Contributing Editors

Neighbors Helping Neighbors Drive Coming to a Close

by John Stevens December 21, 2011 11:43 AM
The Christmas season is the time of year when people are especially aware of those less fortunate in their community. People across the nation open their hearts - and their wallets -- and participate in drives for toys, coats, winter wear, and non-perishable food items. Owners and managers of self storage facilities are prominent among those who reach out to help their needy neighbors. [More]

Lenders Continue to Rein in the “Burger King Kids”

by Tony Gonzalez October 14, 2010 11:53 PM
Who is responsible for deciding if your home will be foreclosed on? At JP Morgan Chase, according to yesterday’s New York Times, the bureaucrats in charge of foreclosure paperwork were called the “Burger King kids” because they had so little experience in banking. At Citigroup and GMAC Mortgage, foreclosure paperwork was not always done by the lender itself -- instead, lenders outsourced the paperwork to workers in Guam and the Philippines. Inexpert workers sometimes threw needed paperwork in the trash, the Times reported. The charges were just the latest in a round of criticisms of the mortgage industry’s “robo-signers,” bank employees who were in charge of checking foreclosure documents prior to a repossession by the bank.

As the foreclosure crisis deepens, Attorney Generals in all 50 states have announced that they will work together on a joint investigation. At least six major lenders are reviewing their own foreclosure procedures internally, while four lenders have announced a moratorium on foreclosures until they can complete an internal review. Self storage industry experts have watched the crisis unfold with concern, as self storage companies step in to help Americans who have lost their homes and need a place to put their possessions. Several self storage companies offer discounts or free rent for the first month, partially in an attempt to offer some relief to new tenants who may be facing foreclosure, unemployment, or who are recovering from other crises. [More]

Are Foreclosures Fair? “Robo-Signers” Confess Amid Mortgage Company Investigations and Fraud, Forgery Allegations

by Holly Robinson September 23, 2010 11:51 PM
There are many reasons, happy and sad, to become a self storage tenant, but one of the saddest must be to have to put belongings in self storage because your home has been foreclosed on. But in a recession economy, foreclosures seem to have become the new American experience, with millions of Americans from all walks of life losing their homes. Self storage companies have stepped up to the plate, offering storage to families who are going through a transition from one home to another, providing the first month or two of storage at a discount while families struggle to get back on their feet, and providing discounts to families with special circumstances, such as military families. Families who use self storage typically do so temporarily, while they are in transition, with the average self storage tenancy for an individual or family lasting about 11 months, according to industry statistics published last May in NuWire Investor.

Now it is becoming clear that one subset of self storage customers -- families who have lost their homes to foreclosure -- may have been improperly evicted from their homes in a deeply flawed foreclosure process that does not allow for careful and thorough review of mortgage documents and records to occur before the eviction process begins. Some bank employees are signing off on foreclosure documents without first going through the documents to make sure that the foreclosure is truly justified. Some of the foreclosures that have been processed over the last few years not only were processed far too quickly and sloppily, but are not even legal, because some files contained documents that were forged, signatures that were forged, names of made-up companies and employees from those companies, and affidavits that were signed without the presence of a notary (or that were signed by a notary several days after the initial signature that the notary was supposed to have witnessed). [More]

Families Turn to Self Storage After Falling Prey to Loan Modification Scams

by Tony Gonzalez July 7, 2010 3:21 PM
The nation is slowly coming out of the recession, and unemployment rates are starting to drop. But many people, even after getting a new job, are struggling to catch up on their debts -- especially back mortgage payments. Bankruptcy rates are slowly rising. All too many families, seeking bankruptcy protection or trying to avoid foreclosures, have fallen prey to financial scams. One common scam occurs when a company takes money from a family, agrees to make arrangements for a mortgage loan modification with the bank or lender, and then does nothing, letting the property go into foreclosure. Ironically, some people have gone into foreclosure or bankruptcy right after becoming employed again. Many such families have turned to self storage facilities at the last minute, storing their possessions while looking for a place to live. [More]

Alligator Self Storage (UK) Announces Plans to Expand

by Kim Kilpatrick March 23, 2010 3:40 PM
Alligator Self Storage, a Scottish self storage chain, has announced that it plans to expand into two or three more sites this year. It has already acquired 12 new locations over the past several months, thanks to the tireless efforts of founder Alister Jack. Jack financed the acquisition of the 12 new locations, which came from Australian investment bank Macquarie, with 20 million from Merrill Lynch (through Bank of America).

“We have the ability to finance the acquisition of more sites,” Jack told Scott Reid of Scotland on Sunday yesterday. “We would like to buy two or three in the next year, though there’s quite a bit to do in terms of integrating the latest sites.” [More]