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Self-Storage Facilities

The commercial leasing of storage space has become a widespread and successful business enterprise. Over 15 years ago Illinois enacted the Self-Service Storage Facility Act.

The crux of the Act is that owners have a lien on all the contents of the storage space. The lien permits the owner to sell the contents of the storage unit after a default by the occupant. After the occurrence of the default, the owner must notify the occupant in writing and then he or she can advertise and sell the occupant's stored property. The owner's written notice must be very detailed and must meet specific requirements of the statute, including an itemized statement, a demand for payment within a specified time, an announcement of the owner's lien, and information about the owner's intention to sell the property.

After the time for payment expires, the owner must publish an advertisement of the sale or other disposition of the property once a week for two consecutive weeks. The sale must be held at or near the storage facility premises. The occupant can regain the stored property by paying all money due on the rental, plus the owner's reasonable expenses, any time prior to the actual sale. Otherwise, the owner can take the proceeds of the sale to satisfy the overdue rent. However, the owner is required to hold any excess proceeds for two years, subject to claim by the occupant.

Owners must strictly comply with the precise language of the statute. If an owner sells, moves, or otherwise interferes with an occupant's property without proper notice to the occupant, the owner may be liable to the occupant for damages.

If you have valuable property at a storage unit, you should be aware of the substantial remedies and powers the owner holds over your goods. If you neglect or forget to pay your rental fee when due, you may be very close to losing your possessions. While few rental unit owners are likely to pursue these legal remedies aggressively after only a short default, they are entitled to do so.

If you own a storage facility, you should be familiar with the authority and remedies established in the law. Pay particular attention to meeting all the specific requirements regarding the written notice you owe defaulting occupants. The only Illinois case addressing the Act states that the existence of a lease does not negate the requirements of the Act. Thus, the terms of your rental contracts should be consistent with the language of the statute.

This website is not intended to constitute legal advice or the provision of legal services. By posting and/or maintaining the website and its contents, Lucas Law does not intend to solicit business from clients located in states or jurisdictions outside of Illinois wherein Lucas Law or its individual attorney(s) are not licensed or authorized to practice law.

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