Consumer Protection Fact Sheet - Self-Service Storage

Do you need a place to store your things? A self-service storage facility may be the answer.

Before renting, know that you, the lessee, are responsible for everything in your rental unit. This means that unless the rental agreement specifies otherwise, the owner of the facility is not liable under Wisconsin law for damage due to mold, mildew, pests, etc. Thus, you should make sure that the facility is secure from break-ins, vermin, and water damage. Also, take into consideration that heating and ventilation in a facility may help to prevent mildew.

The rental agreement must be in writing. From the start of the agreement, the facility owner has a lien on anything stored in the unit. This means that if you stop making rent payments or abandon the property, the owner can prevent access, or eventually, sell your possessions to recover owed rent. Renters may be considered in default just seven days after payment is due under the rental agreement.

When a lessee defaults, the operator may prevent access to the property until the lessee pays their owed rent. The operator may charge a monthly late fee if payment is 5 days late, in the amount of $20 or 20% of the rent amount – whichever is greater.

The operator must make two attempts to contact the lessee when in default. The operator must first send a notice via regular mail or email. The second notice must be sent using a mail service which provides evidence of mailing or by email. If there is no response, the owner can begin to make plans to sell the property. Renters can get their property back any time before the sale if overdue rent charges are paid.

Before signing a contract for storage services, read it carefully. Check to see if any insurance is offered on your items while in storage. Make sure you understand and agree with all provisions in the contract, and then be sure your payments are up-to-date.

Self-service storage facilities are not inspected or licensed by the state.