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Hawaii Governor Signs Update to Self-Storage Lien Law

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Hawaii Gov. David Y. Ige signed an update to the state’s self-storage lien law on July 11 that enables storage operators to communicate with tenants via e-mail, advertise lien sales in a place other than the local newspaper, conduct auctions online, place value limits on stored items and have motor vehicles towed, with certain stipulations. Senate Bill 288 (SB 288) passed through the house and senate with just one “no” vote. It went into effect with the governor’s signature.

Similar to other recent state lien-law updates, the Hawaii measure allows self-storage operators to advertise auctions in a “commercially reasonable manner” other than the local newspaper as long as three independent bidders participate in the sale. Delinquency notifications now include e-mail, but communications must also be sent via regular mail. Certified Mail is still required but only on final notification informing the tenant of the sale.

Auctions may be held online as long as they’re done through a website that “customarily conducts self-storage lien sales,” according to the new language. The new law also allows storage operators to place a maximum value of stored contents based on limits expressed in rental agreements, as long as the provision is presented in bold type and underlined, and the limit isn’t lower than $1,000.

SB 288 also allows operators to have stored boats and motor vehicles towed after default reaches 60 days, but tenants must be notified by Certified Mail and e-mail at least 15 days before the vehicle is removed. The communication must include the name and full contact information of the towing company.

The measure was supported by the national Self Storage Association (SSA). "Unfortunately we were unable to get the vehicle-removal provision or the safe-harbor protection for late fees," Erin King, executive director of the California Self Storage Association and a special assistant to the SSA’s government-relations team, said in a July 17 e-mail newsletter to SSA members. "It takes a lot of time and effort to bring everyone up to speed. We had great lobbyists who worked tirelessly on our behalf, but you only have so much time to educate the members and pass the bills."

King testified on two bills this year during Hawaii's legislative session. A measure addressing tenant insurance stalled in the senate, according to the newsletter.

Hawaii doesn’t have a state self-storage association.

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