Imagine this scenario: A tenant owes several hundred on a space, defaults, and her stuff goes to lien auction. The tenant proceeds to attend the auction for her space, and the auctioneer approves her, so she's officially in the bidding. She bids and bids, hoping to get her stuff back for less than she owes on the unit. Finally, a bid for the amount she owes is offered and the delinquent tenant says, "Stop right there! I'll match the bid and take the stuff!" But the auctioneer keeps going. The woman bids again, more than she owes, but she's still outbid. She eventually wins the unit for more than $1,000 and, angrily, threatens to sue the facility for the difference between what she owed and how much she had to pay to get her stuff back.
The operator, member Jughead on Self-Storage Talk online community, runs a facility in Washington state. This scenario had never transpired there before, and Jughead is second-guessing whether the auction should have stopped when the tenant offered a matching bid. Does the tenant have a legal argument, he wonders?
The responses from other forum members are flowing in. One asks why the tenant was permitted in the auction in the first place. Others argue a different point, claiming all "public" sales must be truly public―that includes allowing the tenant to attend. Another respondent suggested Jughead implement an auction policy similar to his own: Delinquent tenants are not permitted on the premises or at the auction, but they may send friends as proxies to bid, as long as the proxies obey the rules and do not cause a disturbance.
Later in the discussion, Jughead posted what the facility's lawyer said. Want to read the attorney’s statement and see how this situation is being resolved? Have any advice or a similar story to share? Visit the discussion thread, “Interesting Auction Incident, What Would You Do?” You must be a registered member to post, but the registration process is free and takes only a couple of minutes.