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Colorado storage auctioneer Rich Schur credits the TV craze with removing the stigma from storage auctions. Larry Morgan, co-founder and president of Sacramento, CA-based RL Liquidators, which conducts both on-site and online auctions, said online auctions eliminate the single biggest pain of traditional lien sales. Every state has its own laws governing when and how lien sales are to be held, as well as how the proceeds are to be handled. State laws typically provide strict auction timelines, such as 30 days delinquent, to protect a tenant’s rights.
Most states require storage facilities to notify delinquent renters of their intent to auction the unit’s contents and include an inventory. For a typical commission of 20 percent to 30 percent, a professional auctioneer will take over the inventory, documentation, marketing, sales and billing functions of your on-site auction. Facilities in remote locations or with only the occasional lien sale can expand their bidding pool through an online storage auction. Morgan said first-timers always fear that online buyers won’t show to clean out their units. If a buyer asks for more time to clean out a unit, offer to rent a larger unit at a discount for 30 days.
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The information contained herein has been obtained from third parties and we cannot guarantee the accuracy or completeness of the information. Two men died in a weekend fire that they might have started inside a Colorado self-storage unit to keep themselves warm–a tragedy that offers a valuable but painful lesson for self-storage managers. Becky Blanton, who once lived in a storage unit in Colorado, said the fatal fire underscores the need for storage managers to beef up surveillance when the weather takes a turn for the worse.
Blanton suggested that any facility with empty units should install universal locks to make it harder for homeless people to access the units.
Blanton also recommended that facilities post signs or pass out flyers urging tenants to report suspicious activity, and that they inform homeless people of alternatives for finding shelter. Blanton said that when temperatures plummet, as they recently have in many places in the U.S. At this point, it’s unclear whether Smith and Lintz were living in the storage unit or were temporarily seeking shelter from the cold weather. Investigators also don’t know whether the two dead men started the fire or someone else did. The Grand Junction Sentinel reported that two tenants who were sorting through their belongings after the fire said food and other signs of someone living there were found in one of the damaged units. Judy Robbins, co-owner of Guardian Storage, told the newspaper that she didn’t know Smith or Lentz. Bidders love them for the get-rich-quick thrill of the hunt, fueled by the popular “Storage Wars” reality TV show.


Most would rather face root canal surgery than the massive headache of the lien sale process.
Be sure that the tenants’ rights and responsibilities portion of your rental agreement clearly aligns with your state’s laws. It’s to vacate the unit legally in the most cost-effective manner so that it can be rented as soon as possible. To minimize liability risk and avoid turning off bidders who watch for signs that a storage unit’s contents have been cherry-picked, Schur recommends adopting the industry’s “threshold” standard.
Some facilities group together several lien sales to make the most of an auctioneer’s minimum fee, typically around $250.
This white paper identifies major trends and best practices in rate management, occupancy analysis, rental contracts and profit management. Last fall, four people were kicked out after they were discovered living at the facility, she said. He first moved to Austin in 1999, when downtown Austin wasn't nearly as lively as it is today.
Whether it’s following state laws to the letter to prevent post-sale litigation, shelling out for the auctioneer or enduring the mini-invasion of bargain hunters on sale day, auctioning off the questionable treasures from a tenant’s unit rarely seems worth the time and effort.



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