If you’ve never used self-storage before, the phrases and terminology common to the industry may be a little confusing. Self-storage is a service where your belongings (whether that’s personal stuff or work stuff) are kept in somebody else’s property. As a result, there are a handful of things that need to be covered to make it safe and fair for everyone involved.
When choosing a self-storage provider, make sure they are members of the Self-Storage Association (or SSA). This is the UK trade body for the self-storage industry and members must follow strict guidelines on how to provide you (the customer) with their service. Think of it as the industry’s quality control monitor.
When putting your things into storage you’ll be asked to sign a Storage Agreement, and if the firm is an SSA member then they will be using the template SSA Storage Agreement.
The Key Terms
It can look a little daunting at first as there are several pages of small print. Whilst it is very important you read the whole storage agreement in full, here’s a quick explainer of some common storage terms:
Ownership of the goods: The agreement asks you to confirm you are the owner of the goods going into storage or that you have the authority from the owner to store the goods on their behalf. Pretty straightforward.
Security Deposits: If the storage operator is an SSA member you’ll be asked to pay a security deposit when you sign up. This is fully refunded at the end of your stay when; you are fully paid up; you vacate the storage room on the right day, and you don’t leave any rubbish behind.
Payments: This is how and when you pay the storage company for their service. You will usually be invoiced on a four-weekly basis (it can be 26 or 52-weekly if you want to pre-pay for long-term storage and take advantage of the discounts offered) and you’ll need to pay in advance at all times.
Bad Payers: If payment terms aren’t met, the agreement explains what happens next. Ultimately, the storage company can retain your goods if you don’t pay. This rarely happens and all storage companies prefer you to keep in touch instead of going silent. If you’re having difficulties making payments, there is usually a compromise. Some options may be to move out or move down to a smaller space. Either way, that is what is meant by the term ‘bad payers’.
Secure the Storage Room: The responsibility of locking the room is on the customer, not the storage company. Aside from the fact you’ll want to be the last one in there, it’s good practice to be as secure as you possibly can. Virtually all storage companies sell expensive padlocks on site but at Metro Storage, we provide the use of a FREE PADLOCK for the duration of your stay (if you want to use it).
Things you can’t store: For the safety of the other customers and the company, nothing dangerous or illegal can be stored in the storage room. It might seem obvious but you’d be surprised how often people want to store food in their units. This is a no-no, mice, rats, foxes, and other animal scavengers are not welcome!
Insurance: Every reputable storage firm will require your items to be fully insured for the whole time they are in store. So, if the value of your items goes up or down whilst you are using the storage room (if you add or take things out for example) then you need to notify the storage operator of the new value. But be careful – some storage operators make you use their own in-house insurance, and this can be expensive. At Metro Storage, we provide FREE INSURANCE in all our prices already. If you need to top this up at all then this is also possible, just let us know. It’s basic sense that in the event you need to make a claim, all the details have to be correct or the insurance firm is likely to withhold payment.
Vacating the storage room: Most storage companies ask for a minimum of 14 days’ written notice (email is fine!) of the date you want to stop using the storage room. They ask for this in writing so there can be no confusion of the final date, and it allows them to plan ahead for other customers. It’s usually standard to have 14 days. If you want to extend, just ask, and as long as they get some notice it tends to be completely fine. At Metro Storage, our customers usually drop us quick text when they leave the storage room for the last time so we can get our cleaning team in to get it ready and make it safe.
We hope that was helpful.
We would like to stress once again it’s very important you read the whole Storage Agreement (it only takes about 10 mins) to make sure you understand it and are happy with it before signing it.
If you have any questions at all about any of this, want to know more about the agreement or have any other storage questions then give us a call – we would be delighted to help.