To help consumers make smart choices regarding self-storage, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) recently released guidelines on seven factors related to renting storage units: cost, unit size, climate, insurance, security, rental agreement and access.
The BBB received more than 1,000 consumer complaints last year regarding self-storage facilities. Among the most common issues were the inability of customers to access their units after paying a deposit, damage to items stored inside units and theft of belongings being stored. The BBB did not say how many of the complaints were valid or what percentage were resolved amicably with facilities. It does, however, recommend consumers shop carefully before putting items into storage.
For example, when it comes to understanding prices, the BBB recommends consumers get estimates from at least three self-storage facilities and inquire about a range of possible fees, including monthly rents and duration minimums; costs associated with preparation, padding, packing or transportation; and options like pest control and tenant insurance.
The BBB advises potential renters to consider climate-controlled units if they live in an environment that could subject belongings to mold or water damage and encourages customers to purchase tenant insurance either through the self-storage facility or as part of their existing homeowners’ coverages.
Among other considerations, the BBB recommends customers inquire about after-hour contact in case of an emergency, onsite security, extended-hour access and related fees, unit packing restrictions, and ease of access to units with a car or truck. The organization also encourages customers obtain everything regarding their agreement and the facility in writing, including any chosen options and payment terms.
The organization also advises customers to stay current with payments to avoid contract violations and the possibility of losing their property to auction.