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In my quest for the mobile lifestyle I decided to put my furniture and other large items in storage.  For the most part it is ok. Until I ran into this nightmare. 

 I went to get items yesterday and I saw they put a red lock on the unit.

I called the owner and she said "Look at the door you tell me".  So there was a dent on the door and she haggled me trying to get me to confess to damaging it, but I didn't and she said she would get the camera video to prove it. So I said "Ok" and told her if she had video of me damaging the door either by accident or on purpose I would pay for the damages and to meet me to show the video. She then responds that she will not meet me to show me the video because she will not meet a "Crazy Person" and proceeds to tell me that she will give the video to police and that i must leave the property. She hung up on me and refused to answer the phone again. 

So I called the Police to the storage place and told them the landlord has locked me out of the unit. They were very polite and the officer called her and told her that the damage to the door is a civil matter and she can't file any criminal charges because I'm a paying tenant up to date on payment and have authorization to be there. 

The police looked around the facility and said "I don't see any cameras here" chuckling.  He explained to me to check the lease to see if they have a right to lock me out of a unit for this reason.  He even said the whole thing seems crazy and that anyone could have came in anytime and damaged the door from the outside

From emailing the storage facility owner, she claims on the lease that they have a right to discard all my storage unit items and cancel my lease if they feel that I have damaged the property. This is without any proof or evidence. 

They also claim that they have a right to lock me out of my unit and my valuables if they feel I have damaged their property. This is basically holding my belongings ransom until they get the money.

This ordeal starts to make me wonder if my prized belongings are safe anywhere. Maybe the best thing is to just keep and carry everything you own with you. Putting your valuables in someone else's hands is a huge risk. I actually forgot about most of the items I kept in the storage unit. 

The Police also told me there have been reports of break ins at the storage unit I went to. 

It seems the storage business is a scum business like used cars and Pawn shops.
At this point it's hard to say whether they are all like that, or you just happened to get a psychotic owner.

If I were dealing with this, I would line up another storage facility, then send psycho owner a registered, return receipt requested letter informing him/her that I would be coming by on a certain time and date to remove my property, and if they prevented me from removing it, I would swear out a complaint with the police that they had stolen my property.


PS:  Plan B would be to get a lawyer to write psycho owner a letter threatening legal action, but that costs money and plan A doesn't.
Perhaps you do need a secure place.  Here is an option...

Protect Your Self-Storage Business Like a Hutt: Secure Self-Storage on Tatooine
By Jon Fesmire


[Image: 5d2b0b9f33c954feaf0c6bc78b100cf3?s=160]
We gave you our advice for securing your self-storage business in our article 7 Components of The Best Self-Storage Security.

Now, we take you back a long time ago to a galaxy far, far away. Here are our suggestions for a secure self-storage facility on the extremely dangerous Star Wars planet Tatooine.

# # #
Storage and Security on Tatooine
You could scan or photoshop some lawyer's office letterhead on to a piece of paper. Then write a strongly worded letter threatening legal action. Considering the cost of mounting a defence any sane person would just give you your stuff. Cost to you = $0.
Like the blog. If I ever need storage I'll be sure to think of Tatooine......
What an asshole and a stupid one at that. ANYONE could have accidentally backed into the unit (I assume it is a dent from the outside?) and left with or without knowing. If the dent was from inside, then obviously something fell against the door. Obviously an accident. A sane person would open the door with you and try to determine what happened, and then accept your apology and payment for the inadvertent damage if it was your fault. That is how it is *supposed* to work. You are both victims here.

With your police report and proof of paid rent you have the upper hand. I would contact the owner or corporation that owns the name/brand (is it a franchise?) and try to get relief from them. Seems that storage facilities don't exactly attract the best quality people. Most are very nice, honest people, but many are scumbags one step away from jail. Don't ask me how I know this. If you are dealing with the owner, and it is a private company, not a franchise, then you have other options.

Take a lot of photos. You have every legal right to be on the premises if your rent is current. If your items are worth more than $500, and you have irreplaceable personal items, then file a small claims complaint, and let them have to show up in court and prove you did the damage. Do it fast, as they may act illegally to auction your stuff. Keep an eye out for auction notices. They legally have to auction your goods. This is to prevent unscrupulous landlords from stealing valuable items in this manner.

If I could not get relief, then, If it were me, I would get a ranch key, a lock that matches their redlock, and a can of red paint. I'd paint the lock, cut theirs with the ranch key (A ranch key is a bolt cutter), and with the help of a lot of friends, empty my unit in 5 min. Then close the door, replace the lock with the new red one, and leave. My friends vehicles may look like they are at adjacent units...

About a week later, I'd cancel my contract. they'd end up having to cut the new red lock, but they do have a ranch key. That is just what I would do. That lock is on there for no legal reason, so I would have no issue cutting it off. I will end up in court, perhaps, but my costs will be lower than losing all of my stuff, unless it is junk. I have your items and your police report. I'd Offer to pay the damage I did not cause and I would probably be ordered to pay it and that will be it. I'd Yelp the place with a bad review, call the BBB, and I'd be done. But that is just what I would do.
Finding your copy of the lease would, of course, be very helpful.

However, if what they put in their lease agreement is not lawful in your city, then it would never be upheld even if you signed it. Does your city have a department overseeing housing/landlords that you could talk with? Find out if storage units are covered by tenant protection laws?

You can also threaten to take them to small claims court where in many places you do not need to hire a lawyer. (Depending on the value of your items.) A phone call to your county court system should give you the info you'd need to scare the storage owner. You can also threaten a complaint to the BBB.

I have had mostly good experiences with storage unit places, and I have used at least a handful over my lifetime. One bad one is a locally owned place right in my old hometown. A drunk guy thought my unit was his, cut off my padlock and then left my unit unlocked when he saw it was not his. The storage owner knew the guy... put a different lock on my unit to secure it. He never called me; I only learned of all of that when I tried to open "my" padlock and could not.
Where is this unit located?
Sounds like thieves are running that place. I'd cut the lock late at night, take my stuff, and vamoose. IF they have video, use a different vehicle, tag covered, and wear a disguise. Onus on them to prove you 'stole' your own stuff. Once they notify you of the 'theft', make your own theft report, tie them up in the legal system. Make yourself God's Own Gadfly to them, so they WANT to be rid of you.
couple of thoughts here. most storage places are not very secure. around here in so cal the thieves seem to break in and steal stuff on a regular basis. I used to have storage units but then some one pointed out to me that with the rent you pay it doesn't take long to replace the stuff you have in storage I thought about it got my stuff out and haven't had one since. so unless you have irreplaceable items in storage I would get rid of the stuff. highdesertranger
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