Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval recently signed an amended version of the state’s self-storage lien law (Assembly Bill 182) that enables self-storage facility operators to notify tenants about impending lien procedures via e-mail, assess late fees and deny access to tenants in default after 10 days. The Nevada Self Storage Association (NVSSA) and national Self Storage Association have been working with lawmakers since last December to update the law, which goes into effect Oct. 1.
Under the new lien law, tenant notifications may be sent by verified mail or e-mail. If an operator does not receive confirmation of an e-mail, then a second notice must be sent by verified mail to the last known address of the tenant, according to the language of the bill. The verbiage does not explicitly detail what delivery confirmation of an e-mail entails.
“The passage of A.B. 182 closed a potential loophole created by the legislature in our first bill in 2011,” said Travis M. Morrow, secretary/treasurer of the NVSSA. “Now an operator can send an e-mail notification to a tenant during the lien process. If they get confirmation of receipt, they do not need to pay for any additional postage, if they didn’t send the notice via verified mail.”
The ability to send e-mail lien notifications could potentially save operators a lot of money in postage, said Morrow, who is also vice president and designated Arizona real estate broker for National Self Storage Management Inc. (NSS), which operates the National Self Storage Alliance, a not-for-profit marketing cooperative that allows independent self-storage operators to unite under the NSS brand. “Using e-mail as the primary way to communicate with customers in the lien process could save [operators] hundreds a month in postage, provided they get confirmation of receipt,” he said. “Every confirmed e-mail saves them more than a dollar.”
The new law will also effectively close what Morrow called the “free month loophole,” which gave defaulted tenants more time before access to property was cut off. “Operators are now able by law to deny tenants access to their units after charges remain unpaid for 10 days,” he said. “Operators need to know that late fees are now capped at 20 percent of one month’s rent or $20, whichever is greater.”
The lien law also repeals the current requirement that storage owners formally evict someone who has taken up residence inside a unit. “We’ve successfully done away with the cumbersome eviction process that is currently in place for removing a tenant that is using the unit as a residence,” Morrow said. “Operators can now follow basic trespassing laws to have them removed.”
Nevada joins Connecticut, Georgia, Maryland and Oregon as the most recent states to update their self-storage lien laws. Legislative activity has been busy through the first five months of 2013, with at least 14 states making progress toward updating self-storage regulations.