Do you have a storage locker somewhere because you need a bit of extra space around your home or office?
You may want to think twice about considering one of those brightly colored self-storage facilities you drive by every day. Here are 10 things the owners, managers, and even the residents of those places don’t want you to know…
1. Rodents and insects can easily make a home in your storage unit
One of the most complained about things in any self-storage facility are rodent or insect infestations…gross. While the items you put in your storage unit don’t seem like they’d be interesting to our furry little friends, or their insect counterparts – they most certainly are. Those old magazines, wooden headboards, stuffed animal collections, or the other items you have in storage can easily become cozy homes and amazing playground areas for all different kinds of creepy crawlies. Don’t believe us? Check out this story from Orlando, Florida where one resident found rodent droppings in their bread box…yuck!
It may be hard to believe, but if you find any rodent or insect infestations in your unit self-storage insurance most likely won’t reimburse or cover any of the costs to fix or replace your damaged items. Don’t believe us? In most cases, like this one here, self-storage locations absolve themselves from the responsibilities of rodent infestation by blaming it on what you store in your unit. They don’t take responsibility for any part of it. Even if you don’t store perishable items, it doesn’t mean that you won’t be impacted from your neighbor storing something they shouldn’t have.
2. Industry studies show 10% of self-storage units are broken into and burglarized
Yep, you read that correctly. That’s 1 out of every 10 units are broken into. If your average storage location has 300 units, 30 of those will be broken into; and that’s just an average. Some locations, depending on their surroundings, get broken into at a much higher frequency. Newspaper articles or online stories about self-storage burglaries are nothing new, but this story seemed particularly outrageous, so we thought we would share it here for you.
There’s also this story, from Atlanta, in which four individuals were actually running their theft ring from the inside of a storage-unit. It just goes to show, you never know who could be renting the storage-unit next to yours.
3. Your insurance coverage is capped and the fine print relieves the self-storage owner from most liability
Be careful when putting highly valuable items in your storage-unit. Typically self-storage companies will use confusing language and only provide you with the minimum required insurance needed for them to operate. So you may want to rethink storing your irreplaceable or nostalgic valuables. There are many stories where prized possessions have been lost, stolen, damaged in a fire, by rodents, or by water and because of line-items in the fine print, the self-storage company will only reimburse you pennies on the dollar for any damages or destroyed valuables.
4. No desire to improve or care for the facilities in an ongoing manner
Did you know that self-storage facilities are a real estate driven business? With their high returns and low operating costs owners often only hold on to their storage-facility until the land it’s sitting on is worth much more than the facility itself. As a result the owners of these facilities rarely care about customers, or their belongings, and have no desire to improve the facilities beyond the state that they’re already in.
While this article is from 2010, the facts presented within the article are still very true today. 9 times out of 10, these businesses are created for the sole purpose of holding the underlying real estate. The expectation is that you will keep paying higher and higher rates for the same lackluster storage solution while the owners make no effort to improve their facilities and are just waiting to cash out!
5. Self-storage facilities can be a hotbed for illegal and criminal activity
Fan of the tv show Breaking Bad? Regardless of if you are or aren’t, we doubt you would want to store your precious family heirlooms right next to someone who was cooking up something illegal. While self-storage facilities generally have cameras, they are often unmanned at any given time giving would-be criminals a great opportunity to get into a dark, secure location without being noticed.
The legal website FindLaw.com put together an article about some of the weirdest and most unbelievable crimes committed at or around self-storage facilities. Some of their stories are too crazy to believe until you read them with your own eyes. Check out the original article at FindLaw.com here.
6. 245,356 searches are done every day online about how to live in a storage locker, do you really want to deal with keeping your things somewhere people are doing that?
People are resourceful. So much so that there are more than a quarter of a million searches PER DAY done on how to live, work, or reside inside of a storage-unit. Everything from elaborate set ups, like this viral one seen on Gizmodo, to people using their storage-unit as an office. Storage-units are used for all kinds of things they shouldn’t be… Odds are that you don’t want someone living or near your stuff on a regular basis like that. Talk about creepy!
Although someone actually living in their storage-unit doesn’t happen as often as the media might want you to think, it still does happen fairly often. Even the idea of people trying to find a loophole so they can live in the place where you store your valuables should make you consider a different storage solution!
7. Checked your storage bill lately? You can expect rate increases to happen twice a year, on average.
Self-storage owners are just waiting for their big real-estate payout, but until that happens they figure they can increase your bill on a regular basis, sometimes without you even noticing, if you auto-pay each month. Owners believe that their customers are too lazy to move, and most cases they’re right even though many better options for storage exist.
These rate increases are so expected and regulated that self-storage companies often schedule when and by how much their rates should increase based off of internal industry guidelines. This article posted on a self-storage blog for facility owners or managers explains exactly how to raise rates, when to raise rates, and how little their customers will care. If you’ve noticed your rate increasing little by little throughout the year, you can at least rest assured it’s happening to everyone, not just you! But you may want to find a new solution before your next, inevitable rate increase.
8. Water damage is a frequent occurrence because of poor facility maintenance and improper storage techniques
Storing some old magazines, newspapers from when your kids were born, or other items you wouldn’t want to get water damaged? When this self-storage facility in New Jersey flooded a few years ago, all of the customer’s items were destroyed and there was virtually nothing he could do about it. Water damage is hard to reverse, and water issues are always unpredictable but spotting gaping holes in your storage-facility or unit is easy! If you spot anything concerning, it would be best to get out before your items are damaged or ruined.
When you think of moisture what comes to mind? Aside from water, mold and mildew always make the top of our list. If there’s any bit of moisture in your home, office, or storage-unit, it’s critical to get your items completely dry before storing them to prevent the mold from spreading to all of your items. Speed is your friend when it comes to detecting and absolving mold, Sparefoot has some great advice here on how you can avoid or fix your mold situation before it’s too late!
9. You do not have control over what is stored in other units in your self- storage facility
You may do a good job following the rules at your storage facility, by keeping your unit clean and by making frequent visits to ensure your items are safe and not damaged – but that doesn’t mean that everyone at your self-storage facility is doing the same! Dead people, smelly items, occupied coffins or worse are just some of the creepy things that your neighbors may be storing right next to you in one of those “unregulated” storage facilities.
These storage facilities often have an owner, facility managers, and other workers “on-site”, but they usually appear to be away from their desk or busy making these types of facilities an ideal place to hide something. You just hope that what someone is hiding isn’t a dead body. The only person that can go inside your storage unit is you. That’s why it took one family 17 years to realize that their loved one was never buried, but actually just left in another family members’ storage-unit. Imagine the smells coming out of that locker!
Although it doesn’t happen too often, we occasionally hear stories like these where unexpecting storage auction winners get a bit more than they bargained for.