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Storage Wars – Laws Governing Self-Storage Facilities

February 2, 2017

By Kevin Cornish

Have you ever seen an episode of Storage Wars and wondered, can someone legally sell property in a storage facility?  Or, how can they legally do that?  Storage Wars takes place in California, and I am not here to discuss  California law.  However, Pennsylvania does have a law governing self-storage facilities and the short answer, in Pennsylvania, is Yes, they can do that.

In Pennsylvania, the Self-Service Storage Facilities Act, 73 P.S. § 1901 et seq. (“Act”), governs these self storage facilities.  Importantly, the Act provides that the owner has a lien on all personal property stored in the facility.  The lien is superior to all other liens except those that existed prior to the placement of the personal property in the facility.  The rental agreement must inform the occupant of this lien.

In the event that occupant fails to pay rent for a period of 30 days, the owner can begin proceedings to sell the contents.  The owner must provide notice to the occupant of the default.  The notice must be delivered in accordance with the Act and contain  items such as the amount due, a demand for payment, a lien statement, a designated person for the occupant to contact, and that the contents will be advertised and sold if the delinquent rent is not paid.  The owner also has the right to deny the occupant access to the space until the delinquency is paid.

If the occupant still fails to make payment, the owner can proceed with advertising a sale of the contents.  The owner must advertise the sale two times in a newspaper of general circulation.  There are various requirements for the contents of the advertisement.  Additionally, the sale must occur at least 10 days after the first advertisement.

If the delinquent amount remains unpaid, the owner is free sell the contents of the storage facility to satisfy the owner’s lien.  Third parties can bid on, and purchase, the contents of the storage unit.

If you are a self-storage facility owner or renter, it is vital to assure that your rental agreements comply with the Act and all legal procedures are followed to sell personal property to enforce the lien.

If you have any questions, contact Kevin Cornish at 610-275-07000 or via email at kcornish@highswartz.com.

The information above is general: we recommend that you consult an attorney regarding your specific circumstances.  The content of this information is not meant to be considered as legal advice or a substitute for legal representation.

About the Author: High Swartz

High Swartz LLP is a general practice law firm serving clients in the Delaware Valley and throughout Pennsylvania from offices in Norristown and Doylestown. Established in 1914, High Swartz serves the needs of businesses, municipalities, government entities, nonprofits and individuals. With offices in Bucks County and Montgomery County, the full-service law firm provides comprehensive counsel and legal support to individuals and business entities of all sizes across a broad spectrum of industries throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey. For more information, go to www.highswartz.com.

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One comment on “Storage Wars – Laws Governing Self-Storage Facilities

  • What if the “contents” include a vehicle? Is there a special process to acquire the title? Is this something penndot would handle or the local dj?

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