Let's talk about self storage.

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  • 1.  Tenants Sleeping in Units

    Posted 04-22-2021 04:40 PM
    Edited by Kristy Breaux 04-23-2021 08:39 AM
    Are you seeing a rise in tenants sleeping in units? From an operations standpoint, what is your process for handling this type of situation? We're hearing that it is difficult or nearly impossible to evict tenants right now, so what alternative methods do you use?

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    Kristy Breaux
    Deputy Executive Director
    Texas Self Storage Association
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  • 2.  RE: Tenants Sleeping in Units

    Posted 04-23-2021 08:23 AM
    I assume you are using the TSSA Lease and if so it states there is no sleeping in the units. Give warning of eviction if they are caught and remind them they signed a legal and binding agreement to NOT sleep in units.

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    Gerry Lewis
    Noah's Ark Self Storage
    Buda TX
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  • 3.  RE: Tenants Sleeping in Units

    Posted 04-23-2021 02:22 PM
    Yes, we have seen an increase in Tarrant county with tenants living in units since September.

    Most of them move out when we give them the notice to vacate.  We have had a handful of tenants tell us they know the system and we have to evict them. But we have been having issues with the eviction process because the address the tenant provided when they moved in is not valid, and the court refuses to hear the case because they can't serve them.  We have even tried calling when the tenant was on the property to get them to come to serve them and the response we receive is "we are not at your beck incall" 

    We are considering allowing them to continue to pay rent and stay current and send them a 30 day rent increase notice to motivate them to leave.

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    Sarah Cole
    Exec Admin Asst/Audit Coordinator/Marketing
    Oakcrest Management, Inc.
    Burleson TX
    (817) 426-5996
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  • 4.  RE: Tenants Sleeping in Units

    Posted 05-25-2021 11:26 AM
    Edited by Vernon Helmke 05-25-2021 11:29 AM
    We have an older property in an area where there are a lot of homeless people.  I came up with a carrot and stick approach and mentioned it to Connie Nieman Heyer at one of the last in person TSSA meetings.  She replied, "I like it."  I'm sure that does not constitute an official endorsement but at least she didn't tell me NOT to do it.

    The problem with these folks on the margins of society is that they often don't have enough money to pay rent, admin fees, insurance, etc. to start over somewhere else, or have a vehicle, capability to rent a vehicle or friends to help them move.  When we discover someone sleeping in a unit (or doing any of the other nuisance behaviors that the homeless tend to do - hanging out all day even if not actually sleeping in their unit, staying past posted gate hours, bringing in "friends" who wander around the property, dragging their stuff out in the aisle or hallway, leaving trash around, disturbing other tenants, etc.) I give them written notice of which specific parts of the TSSA Rental Agreement they are violating, and that further violations may result in termination of their tenancy.  Sometimes this solves the problem but usually not.

    Upon the next violation, I give them another written notice that if they have moved out within ten days, I will not charge them for the current month (if they have not paid) or I will refund one month's rent once they are out and have signed the Tenant Authorization and Release that they agree to abandon anything left behind.  The notice also says that if they do not take advantage of the offer, their rent will double the next month, and if they are still not out the following month, their rent will triple (or double again).  I believe this is justified since they are causing our onsite manager additional work in monitoring and cleaning up after them.  Obviously I would rather not pay but the relative ease of getting rid of the problem is worth it to me, and probably doesn't cost much more than evicting them.

    I have used this method at least a dozen times over the last few years at a couple of different locations.  They almost always accept the offer immediately.  The ones that don't usually have a family member paying their rent so they don't have to deal with them, but the family members have always stopped paying once the rent gets high enough.

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    Steve Rogers
    Alamo Southwest Management
    (210) 801-9771
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