In the wee hours of this morning, while exhausted Arizona legislators worked to pass a budget, self-storage operators in the state landed a fantastic victory with the passage of HB2435, a bill that amends the notification requirements for self-storage lien sales. Introduced to the legislature by the Arizona Self-Storage Association (AZSA) and spearheaded by attorney Richard Marmor, the bill will save the state’s self-storage operators money by changing the requirement for expensive Certified Mail notices and newspaper advertisements prior to sale.
“We were on a death watch. We were sure we were going to go down in flames,” said Marmor of the days preceding the final vote on the self-storage bill. Tempers in the assembly were running high over issues relating to the state budget. Advocates of HB2435 worried that their cause would be lost in the skirmish.
The support of two key legislators became essential to the bill’s survival: its chief sponsor, Laurin Hendrix (R), a freshman representative, and Barbara Leff (R), a senior senator. “Both stepped to the fore, working to advance the bill,” Marmor said. “Without the support of these two people, this never could have happened.”
As chair of the AZSA’s Legal and Legislative Committee and a member of its board of directors, Marmor has been working to make long-overdue revisions to the statutes that govern the lease and foreclosure activities of Arizona self-storage operations. The bill proposed by AZSA this spring replaces the requirement for sending Certified Mail to tenants in default with one for “verified” mail, which means any method introduced by the United States Postal Service that provides for proof of mailing. The bill also eliminates the requirement of publishing lien notices in local newspapers.
As of this morning, HB2435 is one only 130 bills that have cleared both houses during this session, Marmor said. With more than 1,200 bills on deck, that in itself seems remarkable.
“Both parties were going sideways on our issue by Saturday night,” said Marmor, remembering the apprehension of the weekend. “When we got to COW [Committee of the Whole], things were descending into a morass.” Democrats were disturbed by the loss of the newspaper-publication requirement in the existing statute. The republicans couldn’t understand why self-storage operators would abandon Certified Mail for more modern communication methods.
Very early this morning, in the midst of heated budget debate, about 30 bills were suddenly added to the agenda, including HB2435. The bill passed with only one “no” vote at about 2 a.m.
AZSA hopes the bill will be signed by Gov. Jan Brewer sometime within the next seven days and is not derailed in a festival of vetoing as a result of the continuing budget battle. If the association gets its wish, the bill will go into affect 90 days from sine die.
The complete bill can be viewed at http://www.azleg.gov/legtext/49leg/1r/bills/hb2435h.pdf.
Marmor served three years as the AZSA’s founding president. He lobbies the Arizona Legislature on behalf of self-storage operators throughout the state. He has been in the self-storage business since 1982 and currently works as a consultant to AZSA and individual operators.
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