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Texas Governor Signs Optional Towing Bill Into Law for Self-Storage Operators

September 14, 2021

2 Min Read
Texas Governor Signs Optional Towing Bill Into Law for Self-Storage Operators

Update 9/14/21 – The Texas Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) has published detailed guidelines for transferring self-storage tenant property to a licensed vehicle-storage facility (VSF) under SB 1181. Once the towing conditions outlined in the measure are met, vehicles can be transferred to a VSF 15 days after the notice of claim is sent to the delinquent tenant by verified mail.

Prior to releasing possession of a vehicle, the self-storage operator must also supply the VSF with supporting documentation, according to a Sept. 13 newsletter emailed to SSA members. This includes:

  • A copy of the tenant’s signed rental agreement, which should include authorization for VSF to take possession of the vehicle

  • Proof the notice of claim was sent to the tenant

  • A completed and signed “Self-Service Storage Facility Lien Foreclosure” form

Once the VSF takes possession of a vehicle, it must follow the statutory lien-foreclosure requirements outlined in the state’s Occupations Code, according to the DMV.

6/15/21 – Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed Senate Bill 1181 last month, giving self-storage operators another option to reclaim their space if a tenant fails to pay their rent. Now, rather than sell a customer’s stored goods via lien sale, facility managers can arrange to tow certain items from the property. The law goes into effect Sept. 1, according to a June 14 newsletter emailed to Self Storage Association (SSA) members this week.

If a self-storage tenant is in default and the property subject to lien is a motorboat, motor vehicle, outboard motor, semitrailer, trailer or vessel, the facility operator may have the item towed if three conditions are met. First, towing must be expressly authorized in the written rental agreement; second, the tenant must fail pay within an allotted time after the operator provides the lien notice; and third, the towing company must agree in writing to accept possession of the property. Storage operators who don’t already have “expressly authorize towing” in their rental agreements are encouraged to add it.

The annotated Texas Lien Law, which explains the amendments in depth, will soon be available on the SSA website at selfstorage.org. The bill was supported by the SSA and the Texas Self Storge Association (TSSA).

The SSA represents about 22,000 U.S. and international member-affiliated self-storage facilities, according to its website. It’s allied with several state and international self-storage associations and has about 6,000

Established in 1986, the TSSA is a nonprofit trade association dedicated to enhancing the quality of the self-storage industry in Texas. It provides opportunities for members to increase their knowledge through education, research and discussion.

Sources:
SSA Magazine Weekly 9/13/21, Texas DMV Provides Guidance on New Towing and Transfer Law
Texas DMV, Registration and Title Bulletin #002-21 Policy and Procedure
SSA Magazine Weekly 6/14/21, Texas Governor Greg Abbott Signs Optional Towing Bill Into Law

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