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Self-Storage Legislation Passes in Arkansas, Montana

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The governors in Arkansas and Montana have signed new self-storage legislation into law. Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson signed two bills in March, with one addressing the disposal of sensitive documents left by delinquent tenants and another regarding the sales of abandoned vehicles. Last week, Montana Gov. Steve Bullock enacted updates to the state’s Self-Storage Facilities Act that allow e-mail communication with tenants and public notification of lien sales in a “commercially reasonable manner” other than a newspaper. The measures were supported by the national Self Storage Association (SSA).

In Arkansas, House Bill 1585 enables self-storage operators to destroy sensitive documents left behind by delinquent tenants that contain personal data related to bank accounts, credit cards, medical information, passports and Social Security. Operators can enter a storage unit explicitly to inspect for sensitive documents as long as the unit has been in default for longer than 45 days, according to the measure. Meanwhile, House Bill 2158, allows operators to sell abandoned vehicles in accordance with established state statutes.

In Montana, House Bill 402 is a comprehensive revision to the state’s self-storage lien law. It establishes that operators may enforce a lien if tenants are in default for more than 60 days and advertise the auction outside of the local newspaper. It also allows operators to set late fees of $20 or 20 percent of the monthly rent due, whichever is greater, and remove abandoned vehicles when tenants exceed 60 days of delinquency. Operators may also communicate with tenants via e-mail.

“Fifteen states are still in play with storage legislation, but with many legislatures concluding their regular sessions in the next month or so, more results from the 2017 effort should be in soon,” SSA officials said in a May 1 e-mail newsletter to its members.

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