When a storage unit is past due on payments, the facility manager can replace the lessor’s lock with his own. The contents of the locker now become collateral to collect overdue rent. The manager has the right to take photographs of the belongings and publish those photos on auction sites. Buyers can bid to buy the contents of what they see in the pictures.
Live Auctions are similar to online auctions. At a published time the manager will open the delinquent unit and allow any buyer’s peer inside. No one is allowed to enter or touch any of the items. The reality series Storage Wars portrays some of the colorful characters that attend these live auctions.
Laws regulate how many days the payments need to be overdue before the unit is considered delinquent. They vary from 30 to 45 days depending on what state the facility is in. The lessor can pay all fees and overdue rent the day before the auction, and the facility will cancel it and refund any money that was put up for it by bidders.
I was helping my friend Eric haul away the contents of his first storage unit purchase recently. It was exciting and sad.
Exciting: because of hidden treasures that he found:
- A washer and dryer
- A Leatherman style all-in-one tool
- A Kansas City Chiefs jacket
- A whole semester’s worth of textbooks
- A glass top corner table
- and much more
Sad: because of some of the personal effects found
- A confirmation letter from a mom to a daughter
- Family photographs
- A spiral notebook with impeccable handwriting based on lectures or from a textbook.
For my efforts, I scored the Kansas City Chiefs jacket. Eric’s unit had contents that exceeded the price that he bought them for; however, it took him a couple of days to clear the unit out, and that has to be factored into whether the project was profitable or not. He’s happy with the outcome, so I guess that’s all that matters.