New Self-Storage Lien-Law Bills Introduced in Illinois, Washington

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Legislation has been introduced in Illinois and Washington that, if passed, would change the administering of the lien-law process for self-storage operators in those states. Both measures would allow tenant-delinquency notifications be sent by e-mail, while addressing other aspects of the lien process.

Introduced to the Illinois General Assembly on Feb. 4, Senate Bill 2952 would eliminate the need to use Certified Mail for tenant notifications, adding definitions for “verified mail” and enabling the use of e-mail. Electronic notices would be presumed delivered as long as the operator receives a “receipt of delivery” to the tenant’s last-known e-mail address.

Supported by the Illinois Self Storage Association and the national Self Storage Association (SSA), the bill also would enable operators to advertise lien sales by “commercially reasonable” means other than the local newspaper. As long as three independent bidders attend the auction, the manner of advertising would be deemed commercially reasonable. The measure would also make online auctions permissible.

In Washington, Senate Bill 6331 also would allow tenant notifications be sent by “verified mail” including e-mail, as long as the tenant expressly agrees to receiving e-mail in the rental agreement and other procedural requirements. Operators who do not receive a tenant e-mail reply or receipt of delivery would be required to send a second notice to the renter’s last-known postal address.

Supported by the Washington Self Storage Association and the SSA, the bill would also enable operators to place limitations in rental agreements on the value of stored goods. In the case of a lien sale, the value limit designated on the rental agreement would be considered the maximum value of the stored property. The measure also addresses motor vehicles, including boats, and would enable operators to have vehicles towed after delinquency exceeds 60 days.

The Washington bill passed the Senate Committee on Commerce and Labor on Feb. 7 and was referred to the Rules Committee for a second reading.

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