Self-Storage Lien-Law Bill Stalls in Massachusetts Legislature

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A Massachusetts bill that would update the state’s self-storage lien-law procedures has stalled in the legislature. Lawmakers ended their formal session last week without a floor vote on Senate Bill 2297, which would allow tenant e-mail notifications, advertising of auctions in a “commercially reasonable manner” other than the local newspaper, liability limitations and other provisions.

The lack of a vote was a blow to lobbying efforts by the Massachusetts Self Storage Association (MASSA) and national Self Storage Association (SSA). “News last week that the Massachusetts formal legislative session ended without a floor vote on SB 2297, which included improvements to the state's lien requirements, was a discouraging development to an initiative that the SSA and MASSA have been pursuing for several years,” SSA officials said in the association’s weekly e-mail newsletter.

The measure, formerly Senate Bill 183, was referred favorably last November by the Committee on Economic Development and Emerging Technologies and had recently “received buy-in from the attorney general’s office,” SSA officials said. Issues such as gun control, environmental bonds and housing authorities took precedence at the end of the legislative session, but “there still is a slight chance that informal sessions in Boston could provide the self-storage sector with this long-awaited victory,” according to the newsletter.

The bill would allow operators to place limitations in rental agreements on the value of stored goods. The limit specified on the lease would be considered the maximum value of the tenant’s stored property. Operators would also be able to impose monthly late fees equal to the greater of $20 or 20 percent of monthly rent.

The bill also addresses motor vehicles and would enable operators to have vehicles belonging to delinquent tenants towed after 60 days.

Formed in 1998, MASSA is a nonprofit organization of facility owners and operators designed to strengthen the self-storage industry in Massachusetts. It aims to promote professional standards and quality, and present a unified voice on issues affecting the industry in the commonwealth and its communities.

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