link separator arrowWhat Happens If You Dont Pay For Your Storage Unit

What Happens If You Don't Pay
for Your Storage Unit

by Stackt  ∙ 27 Mar 2024 ∙ Storage  
A graphic image of a storage unit styled as a safe with a padlock and overdue bills scattered on the ground, all against a plain, shadowed background.

Not paying for your storage unit can have significant repercussions. First, you'll be locked out, and then late fees start piling up. Without settlement, your personal items may be sold off to recoup the owed money.

This guide explains each step in the process and what you can do to possibly prevent these outcomes, focusing on "what happens if you don't pay for your storage unit" without delving into too much detail upfront.

Key Takeaways

  • Failing to pay your storage unit can lead to a lockout, additional late fees, and eventually the auctioning of your possessions if the debt is not settled.
  • Maintaining open communication with your storage facility management and exploring payment options can help prevent escalation to an auction and protect your belongings.
  • Every state has distinct legal requirements and timelines for storage unit auctions; staying informed and taking proactive measures are key to managing and avoiding long-term financial repercussions, such as negative credit scores and housing challenges.

Immediate Consequences of Unpaid Storage Units

The immediate aftermath of unpaid storage units is quite straightforward and, unfortunately, swift. The storage facility, under the legal right of lien, can hold onto the contents of your storage unit until you settle the outstanding debt.

If you think this is just a temporary lockout, you're in for a surprise. Continuous non-payment could lead to eviction, with you losing rights to the space and the stored items.

Imagine being denied access to your own belongings! It might sound harsh, but it's the reality when you avoid or miss your storage unit payments.

Indeed, storage facilities have the power to auction off your prized possessions to recover the owed amount. These storage unit auctions are legal and part of the storage company's last resort to recoup their losses. However, before reaching this point, there are other immediate consequences you should be aware of.

Lockout and Denied Access

If you've ever missed a payment, you've probably experienced the dread of being locked out of your storage unit. The storage facility quickly responds by denying you access to your storage space.

You might show up one day to find a clear sign that you're barred from entering. Picture going to your unit to retrieve essential documents only to see a red lock and a company logo glaring back at you. Not a pleasant scenery, is it?

However, don't lose hope just yet. Most facilities provide a grace period of 5-15 days for missed storage payments before your account is viewed in default.

So, if you've missed a payment, double-check your contract, communicate with your facility, and try to resolve the issue as soon as possible to regain access to your unit.

Late Fees and Additional Charges

The lockout is just the beginning. Late payments often mean additional charges. Storage companies usually impose late fees ranging from £10 to £20 or up to 15% of the monthly rent if you fail to pay by the due date.

Let's say your monthly rent is £100, and you miss the payment deadline. You could end up owing an extra £15 on top of your rent, and that's not a one-time fee.

If you make a partial payment, it goes towards the oldest overdue balance, which could lead to recurring late fees and unpaid current rent.

When your rent remains unpaid for an extended period, you may face additional lien sale fees, increasing the overall debt to the storage company.

This cycle of late fees and additional charges can quickly snowball into a significant amount. Therefore, prompt payment or a discussion with your facility manager about your situation can help you avoid these additional charges.

Communication with Storage Facility Management

An illustrated image of a woman and a man having a cheerful conversation in a hallway lined with colorful storage units.

If you're struggling to keep up with your storage payments, don't panic. Open communication with your storage facility management can be a game-changer.

It's crucial to understand the terms of your lease agreement, including the default point (usually set at 30 days for delayed payments), and communicate promptly with storage facility management about any payment issues. Remember, storage facility managers are humans, too, and they might be willing to work with you if you're honest about your situation.

Establishing open communication helps avoid drastic outcomes like auctions and allows tenants to understand options and negotiate solutions beforehand. Whether you're experiencing temporary financial hardship or you've decided to discontinue payments, let the facility managers know.

They may even offer payment plans or grant additional time to resolve the debt. Just make sure your contact details are up-to-date, so you receive timely notices about overdue payments and avoid any miscommunication.

Open Dialogue and Honesty

Open dialogue and honesty go a long way in any business relationship. This is no different when it comes to your dealings with storage facilities. Confidence in communication from self-storage managers is key to earning tenants' trust, fostering an environment suitable for open dialogue.

