When storing your property, including boats, pontoons, RV’s,
and motorcycles, protection from theft or damage should be your primary
concern, says the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer
Protection's Bureau of Business Trade Practices, which regulates
licensed facilities (Wis. Statute Chapter 99).
Consumers should ask storage operators if they are licensed
by DATCP as Public Warehouse Keepers. Most dealerships and marinas are licensed
and permits are prominently posted. Outdoor storage areas or a farmer’s barn, for example,
may also be required to be licensed. Licensed operators offer you the greatest
protection because they are bonded and regularly inspected. Ask to see their
What about an unlicensed storage facility?
Remember they are not bonded or inspected by the Department.
Ask the operator of the storage facility, licensed or
unlicensed, for a contract in writing.
Insist that the contract state the terms and the operator’s
Read the contract before you sign it.
Inspect the area where your property will be stored.
Ask the operator of the facility who has access to the
Self-service storage facilities
A mini warehouse or self-service storage facility is storage
space rented to tenants, usually on a monthly basis. A self-service storage
business provides space in which tenants can store and access their goods.
Unlike public warehouse keepers, self-service storage facilities are not
required to be licensed.
These facilities must inform the renter that the owner holds
a lien on the property being stored. The operators, renting the storage area to
you, can recover their money by selling your goods if rental payments are not
made. You may be considered in default just seven days after the rental payment
is due (Wis. Statute Chapter 704.90 – Self-service storage facilities).
Boat, pontoon, RV and motorcycle owners may be
required to carry insurance on their property while in storage. Examine your
insurance coverage carefully and ask the warehouse operator about their liability.
In Wisconsin, your boat, pontoon, RV or motorcycle may
spend more time in storage than on lakes or roads. Protect your investment by
using a licensed storage facility.
For more information or to file a complaint, contact the Bureau of Business Trade Practices: (608) 224-4925 or e-mail.