So far this year, self-storage legislation has been signed into law in California, Illinois, Nevada and Tennessee. Now Maine has joined the mix. Legislative document 1428, “An Act to Amend the Laws Governing Self-Service Storage in the State,” was signed by Maine Governor Paul LePage and includes legal improvements for the state’s self storage facilities.
LD 1428, led by the Maine Self Storage Association (MeSSA) and the national Self Storage Association, included two major changes that entailed repealing the newspaper-publishing requirement for a notice of sale and defines “abandoned lease space,” “electronic mail” and “verified mail.”
MeSSA Vice President Mark Adler and Senate majority leader and bill sponsor Jon Courtney worked with lobbyists and pushed hard to get the legislation through.
“Right from the beginning, we were very confident,” said Rhonda Hallett Pope, MeSSA president. “We’re very excited about this. It makes things much more clear and easy to follow, and it will save [self-storage operators] a whole lot of money.”
Other changes in the legislation include:
• Adds all-terrain vehicles, off-road vehicles and recreational vehicles to the definition of "personal property."
• Determines that liens attach on the date the occupant leases the space.
• Allows the operator to access a delinquent storage unit after 45 days and make the determination of whether it has been abandoned and contains only trash or holds legitimate goods and should proceed to lien sale.
• Explains how to deal with motor vehicles; the self-storage operator may have the motor vehicle towed with no liability to any party.
• Revises the lien-notice requirements. Operators previously had to send two notices, one via Certified Mail and the other via First Class Mail. Operators must still send two notices, but the allowable methods have changed. One can be sent by any method that provides for verification of mailing, and the other can be sent by e-mail or First Class Mail.
• Reduces the amount of time that operators must hold a sale-proceeds balance from an indefinite period to only 90 days.
• Sets the maximum liability of the self-storage operator.
• Gives the operator the right to immediately take possession of the leased space and dispose of property if the occupant abandons the space.
In related news, last week Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval signed Senate Bill 150 revising the state’s self storage lien laws. Also championed by the national Self Storage Association (SSA), SB 150 allows, along with other changes, notification of sale by e-mail or a form of verified mail rather than more expensive Certified mail.
“Governor Signs New Self-Storage Legislation in Maine.” Inside Self-Storage. June 20, 2011.
“Nevada Governor Signs New Self-Storage Lien Law.” Inside Self-Storage. June 14, 2011.