In states throughout the union, there has been a concerted effort (often orchestrated by the national Self Storage Assocation) to try to reform and update laws that affect the self-storage industry. The goal is to get lawmakers to enact policy that is cost-effective for facility operators and simply more sensible all around. The effort particularly focuses on lien statutes, additional sales taxes on self-storage and state-run operations. For example, here are a few of the key questions that drive the policy effort:
- Why is Certified Mail a required notification method, when registered mail or an e-mail (if the tenant chooses) could work just as well?
- Why must lien auctions be advertised in newspapers, when they could be advertised in other places for less cost but just as much readership?
- Why would self-storage be subject to a special, separate sales tax? Is there any compelling reason to punish self-storage consumers and operators (who inevitably bear some of the burden of the tax)?
- Why is a state government (Idaho) allowed to set up a self-storage business to compete with the private sector?
Trying to get answers to these questionsand then pushing to reform laws that don't make senseare key roles of state associations. But what is your state association doing to protect your interests? This is the central question behind a new discussion thread on Self-Storage Talk, the industry's largest online forum: "Your State Association and Lobbying" What are your association's objectives and its next big lobbying push? Which issues will be easy to get legislative support, and which ones will be uphill battles? This issues are particularly important for multi-state operators, but everyone can benefit by staying abreast of the state legislative issues that affect the industry.
While I'm on the topic, here are states that have in the past year succeeded in updating their lien laws (please add to the list on the forum if I missed one):
- Rhode Island
States with lien-law updates in the works:
In California last July, legislation to ease burdens on operators that passed in 2010 was reversed, thanks to an aggressive lobby from the newspaper industry.
To join in the SST conversation about lobbying, you'll need to be a registered member of the site. But registration is free, easy and can be done by visiting www.selfstoragetalk.com and clicking on "register."