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Self-Storage Operators Discuss Customer Confidentiality Best Practices

By John Carlisle Comments

Part of the ethics of running a self-storage facility is keeping your word to customers about protecting the security of their items and their privacy. However, the methods by which each facility protects customer information are not uniform. These discrepancies have sparked a worthwhile conversation on Self-Storage Talk, the official online forum of Inside Self-Storage.

A self-storage owner recently started a discussion thread about the privacy measures he instructs his managers to take. "I have always told my managers to not give out any information to anyone about a renter or what a renter is storing unless that person's signature is also signed on the rental contract," he shares. But he also asks a good question about spouses:

"What if the wife comes in to set up the space and is the only one who signs the contract? Will you give account information to the husband if he calls or comes in? If he doesn’t have his code when he comes in, will you let him in?"

Most respondents take an absolute stance on the matter: No security code, no entry. However, one facility manager does allow anyone to make a payment on an account, as long as the payee knows the account number.

Another manager allows renters to designate one other person with access to the unit (usually a spouse or other close family member), but this designation occurs at the time of signing the lease. For any changes to be made, the original lessee must sign a reauthorization form. Posters are continually referring to this as the "authorized for access" option.

Subsequently, a different forum member posted that authorized-for-access options on contracts are going by the wayside in the industry, mostly because they increase a facility's liability without providing any benefit. Most people will not prohibit themselves from renting simply because the contract doesn't allow for multiple people to access the unit.

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