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Delinquent Self-Storage Tenant Steals Back Car, What Next?

By John Carlisle Comments

Here's the scenario: A delinquent self-storage tenant who is storing a couple of cars continually ignores collection attempts until, finally, he returns a call. Using plenty of profanity, he tells the facility manager to "do what you have to do" in regard to his vehicles, as the tenant has no intention of paying rent. A couple of days later, the manager notices one of the cars has disappeared. The most likely thief is the tenant, who must have sneaked into the facility to get the car.

Members on Self-Storage Talk, the self-storage industry's largest online community and the official forum of Inside Self-Storage, assist member mrodrigues after he shares his story. Fellow facility operators have provided a few succinct suggestions.

1. Call the police and report the car as stolen. After all, a lien was in effect, so the car belonged to the facility. Make sure to have the VIN and license plate number.

2. Call the tenant and say, "You're car has been stolen from our facility. We will have to call the police to report it stolen." That might get him to cooperate.

3. In the future, take extra precaution with vehicles that are going to auction. Remove the license plates to make the car street illegal, or put a "boot" on one of the tires to make the car unmovable.

Several members expressed concern regarding the third suggestion. Some self-storage facilities have written policies forbidding inoperable vehicles on their property, and they shouldn't contradict those edicts, even in the case of a delinquency.

What's the best way to protect vehicles from their delinquent-tenant owners? Do you have any suggestions? If so, log onto Self-Storage Talk and chime in on the thread. If you're not a registered member, you can join the nearly 3,700 other users of SST by registering for free.

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