Thursday, February 23, 2012

Why can't we go in the units, or see inside the boxes?

Why can’t we see what’s in the boxes? That’s a question we hear at storage auctions. At Schur Success Auction & Appraisal, we want you to understand WHY we do what we do.

There’s a fairly simple answer to that question. Self Storage facilities would really rather not go to auction. They would much prefer that people pay their bills. Unfortunately not everyone can or will pay their bill. When that happens, the management exercises their rights to place a lien on the contents of the unit until the bill is paid. When that fails, the management must go to auction to recover their losses.

In Colorado, and in many states, the management company must conduct a limited inventory of each unit that has been seized under the lien laws. The inventory is a good idea, and it’s a great way to protect the manager from any claims by the renter that things were stolen or damaged. To further protect themselves from these claims, the managers will conduct their inventory from the threshold without ever entering the unit. They record only what they see from outside the unit. There are exceptions of course, but they are very rare and must be documented properly.

The bottom line is simple… If management never entered the unit at all, the renter will have a difficult time claiming that something was stolen or damaged. It’s that simple. We follow that principle. If managers are entering the unit for any reason, they had better have a pretty good reason or they’re facing serious trouble. If we suspect that managers are going into units, we won’t conduct their auctions.

For many of our clients, we supply a team member to help conduct the inventory. We witness the unit being opened, inventoried, and then locked up again. We will then add an orange lock-out tag to reassure you that the inventory was conducted properly.

For the customers who don’t use our inventory services, we are familiar with their processes and are confident that they follow protocol and do not enter the units. This is the same reason we don’t open boxes or allow anyone into the units until they have been paid for. If no one ever entered the unit, there can be no legitimate claim that something was stolen or damaged. Once the unit is sold and paid for, that concern goes away.

 Questions? Give us a call. (866) 290-2243.


Anonymous said...

it was my understanding that, when a unit was seized for non payment, it became the property of the storage facility, who could go and take and keep all or nothing of the storaged items. They do not have use for all the items, so they sell the items, to help recover their loses. I have seen facilities have huge yard sales and sell the recovered items, most have auctions, and take less money, because its faster and less work.

Rich Schur said...

Colorado law does not require an auction, it simply requires that the owner "sell or otherwise dispose of"... The actual language in the statute is quoted here:

"The lien attaches as of the date the personal property is brought to the self-service storage facility and continues so long as the owner retains possession and until the default is corrected, or a sale is conducted, or the property is otherwise disposed of to satisfy the lien."

Although the law does not require an auction, industry standards of practice, and civil case law frown on other methods.

Renters who have their items sold have a right to receive the fair market value for their goods. By not conducting an auction, such as the auctions we conduct, owners and operators face massive civil suits, and have very little defense to the question "why didn't you use a professional auctioneer".

Simply put, conducting a public auction, without ever entering the unit, recovers the greatest fair market value, and provides the highest level of protection for the facility.

Rich Schur
Schur Success Auction & Appraisal.

Anonymous said...

Why do they go through the charade of bolt-cutting - or grinding - the lock off then, if they've already investigated/gone-through-it?

Makes me think that there is nothing of value worth bidding on, if management has already raided the unit (or at least is under the suspicion of raiding it under the guise of "inventorying"

Your thoughts?

Rich Schur said...

Now you have lost me. As I explained, the locks are cut when the inventory is conducted, as required by law. When the inventory is conducted, NO ONE ENTERS the unit or touches anything.

Once the inventory is complete, the unit is locked by management and sealed with a tag.

If this procedure is not being followed, we don't sell for them. The units have NOT BEEN GONE THROUGH.

If you're watching the TV shows where they grind the locks at the auction, you have to remember that these shows are NOT in Colorado, and may be subject to different laws and rules.

No auctioneer with any integrity would sell units if the manager has "gone through them".

Anonymous said...

I thank you for the reply.

I've no reason to doubt you or your business, friend. I was just under the assumption that management and the bidders viewed all storage lots as a surprise to both.

Had no idea that some States allow an opening of the unit prior to the bidders seeing it.