Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed into legislation this week a bill amending the California self storage lien law. The legislation (AB 655) was championed by the California Self Storage Association with significant funding support from the international Self Storage Association. The law addresses the "Declaration in Opposition” provision of the lien law resulting in a more cost-effective process and eliminating the number of baseless "declaration” scenarios. It also provides for a more reasonably-priced lien notification method. Storage operators will need to revise their current lien procedures by the law's January 1, 2011 effective date.
"We believe that the updates to the law will create a more efficient and cost effective process for operators and their tenants to communicate when customers have fallen behind in their rent,” says Shelley Geiler, president of the CSSA, board member of the SSA and a partner of SoCal Self Storage and SSA board member. "We could not have been successful in this endeavor without the joint effort of the national self storage association and the incredible support we received from our membership.”
Previously self storage lien circumstances where the "declaration” had been employed were settled in superior court creating a lengthy and expensive legal course of action. The new law enables self storage operators to resolve lien and auction disputes in small claims court. Taking into account the typical number of lien situations each year, the potential savings from the new process will be thousands of dollars for each facility and millions annually throughout the state. Also under the new law, verification of delivery of lien notices can be satisfied through certificate of mailing rather than certified mail, a much more costly method.
"We congratulate our partners of the California Self Storage Association for all of their hard work in streamlining that state's lien law,” said Michael T. Scanlon, Jr., president & CEO of the SSA. "The national SSA is working from state-to-state to modernize many of the lien laws so that they are fair to storage operators and take advantage of today's more efficient technologies.”
According to Jim McNamee, president of West Coast Self Storage and past president of the CSSA, "It was a lengthy three year battle for these common sense changes to become law; however it was well worth it. The passage of this bill is a win-win, and will save self storage operators and their customers time and money.”