Handling Property Damage
As a self storage owner, you’re no stranger to daily problems and challenges. Angry tenants, unreliable staff, and unexpected mechanical failures can give you major headaches. Your problem-solving skills are put to the test more often than not. There is one issue, however, that is more problematic than most. Handling property damage caused by tenants can be a huge mess, both financially and logistically.
That’s why it’s crucial to have strategies in place to handle these situations. From implementing strict lease agreements to conducting regular inspections it’s important to follow best practices. The safety of your investment is at stake.
While preventive measures can minimize the risk of property damage, the right insurance coverage can protect your investment. Consider implementing a policy that requires tenants to carry personal insurance coverage. This can provide an additional layer of protection for both the tenant and your facility.
Another vital consideration is a tenant protection plan. A Storage Shield tenant protection plan protects against fire, water, and much more. It’s not insurance, but a contract between you, the facility owner, and the tenant. It provides an extra layer of protection against a huge financial impact.
Common Property Damage Caused By Tenants
By identifying these causes, you can implement targeted strategies to minimize the risk. Here are some of the most common causes of property damage by self-storage tenants:
Improperly Stored Items
Tenants may fail to properly pack and store their belongings, leading to damage. Excessively heavy items may be stacked in an unstable manner, causing wall collapses and damage to neighboring units.
Self storage tenants may accidentally cause fires, floods, or pest infestations by storing prohibited items and failing to follow proper procedures.
Some tenants may remove walls, install unauthorized electrical wiring, or create makeshift living spaces. Modifying units without permission can lead to compromising the structural safety of the facility.
Handling Property Damage Incidents Caused By Tenants
When faced with tenant-inflicted property damage, it’s crucial to handle it promptly and efficiently. Here is a step-by-step guide to handling property damage incidents caused by self-storage tenants:
Assess the Damage
Document the affected units and items, taking photographs or videos as evidence. This documentation will be crucial when filing insurance claims or pursuing legal action.
Notify the Tenant
Contact the tenant responsible for the damage and inform them of the incident. Provide them with details of the damage and explain the next steps. It’s essential to remain calm and professional during these conversations. Keep your focus on finding a resolution.
Keep detailed records of all communication with the tenant regarding the property damage incident. This includes phone calls, emails, texts, and any written correspondence. These records can be valuable if legal action becomes necessary.
Notify the Insurance Company
If you have insurance coverage, notify your insurance company of the property damage incident. Provide them with all the necessary documentation, and follow their instructions for filing a claim. Promptly submitting the claim can expedite the resolution process.
Coordinate repairs with qualified professionals. Obtain multiple quotes and select a reputable contractor to restore the damaged units. Keep all documentation related to the repairs for insurance purposes.
Follow Up With the Tenant
After repairs are completed, follow up with the tenant responsible for the damage. Inspect the unit together and ensure that repairs are satisfactory. Address any concerns or issues they may have to maintain a positive tenant relationship. If the renter has storage insurance or a tenant protection plan, check with the proper agencies to determine coverage.
Legal Considerations of Self Storage Facility Owners
As a self-storage facility owner, it’s critical to seek legal advice. Your attorney can determine your specific rights and responsibilities outlined by the law.
Here are some key legal considerations to keep in mind:
The lease agreement is a legally binding contract between you and the tenant. It outlines the rights and responsibilities of both parties regarding the use of the storage unit. Ensure that your lease agreements comply with local laws and clearly define the tenant’s responsibilities.
Depending on your jurisdiction, specific notice requirements may apply when dealing with property damage incidents. Familiarize yourself with these requirements to ensure compliance and proper communication with tenants.
Review your insurance policy carefully to understand your obligations as the facility owner. Ensure that you comply with any reporting or documentation requirements specified by the insurance company.
Tenant Protection Plans
If the renter has a tenant protection plan, review it and familiarize yourself with the process. A claim will need to be filed, along with applicable statements, agreements, and documentation.
In severe cases of property damage or non-compliance with lease agreements, eviction may become necessary. Familiarize yourself with the eviction procedures mandated by local laws to ensure that you follow the correct legal process.
To maintain a legally sound operation, always seek legal advice prior to acting on any of the above measures.
How to Minimize the Risk of Property Damage
By implementing preventive measures, you can minimize the risk of incidents. Here are some strategies to consider:
Conduct thorough tenant screenings to identify potential risks. Check references, perform background checks, and assess storage needs. Look for any red flags that may indicate a higher likelihood of non-compliance with lease agreements.
Strict Lease Agreements
Lease agreements should clearly outline the tenant’s responsibilities and the consequences of property damage. Include clauses that prohibit certain activities. Be sure the prospective tenants understand the terms of the lease.
Perform regular inspections of the facility to identify any signs of potential property damage. Inspect units for unauthorized alterations, signs of neglect, or unsafe storage practices. Promptly address any issues discovered during inspections to prevent further damage.
Invest in robust security measures to deter potential property damage. Install surveillance cameras, adequate lighting, and secure access control systems. Visible security measures can discourage tenants from engaging in illicit activities.
Handling property damage caused by a tenant can be a major headache. From having to deal with intense emotion to enforcing eviction action, it can turn into a logistical nightmare. Your best option is to be proactive in minimizing this risk. Being aware of the common causes and legal considerations of tenant-inflicted damage can give you an edge in uncovering a common-sense resolution.