California Self Storage Association Works to Educate Court Officials on Lien-Sale Matters

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The California Self Storage Association (CSSA) will be working with the Education Division of the Judicial Council of California’s Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) to better inform court officials about the expanded authority in self-storage lien matters provided to the state's small-claims courts. The newly granted powers are the result of amendments to the Business and Professions Code, Section 21710. The education effort will include but not be limited to training programs and educational materials for small-claims judicial officers and temporary judges.

CSSA officials contacted the Judicial Council of California on April 2 after receiving reports that many small-claims judges and commissioners in California were unaware of their expanded authority to hear self-storage lien suits. Enacted in 2010 as part of the revised Assembly Bill 655, the amendments clarify that California small-claims courts have jurisdiction over and the authority to grant judgments on contested self-storage liens.

In a letter to the CSSA dated May 4, Anne M. Ronan, an attorney with the AOC, agrees that effective Jan. 1, 2011, parties may file in small-claims court to enforce liens under the Self-Service Storage Facilities Act. Ronan states that she will work with the AOC’s Education Division to make sure small-claims courts’ judicial officers are better educated about the changes.

“When we heard from our members that they were being turned away when taking their Declaration in Opposition to Lien Sale cases to small-claims court, we knew that we had to take action,” said Erin King, CSSA executive director. King added some of the courts had not yet received the communication on the legislation. “We will be loading a copy of the response letter (from Ronan) into our online store so that our members can print it and take it with them to court. We recommend this letter be a part of any legal documents being taken to small-claims court.”

Founded in 2002, the CSSA is dedicated to serving the California self-storage owners, operators, facility managers and vendors. The association represents more than 450 direct member companies that own and operate more than 1,200 facilities. Direct members range from individual facility owner-operators to multiple-facility operations to publicly traded real estate investment trusts.

In 2011, CSSA was the winner of the Inside Self-Storage "Best of Business" award for the self-storage association category.

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