Last Friday Illinois Governor Pat Quinn signed into law the new Illinois Self Service Storage Facility Act, which includes several improvements for the state’s self-storage operations. The new law went into effect immediately and was signed just three days before the governor’s deadline to act. Senate Bill 1394 (SB1394), now published as Public Act 097-0599, passed unanimously in the House of Representatives as well as the Senate in late May.
The Illinois Self Storage Association (ISSA), with support from the national Self Storage Association and lobby firm Cook-Witter, worked diligently to see the bill passed. SB1394 was sponsored by Senator Mike Jacobs and House Majority Leader Joseph M. Lyons.
Changes effected as part of the new legislation include:
- Self-storage operators can now send lien notices by First-Class Mail with certificate of mailing instead of more expensive Certified Mail.
- Operators are no longer required to include a general description of the personal property subject to the lien in their lien-sale notices.
- The law now clearly states that no bailment or higher level of liability is established when a self-storage operator overlocks a unit belonging to a delinquent tenant.
- Though newspaper advertising is still required for lien sales, less information is required to be in those ads including the facility name, address and phone number; the date, time, location and manner of the lien sale; and the occupant's name and unit number.
- Facility operators are now able, without liability, to tow vehicles to a towing pound after rent for the vehicle space remains unpaid for at least 60 days.
- A minimum of three bidders must be present at a lien sale for it to be deemed “commercially reasonable.”
- The limitation of value on personal property stored in a unit is restricted to what is stated in the facility’s rental agreement.
- A reasonable late fee is considered the greater of $20 or 20 percent of the total monthly rental fee.
- The operator may charge a delinquent tenant for any additional reasonable fees incurred in the conduction of a lien sale.
- Any proceeds from a lien sale that exceed the amount owed by the tenant must be kept for only one year instead of two.
The ISSA plans to host a webinar on the full implementation of the law and what facility owners must do to make sure they comply with the new regulation. A copy of the new law can be found at www.insideselfstorage.com/lien-laws.aspx.