When you rent a self storage unit, you sign a contract that states if you fail to pay your storage rent, the storage facility can then take over your belongings and sell everything at auction. Many people are on the lookout for such auctions, because they are able to get a lot of good stuff to re-sell at swap meets and consignment stores. Here is what you should know about storage unit auctions and how to avoid this from happening to your own stuff.
Failure to Pay Storage Rent
The storage unit auction process usually begins when you fail to pay your storage rent. Many facilities will give you a certain number of days or weeks to make the payment and save your belongings. However, some of them do not send warning notices, so it is important to stay on top of it. If you know you won't be able to pay the storage rent on time, contact the storage facility right away and let them know what is going on. They might be able to work something out with you.
Once the rent is late, the storage facility has the right to continue with the legal proceedings to put it up for auction, as per your contract. They need to go through several steps in order to have the legal right to auction off what is inside the storage unit. In many states, there are stipulations that say the storage company does have to send a certain number of warning letters letting you know you are at risk of losing your belongings.
How the Auction Works
Instead of auctioning off the individual items that are inside your storage unit, the storage facility will keep the door closed and advertise the auction. The person bidding will be bidding on an entire storage unit of stuff, but they have no idea what the contents are. There could be nothing but a few boxes of clothing that is worthless, or have thousands of dollars of electronics. This is where the big risk comes in for people bidding. Many people make a living by bidding on storage units and selling the stuff they find.
You may be given a date and time to show up and pay your past due rent as a last chance act. If you do not show up, the storage facility can continue with the auction. People bid for the storage unit, and the final and highest bid wins whatever is inside.
The Winning Bidder
The person who bid the highest wins the storage unit's contents and must pay cash the same day to the storage facility. They may be instructed to remove the items from the storage unit the same day, though some give them a few days to remove all of the items
If you are at risk of losing your belongings, do not hesitate to contact the storage facility. They are often willing to work with you and accept partial or late payments so you don't lose your stuff.