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What happens to abandoned items in self-storage facilities?

Posted on by united-removers-team

iStock_000009223459XSmallWhether you are moving home, relocating office or simply need somewhere to store your personal items following a clear out, renting a self-storage unit is an excellent option. It is an effective way of keeping your belongings safe so you can rest assured that your items are securely locked away. Despite this, thousands of units are abandoned by their renters each year, leaving many to question what happens to abandoned items in self-storage facilities.

Missed payments

From financial hardship to untimely death, there are a variety of reasons as to why storage units are abandoned, most of which are issues that cannot be avoided. A rental contract must specify how many payments can be consecutively missed before it is concluded that the unit has been abandoned by its renter. Typically, the renter will receive monthly bills from the storage facility provider which they must pay to the time scale set in the contract. Once the specific amount of time has passed, the storage manager has the right to declare the unit abandoned.

Declaration of abandonment

The next stage in the process can depend on where you are located. Typically, the facility manager will place an advertisement in the local newspaper announcing that the storage unit has been abandoned due to missed payments and will declare that its contents will be placed for auction on a specified date and time.

What happens if the renter of the unit has died?

In the event of an untimely death, sorting out a storage unit will most probably be the last thing family and friends want to deal with. Therefore, it is highly recommended that renters allow a trusted family member or friend access to their storage unit in the case of an emergency. This way, the storage facility can be emptied out and closed down with no problems.

If no one is granted permission to access the unit, it falls to whoever is dealing with the legalities to ensure the payments continue to avoid foreclosure. Next, they will need to obtain documentation proving they are the Executor of the estate which can take up to 60 days. Once this documentation is received, the facility manager will grant access to the unit and from there it can be decided whether the unit will be kept or emptied out and closed down.


Everyone from the general public to the owners of the property will have the chance to bid on the contents of the storage unit during the auction. Auctioning off the abandoned contents of the unit allows the storage facility to retrieve some money lost from unpaid rent and will clear out the unit ready for a new tenant.

Television programmes such as ‘Storage Wars’ and ‘Storage Hunters’ have gained immense popularity in sensationalising the selling of storage items. The open invite to the public has paved the way for many individuals to attend such auctions and bid on abandoned items.

Contents of the storage unit

The items kept in a storage unit can be rather hit or miss at an auction. If you’re having a lucky day, you could walk away with valuable, original treasures; alternatively you could end up going home with useless junk. It’s this excitement which leaves people wanting more as they never know what they will find.

With a wealth of experience in the removals industry, here at United Removers we offer a comprehensive range of storage solutions designed for both commercial and domestic clients. These cover:

- Home storage

Office/commercial storage

Furniture storage

- Document storage

Whatever your requirements are, our team of experts are able to find the best solution to fit with your needs. Our clean, well-maintained storage containers offer the ultimate in security so you can rest assured your items will be totally safe. Simply get in touch with us via telephone or online today for further information about any of the storage or removal services we provide.


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