1. Read The Contract
It is important to understand what is in the contract for your self storage unit. The most important item to understand in your rental agreement is the rental price and due date. If you cannot afford to pay your rent on time, DO NOT rent a storage unit. Facility owners can and will auction your belongings for non-payment and late payment. Do not ignore any notices for payment. Most storage facility owners will work with late tenants that show in good faith they intend to pay their rent. Be aware of any fees in your contract, such as a late fee, overlock fee and legal notice fee. However, these fees can be avoided by paying your rent on time. If you pay a deposit at the time of rental, be sure to remove everything from the storage unit upon move out, including trash, to avoid losing your deposit refund.
Some things to consider when looking over your rental agreement:
2. Climate Controlled vs. Temperature Controlled vs. Non-climate Controlled Storage Units
Non-Climate Controlled Storage Units
The type unit with the least protection for your belongings is a Non-climate Controlled Unit. No temperature or humidity control. A more economical option for your less delicate belongings.
Temperature Controlled Storage Units
The next level of protection is a Temperature Controlled Unit. Temperature is controlled year-round; humidity is controlled only when the AC is running.
Climate Controlled Storage Units
The highest level of protection is a Climate Controlled Unit. Temperature and humidity are controlled all year round. Many facilities use the terms temperature controlled and climate controlled interchangeably as if they are equal. They are not. Tenants may unknowingly rent a temperature controlled unit thinking they have a climate controlled unit.
3. How Storage Units Are Priced
Most units for storage are priced per square foot. While larger units will cost more, smaller units are usually slightly more per square foot. For example, a 10x20 storage unit may cost $118 per month or $.59 per square foot, whereas, a 10x10 storage may cost $75 per month or $.75 per square foot. If you are uncertain how much space you need, storage facility operators can assist you and help take the guess work out.
One important thing to consider when you rent a storage unit is insurance. Most homeowner's insurance policies do not cover your belongings in storage. Be sure to check with your insurance agent to be sure before purchasing separate insurance. If your belongings are not covered, many storage facilities offer coverage for an additional cost. If the facility does not offer coverage, renters insurance coverage can usually be found online.
Insurance is essential because your rental agreement probably contains language that protects the storage facility from liability for theft, water damage, fire and rodent damage among other things.
Security levels at self storage facilities can vary significantly from one facility to another. Be sure to inquire about the facility's security features before you rent a storage unit to be sure your belongings are safe.
Some security features to look for are:
Access hours can vary from facility to facility. Some have limited access hours while others may offer 24-hour access. If you are going to need to access your storage unit outside of regular business hours, be sure to inquire about access hours before completing your storage rental.
7. Climate Control
If you're storing items sensitive to temperature or humidity, choose a unit with climate control. Everyday items that need climate controlled storage include:
8. Items Not Allowed In Storage Units
Be sure to check your rental agreement for storage restrictions. This is important because some items cannot be stored in self storage units.
Due to the risk of any potential damage or liability, the following items are typically not allowed to be stored in self storage units:
Packing in an organized manner can save space and allow you to rent the smallest storage unit possible saving you money. Use storage containers and boxes that are the right size for your items. This will ensure you will not have wasted space inside your containers. Use stackable boxes and containers. This will allow you to make maximum use of the space in your storage unit.
Some additional packing tips include:
Read online reviews. This will give you a wealth of information about the storage facility and staff.
Look for reviews that mention the following:
By reading reviews, you can better understand what to expect from a particular storage facility.