Questions to Ask When Renting a Self-Storage Unit

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A self-storage unit can be a great choice for those who live in apartments or small homes and who don't want sporting goods and other items always underfoot or taking up precious space in the garage or spare room. Whatever your use, when you are ready to rent, note a few important questions to ask of any self-storage facility.

1. Always ask if there are items that cannot be stored in the unit

Very often flammable items, food items, and certain waste items or trash cannot be stored in the facility. You may also not be allowed to store animals for any length of time, even pets like fish or lizards that are in a fully contained glass aquarium with a filter. Propane, welding gasses, and oxygen tanks may also not be allowed even if they're empty. Items that may somehow pose a hazard to other units, such as a waterbed or full aquarium that might leak, may be prohibited. If you have anything other than standard household goods to store, always ask about this or read the fine print of any contract so you don't face fines or a closure of your unit.

2. Ask what to do if you cannot access the unit after hours

If you forget your access code, pass card, or whatever your means for accessing the storage facility after hours, you need to know if there is a number you call for security or a manager to let you back in. This happens to those who are renting units more than you might expect, so don't assume it can't happen to you! The number you call for the front office may be different than a security number or after-hours access, so be sure you note how you get in after the office is closed if you know this is when you're most likely to need entrance to the facility.

3. Be sure you know how clean it needs to be when you leave

Most self-storage units will need you to completely empty the unit and also sweep it clean; otherwise, you may face a fine and added fees. This is important to note if you're storing anything that might leave a mess behind, such as a beanbag chair that you know leaks, oil cans that drip, and the like. Don't assume that even a few small pieces of debris you overlook will be fine, but be sure you know any penalties you might incur if you don't clean up after you close the unit.