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New Self-Storage Lien Laws Go Into Effect July 1 in Idaho, Mississippi, Tennessee

Update 6/30/20 – Idaho and Mississippi have also passed legislation that will update their respective self-storage lien laws on July 1. Both measures include language that bring them in line with other recent updates across the nation that address lien-sale notifications, value limitations, unit-access restriction, late fees, online auctions and other provisions.

In Idaho, Gov. Brad Little signed Senate Bill 1264 (SB 1264) on March 16, providing the state’s first self-storage regulatory update in more than 30 years, according to a June 29 newsletter sent by the national Self Storage Association (SSA) to its members. The new law differentiates self-storage from warehousing and allows operators to place value limits on stored contents, deny unit access to delinquent tenants, hold lien sales online, and tow tenant-stored vehicles if delinquency exceeds 60 days. Operators will also be allowed to impose late fees of $20 or 20 percent of monthly rent, whichever is greater.

Lien-sale advertisements must still be published in a newspaper of general circulation within the self-storage operator’s local county, though Idaho lawmakers reduced that requirement to a single placement. Lien notifications can now be sent to tenants via methods other than Certified Mail, providing the alternative is spelled out in the rental agreement; though the law doesn’t list what those methods are.

SB 1264 was supported by the SSA and its local affiliate, the Idaho Self Storage Association, a nonprofit committed to strengthening and enhancing the self-storage industry in the state through education, networking opportunities and lobbying efforts.

In Mississippi, Gov. Tate Reeves signed House Bill 1138 (HB 1138) on June 25. It includes similar provisions as the Idaho law regarding value limits, unit access, late fees and vehicle towing. In addition, HB 1138 allows operators to send lien notifications via verified mail instead of Certified Mail. Email notices are permitted as long as the provision is accepted by the tenant in the rental agreement. Operators may now hold lien auctions online. Lien sales will be considered commercially reasonable as long as three independent bidders attend.

The SSA lobbied for the bill’s passage.

6/22/20Senate Bill (SB) 543, which updates the self-storage lien law in Tennessee and was signed by Governor Bill Lee last week, goes into effect on July 1. The new legislation changes the notification requirements for industry lien sales. In addition, facility operators will now be able to hold and advertise their auctions online, according to a press release issued by the Tennessee Self Storage Association.

Currently, self-storage operators must advertise lien sales through a newspaper of general circulation. Under the new law, auctions will be deemed commercially reasonable as long as at least three potential bidders participate in the sale. “Of course, newspaper advertising would still be permissible, but the new law removes the mandate of the old law that required the use of newspaper advertising,” TNSSA officials said.

The law also authorizes self-storage owners to contact county clerks to determine ownership and any lienholder for motor vehicles left inside a storage unit.

The update was introduced to the assembly in February 2019, along with companion House Bill 1073. SB 543 passed the house 94-1 on March 12 before passing the senate unanimously on June 4. Lee signed it into law on June 15.

The TNSSA lobbied for the bill’s passage. It was sponsored by Sen. Todd Gardenhire. The companion house bill was sponsored by Rep. Susan Lynn.

Serving Tennessee self-storage professionals for 13 years, TNSSA provides information on issues such as lien laws, property taxes and other concerns faced by facility operators. It also provides educational opportunities and access to industry publications. TNSSA has been affiliated with the national Self Storage Association since 2007.

Idaho Legislature, Senate Bill 1264
Mississippi Legislature, House Bill 1138
SSA Magazine Weekly 6/29/20, Major Lien Law Changes in Mississippi, Tennessee, Idaho on July 1

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