Two bills that will improve the lien law for self-storage operators in the state of Florida have been filed in the House and Senate and will be heard in committee hearings next week. The national Self Storage Association (SSA) and Florida Self Storage Association (FSSA) have been working or three years to improve and modernize the state's self-storage legislation. The current statute was established in 1979.
Senate Bill 646 and House Bill 715 are sponsored by Sen. Steve Wise (R-Jacksonville) and Rep. Matt Caldwell (R-Fort Myers).
The Florida Legislature convened this week for its 60-day session. The FSSA expects its bill to be heard in the House committee on Jan. 18 and the Senate committee on Jan. 19. The association is meeting with committee members to secure support for the bills. The SSA will testify during the Senate committee hearing.
If passed, the proposed legislation will accomplish the following:
- Allow a tenant to provide a change of address to the facility using First Class Mail or e-mail. Currently, a tenant must hand deliver his address-change notice or send it via Certified Mail.
- Allow a “Notification of Default” to a tenant be sent using First Class Mail with a Certificate of Mailing or e-mail, provided receipt of the e-mail by the tenant is verified. Currently, these notices must be hand delivered or sent via Certified Mail.
- Require that self-storage rental contracts or applications ask whether a person is in the military. By knowing which tenants serve in the military, he can extend to them protections against lien-sale proceedings according to the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act.
A Certificate of Mailing was not available through the United States Postal Service when the current Florida lien law was created. This mailing product costs only $1.15 compared to $2.80 for Certified Mail, allowing self-storage operators to save money when sending notifications. In addition, customers—particularly military personnel—can sometimes be reached more readily by e-mail than the postal service, according to the FSSA.
In an e-mail sent this week from FSSA President Michael Mele, the association asked that members and other state self-storage operators directly contact state legislators to show support for the bills. The association is also soliciting contributions for the legislative campaign. If the proposed changes are passed, the average Florida self-storage facility will save hundreds of dollars in lien-law expenses, Mele wrote. Donations can be made at www.floridassa.org/donate.asp.
The Florida bills are among 12 working their way through various state legislatures as the early-year sessions are underway, according to the SSA.