The first step is to approach the facility managers with a clear understanding of your situation and a willingness to find a solution.

Non-verbal cues, such as eye contact and smiling, can sweeten communication with tenants.

An open body language can lead to better responsive communication, promoting an open dialogue environment. Moreover, maintaining honesty while dealing with uncomfortable situations is crucial.

Even if negotiations don't go as planned, keeping a positive demeanour can end tenant interactions on a positive note, critical for conducive future communications.

Exploring Payment Options

While open communication is essential, exploring payment options, including storage payment, is equally crucial. The storage facility management may proactively contact the renter to discuss solutions like a payment plan or discounted rent as alternatives to auction.

When attempting to negotiate payment options, it's beneficial to start with a reasonably low offer, balancing between affordability and respect for the negotiation process.

In some cases, tenants might have the option to negotiate lower rent rates through long-term contracts with the storage facility, making it easier to manage payments. It's important to capture finalized terms in a written rental agreement acknowledged by both the renter and the storage facility to ensure clarity and commitment.

The Auction Process: From Default to Sale

A vibrant, detailed diagram illustrating the process of real estate auction, including colorful houses connected by winding paths, with labels such as 'auction' and 'sold'.

Understanding the auction process is crucial if you find yourself defaulting on your storage unit payments.

The process generally grants a grace period after a payment is missed, leading up to 30-90 days before an auction is scheduled. It's a timeline that gives you the opportunity to settle your debts or make alternative arrangements before your possessions are sold.

Legal Requirements and Timeline

There are specific legal requirements and timelines for storage unit auctions. In general, if you skip storage unit payments, it can kickstart the lien process, where the company can claim ownership of your items until the debt is resolved.

Payment default typically happens within 5 to 30 days from the missed due date, according to the lease agreement. Usually, a timeframe is set to be 30 to 90 days after default before auctioning the storage unit content.

There could be specific notice periods for advertising and holding auctions. A pre-lien notice indicating a potential auction is usually required to be sent to tenants if overdue payments aren't settled.

The final lien notice detailing the owed amount and auction particulars typically must be sent via certified mail. Remember, tenants maintain the right to settle the due amount at any point before the auction begins.

Publicizing Auctions and Notifying Tenants

Storage facilities must publicize auctions and notify tenants through various channels, including:

  • Legal notices;
  • Ads;
  • Bubble cushioning roll;
  • Online platforms;
  • Certified mail and emails.

They may use their own websites and physical premises to market online auctions, providing links and signage about upcoming auctions. With the legality of online storage unit auctions in some counties, storage facilities are expanding the reach of their auction publicity.

Collaborating with auctioneers who have an established base of bidders can be an effective method of promoting storage unit auctions. Positive word-of-mouth from professional buyers can play a crucial role in attracting more bidders to storage facility auctions.

The lienholder is mandated to advertise the sale in a local newspaper or, if none exists, to post the notice in three public places in the town where the sale will take place for at least 10 consecutive days prior to the sale.

Preventing Auctions and Protecting Your Belongings

A comic strip style illustration showing four panels related to storage unit auctions, including a man at a computer, another operating an automatic auction system, a friendly auctioneer, and a buyer.

Now that we've walked through the auction process let's switch gears and talk about how to prevent auctions from happening in the first place. If you find yourself facing the possibility of an auction due to missed payments, here are some steps you can take:

  • Contact the storage manager immediately to negotiate possible payment plans.
  • Avoid making attending the auction of your belongings the final solution, as it can be highly demanding and intense.
  • Instead, focus on resolving the issue with the storage facility or seek legal advice.

Remember, the goal here is to protect your belongings and avoid the stress and potential embarrassment of having your items sold off. So, let's look at some proactive measures you can take to prevent auctions and safeguard your possessions.

Proactive Measures to Avoid Auctions

One of the best ways to avoid auctions is to set up automatic payments. This helps ensure timely payments and eliminates the risk of forgetfulness leading to missed due dates.

Communicating proactively with the storage facility manager to discuss any challenges with payment schedules or seek advice on avoiding auctions is also a smart move.

Negotiation is another tool in your arsenal. You can negotiate with storage facilities using market rates knowledge and inquire about possible promotions or discounts to secure favourable payment terms for storage solutions.

If you decide renting the self-storage unit is no longer feasible, inform the property manager in advance. This can help you avoid last-minute conflicts or additional charges.

