
- Protect a storage operator from liability for destroying or disposing of protected property in the event of a default, as well as from liability to any tenant who abandons any materials that contain his or her own personal information.
- Protect the storage operator from liability for the sale or other disposition of protected property when the tenant has not disclosed that the rented space would be used to store such things, or if it cannot be readily determined that the property may have been abandoned on the premises.
The Arizona Self Storage Association is championing HB2643 with financial support from the national Self Storage Association. If successful, the bill could become a model for similar legislation in other states.