The idea of self-storage is simple. You pay a monthly fee, and are given access to a secure storage space where you can store any extra stuff you have around the house.
Of course, that convenience only lasts as long as you continue to pay the cost of the rental space. You may wonder what will happen to all of your things if you don’t pay the fees. For example, here is what would happen at one particular facility. The Lockup self-storage, to use as a pretty typical example. You can check their website at thelockupselfstorage.com.au.
There is no single answer as every self-storage facility will have its own terms and conditions when it comes to the contract between itself and you. So you should read the fine print before you make any agreement if this is a concern.
The first point to make is how long will your facility hold onto your stuff before taking action. Generally, they don’t start selling your things the day after a missed payment, so find out what your grace period is. It’s typical to have a month or longer before anything happens.
After that, the facility owner will probably start trying to sell your belongings to recoup their loss from the missed fees. They will have to give you notice that this is happening, so you may have a final chance to step in and settle the account. Opening up the unit to sell the contents as a single lot through an auction is a common method for this, with entire TV shows dedicated to the process. Depending on what is in the unit, a facility owner may sell in any way they wish, selling individual items (like appliances, electronics or furniture) to different parties in order to get the best return.
Anything that is not considered sellable, like old clothes or various personal items, may be disposed of as trash or even donated to local charity thrift shops. Really, the items become property of the facility and they can do whatever they want with them.
Once your belongings have been sold off, you have no more rights to them whatsoever. You can’t make any claims about value or damages once the situation has gotten to this point. That’s what the earlier notice and grace period are for.
While this is a fairly standard scenario, every facility will have its own policy. They may wait longer before selling, or give you a much shorter grace period after you go into arrears on your account. Some may prefer to take legal action to get their money before going on to sell your belongings, which would result in a further repercussions for you.
On a somewhat related note, you might want to know what happens to your belongings if there is a problem at the unit. Again, read the fine print to find out specifically. Most facilities do not carry insurance that protects your goods. You can talk to your residential insurance broker about extending your policy to include the items stored at the unit. Most plans will allow for this arrangement.