Seeking Legal Advice and Assistance

When in doubt, seek professional guidance. This can provide insights into your rights and options relevant to unpaid storage unit debt.

Lawyers specializing in debt management can help you understand the ins and outs of your situation and provide a clear plan of action. You can find reputable attorneys through various online resources.

Remember, the goal is to prevent the auction of your belongings. So, don't be afraid to reach out for help. With the right advice and proactive measures, you can navigate this challenging situation and protect your belongings.

Long-Term Implications of Unpaid Storage Units

A surreal illustration of a giant storage unit building with a door ajar revealing stacks of boxes inside, in a cityscape setting with coins pouring out onto the street below, and a silhouette of a person's profile in the foreground

Unpaid storage units can have long-term implications beyond losing your stored belongings. These can have a cascading effect on your financial state, affecting future rental applications, home purchases, and even auto insurance rates. One of the significant impacts is on your credit scores. Defaulting on a storage unit can lead to negative impacts on credit scores if the unpaid debt is reported to credit bureaus.

Complications in securing housing is another long-term consequence to consider. Past defaults may influence landlords' decisions, making it challenging for you to secure a place to live. Therefore, it's crucial to treat your storage unit payments with the same seriousness as any other financial obligation.

Impact on Credit Scores and Financial Opportunities

The delinquency of unpaid storage units may have the following consequences:

  • It may be reported by collection agencies to credit bureaus, which can have a negative effect on credit scores.
  • Late payments on storage units can be included in the payment history section of a credit report, significantly influencing credit scores.
  • When a storage unit is auctioned due to non-payment, the associated negative information may be passed on to credit bureaus and could be considered by landlords during tenant screening.

A collection account resulting from an unpaid storage unit can have the following impacts on an individual's credit:

  • It can remain on their credit report for seven years;
  • It can affect their ability to borrow money;
  • It can result in higher interest rates when applying for loans;
  • It can lead to denial of rental applications.

The overall impact on an individual's credit score depends on various factors, including the amount of total debt and payment history with other creditors.

Challenges in Securing Housing and Services

Unpaid storage units can complicate your life in ways you might not expect. For instance, eviction from a storage unit due to non-payment can serve as a negative indicator to future service providers, complicating your ability to secure housing or other services.

Let's say you're looking to rent an apartment, and the landlord conducts a background check. The record of an unpaid storage unit could raise red flags, making the landlord sceptical about your ability to pay rent on time.

This could also apply to other services, like utilities or even internet providers. These companies may require a hefty deposit or even deny service altogether.

Therefore, it's crucial to understand the long-term implications of unpaid storage units and take steps to avoid them throughout the entire process.


In conclusion, the journey of an unpaid storage unit is fraught with immediate consequences, potential auctions, and long-term financial repercussions.

However, through open communication, proactive measures, and an understanding of state-specific regulations, you can avoid such outcomes.

Remember, your storage unit isn't just a space for storage; it's a financial responsibility. So, don't let your precious belongings get locked away or lost for good. Stay informed, stay proactive, and stay on top of your storage unit payments.

Frequently Asked Questions

What happens to your storage if you don't pay?

If you don't pay for your storage unit, late fees will apply, and if you miss enough payments, your unit may be declared abandoned and its contents auctioned off by the property manager. Be sure to keep up with your payments to avoid this situation.

What happens if you walk away from a storage unit?

If you walk away from a storage unit and don't pay the storage fee, you will be locked out of the unit after the grace period, which is usually 30 days. So, it's important to settle any outstanding fees to avoid being locked out.

Can I negotiate payment options with my storage facility?

Yes, open communication with the storage facility about your circumstances can lead to negotiating payment plans or getting additional time to resolve the debt. Communication is key in these situations.

What happens during a storage unit auction?

During a storage unit auction, the process typically starts with a grace period after a missed payment, followed by a scheduled auction 30-90 days later. After that time, the items in the unit are then auctioned off to the highest bidder.

Our 360° moving service

We overthink everything instead of you – you won't forget about end-of-tenancy cleaning, packing, or your cat at your old house.

Removal services in the UK

Learn morearrow

Secure storage with collection

Learn morearrow

End-of-Tenancy cleaning

Learn morearrow
Chat icon
Contact Us