A bill in Florida that will improve the state’s self-storage lien law overcame two major hurdles this week.
House Bill 459, which revises the notice requirements relating to lien enforcement and addresses limitations on liability, moved through the Civil Justice Subcommittees in the House and Senate. Pressure from newspaper lobbyists required one component of the bill to be removed. “It stalled the bill and threatened its passage,” said Robert Bret, executive director of the Florida Self Storage Association (FSSA). “As soon as we removed this piece from the legislation, the bill was brought back to life and has enjoyed some great traction.”
The Civil Justice Subcommittee considered the bill on April 13, and adopted the amendment. The committee also added provisions relating to the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act.
Senate Bill SB 1772 revises notice requirements, allowing postal notice by First Class Mail with a certificate of mailing as well as e-mail notification. It also deletes provisions relating to advertisement requirements and clarifies provisions relating to the right to create contractual liens or limitations on liability.
Working in conjunction with the national Self Storage Association, the FSSA hired a lobbyist after association members complained about the state’s archaic lien laws, which were costing operators an exorbitant amount and created extra steps to their procedures, Bret said. “For example, an operator would send out a Certified letter, which often came back unsigned, and then would have to reach the customer in various other ways, such as phone calls, e-mail, regular mail, etc.,” he said. “Also, in many remote areas of Florida, there isn’t a significant newspaper publication, and facilities would be required to spend large sums on ads in newspapers that didn’t necessarily reach their specific audience.”
Florida isn’t the only state revisiting self-storage lien laws during this spring’s legislative session. Other states, including Nevada, Illinois and Tennessee, all have lien-law legislation in progress. Just last week, Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper signed into law Senate Bill 11-039, which includes improvements to the state’s lien law for self-storage operators.
Bret is confident Florida’s governor will also soon be signing a new self-storage lien law. “It is an inevitability,” he says.
To view the bill and track its progress, visit www.flsenate.gov/Session/Bill/2011/459.