Leasing a storage unit can be a great way to rid your home of some clutter or a place to keep your belongings temporarily when you are moving house or going traveling. They can also be excellent for business purposes, such as storing your stock or equipment that you don’t need in the office every day. While these units can be great for all kinds of scenarios, there are certain rules and regulations that you need to be aware of before you lease one to make sure that they are suitable for your needs and that you won’t find yourself getting charged for damages or your lease terminated. Below are some of the key regulations you need to keep in mind when you’re looking for a storage unit.
You Can’t Live in a Storage Unit
This should be an obvious one, but those who are thinking about using their unit as a temporary or permanent place to live should think again. These units are not designed to be living environments, and health and safety regulations need to be followed. You can’t turn your unit into a living space; they are for storage purposes only. While you can use your unit as a place to store things for hobbies like painting or crafts and use your unit to do these activities, you can’t stay overnight.
You Can’t Keep Animals in Your Unit
If you are a pet owner or breeder, you can not use your storage unit to house your animals. If you want to store things like pet accessories such as beds, toys, etc., that is fine, but no animals can be kept in your unit at any time. It is inhumane to do this, and you will be prosecuted for doing so. It can also be dangerous for the animal and potentially to other renters and employees at the facility.
You Can’t Keep Weapons in Your Unit
Firearms, knives, swords, or weapons of any kind are often strictly prohibited. Some facilities may allow this, but in most cases, they will not. This is a safety precaution for everyone else using and working at the facility. Always ask your facilities management team about this if you are looking for a place to store weapons.
Don’t Keep Perishables in Your Unit
Storing food of any kind should be avoided in a storage unit, but if you must, only store canned goods or dried foods that are in sealed, air-tight containers. The reason for this is that those food items will attract pests like mice and rats, resulting in infestations to several units, not just yours. Furthermore, decaying food will leave a foul odor that can permeate through the facility and be unpleasant for other renters, as well as potentially cause health hazards.
You Can’t Use Your Storage Unit as a Business Office
While you can use a storage unit for business purposes, you can’t work from your unit and use it as an office space. This is often due to insurance reasons, and you can’t legally list a storage unit as a business address or have employees working from this location. This will violate working health and safety codes, so if you are looking for a cheap place to use as an office space, you’ll need to search for suitable and legal premises to do so.
No Combustible Materials
It’s clear why storage facilities will not allow you to store combustible materials in your unit, as they don’t want to risk a fire outbreak or explosion that can cause serious damage, injury, or even fatalities. Some examples include gasoline, oil, paint thinners, fireworks, matches, propane, alcohol. However, there are climate-controlled storage units that you can use to store wines, which are more suitable and safer to use for this specific purpose.
What Can You Keep in a Storage Unit?
Items that are OK to keep in your storage unit include paperwork, items of furniture, tools, household appliances, important documents, clothing, kitchenware, dinnerware, books, CDs, electronic devices, gardening equipment, etc. Some items will need climate-controlled units to prevent them from being damaged, but you can ask about that when speaking to the management team as they will be able to advise you on this.
You will need to make monthly payments when leasing a storage unit, but the management company can charge you late fees if you fail to make your payment on time. How much they charge will be stated in terms of your lease, so always make sure you check this before you sign. To avoid this from happening, you may also want to ask about setting up a direct debit to make sure that your payments are made on time each month for however long you’re leasing your storage unit.
If a storage unit has been abandoned, the contents of that unit become the property of the management facility. A unit will be considered abandoned if the lease payments have not been made for over two months and any reminders the facility has sent to the renter have been ignored. The facility can then remove or auction off the property inside to clear the unit for another renter.
Maintaining Your Unit
It’s also important to note that you will have some responsibility for maintaining your storage unit while you’re leasing it. While the management company is responsible for maintaining the overall site, you are responsible for the property inside your unit and making sure it is kept tidy and free from damage. This is why you should always invest in a quality lock and take the time to clean your unit at least once or twice a year to keep on top of the mess. If you believe there is an issue with your unit that isn’t your fault, report this to the management team immediately to have the issue resolved.
Leasing a storage unit can be an excellent way to create more space in your home or help to keep your business office more organized. However, it is important to be aware of the rules and regulations before you sign a lease. Each facility’s rules will differ slightly, but the above points are what you can typically expect.