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California Self Storage Association

State of Emergency, Moratoriums, Price Gouging

With the daunting amount of news and information coming at you constantly it is impossible for any one person to keep up. Our team curates and alerts you to the "must have” information to ensure you are in the know. Having relevant, current information helps you to make the best decisions possible.

  • Tuesday, April 13, 2021 11:21 AM | Ross Hutchings (Administrator)

    OES Price Gouging Chart:

    https://www.caloes.ca.gov/cal-oes-divisions/legal-affairs/price-gouging

  • Thursday, March 25, 2021 5:36 AM | Ross Hutchings (Administrator)

    Governor Newsom Extends EO N-81--20

    The protections against price gouging as set forth in Executive Order N-81-20 were extended through May 22, 2021.  See below from the Governor’s office:

    On March 24, 2021 Governor Gavin Newsom issued an executive order to further assist communities across the state recovering from devastating wildfires last year. The order extends the state’s prohibition on price gouging for counties impacted by various wildfires in August and September 2020.

    The full text of today’s executive order can be found here and a copy can be found here.

    https://www.gov.ca.gov/2021/03/24/governor-newsom-issues-executive-order-to-support-communities-recovering-from-wildfires-3-24-21/.

    Naomi Padron

    Legislative Advocate

    McHugh Koepke & Associates

    1121 L Street, Suite 103

    Sacramento, CA 95814

    (916) 930-1993

    www.mchughgr.com


  • Tuesday, February 09, 2021 4:27 PM | Ross Hutchings (Administrator)

    The City of El Monte passed this Urgency Ordinance the week of February 8, 2021 which places a temporary moratorium on self storage evictions.


  • Friday, January 29, 2021 11:42 AM | Ross Hutchings (Administrator)

    NOTE: This is an extension of the already existing statewide residential eviction moratorium and does not apply to self storage liens, unless you live in a city or county that has a moratorium - look up your city or county HERE to discover if you have one in your area. 


    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

    Contact: Governor's Press Office

    Friday, January 29, 2021

    (916) 445-4571

    Governor Newsom Signs Legislation to Extend Eviction Moratorium and Assist Tenants and Small Property Owners Impacted by COVID-19

    Legislation extends statewide eviction moratorium through June 30, 2021 and protects tenants’ credit

    Creates State Rental Assistance Program to allocate $2.6 billion in federal rental assistance dollars to assist struggling tenants and small property owners

    SACRAMENTO – Governor Gavin Newsom today signed legislation to extend the state’s landmark eviction moratorium through June 30, 2021, protecting millions of Californians struggling as a result of the economic hardships brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. With the passage of SB 91, California leads all states by enacting the strongest renter protections in the nation.

    “Once again, California is leading the way by enacting the strongest eviction protections in the nation, which will provide relief for millions of Californians dealing with financial difficulties as a result of COVID-19,” said Governor Newsom. “This law not only provides greatly needed support for tenants, but also provides relief to small property owners in need of assistance to pay for mortgages, thanks to $2.6 billion in federal stimulus funding.”

    On Monday, Governor Newsom, Senate President pro Tempore Toni Atkins and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon announced an agreement on the legislation to extend the eviction moratorium established last year under AB 3088, which was set to expire at the end of the month.

    “Today, we took the boldest action in the nation to protect California renters and support mom and pop landlords, but we know that we have more work to do and that we need to help the folks hurting in our communities understand how to access this critically-needed help,” said Senate President pro Tempore Atkins. “This is an important step. But it’s not the last step, and we will keep working on this issue so that no one has to walk this path alone.”

    The legislation signed today pauses evictions for tenants who declare under penalty of perjury an inability to pay all or part of the rent due to a COVID-related reason. Tenants are still responsible for paying unpaid amounts to property owners, but those unpaid amounts cannot be the basis for an eviction, even after the moratorium ends.

    SB 91 also establishes the State Rental Assistance Program to allocate the $2.6 billion in federal rental assistance California will receive. The program will target aid to income-qualified tenants most at-risk with unpaid back rent. Assistance will also be extended to property owners who agree to waive 20 percent of unpaid rent. By agreeing to this waiver, property owners will become eligible for 80 percent in rent reimbursements for amounts owed between April 1, 2020 and March 31, 2021.

    "Those of us pushing to get this done knew that there were literally homes and lives at stake. I am grateful for the collaboration that helped us succeed in the face of a very tight deadline. Our work is not over- we must push to find more lasting solutions that protect Californians at risk,” said Speaker Rendon.

    Approximately $150 million of the federal funds will be reserved for tenants in counties with populations of 200,000 or less and the additional funds will be available to counties with populations larger than 200,000. The state will directly administer $1.5 billion through contracted entities, and local governments can either join forces with the state or administer their own programs. The State Rental Assistance Program will begin accepting applications from property owners and tenants in March.

    SB 91 prohibits the selling or assigning of rental debt that was accrued from March 1, 2020 through June 30, 2021 until the end of the moratorium. However, the prohibition is permanent with respect to the rental debt of people at or below 80 percent of Area Median Income who meet the eligibility requirements of the Rental Assistance Program. Property owners or other housing providers are also prohibited from using COVID-19 related debt as a negative factor for evaluating a housing application, or as the basis for refusing to rent to an otherwise qualified tenant.

    The Governor signed the following bills into law today:

    ·         SB 89 by Senator Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley) – Budget Act of 2020.

    ·         SB 91 by the Committee on Budget and Fiscal Review – COVID-19 relief: tenancy: federal rental assistance.

    Today’s legislation and AB 3088 build on the state’s strongest-in-the-nation rent cap and eviction protections passed by the Legislature and signed into law by the Governor in 2019. Continuing efforts to address the housing availability and affordability crisis that has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Governor’s proposed 2021-22 State Budget provides $500 million for infill infrastructure and an additional $500 million in low-income housing tax credits to support low-income housing development. The Administration is streamlining and reorganizing state housing programs to maximize housing production, while also continuing to support affordable housing.

    The Governor has signed major legislation to boost housing production, remove barriers to construction of accessory dwelling units and create an ongoing source of funding for borrower relief and legal aid to vulnerable homeowners and renters. The 2019-20 State Budget made a historic $1.75 billion investment in new housing and created major incentives for cities to approve new home construction. In the first weeks of his administration, Governor Newsom signed an executive order that created an inventory of all excess state land and the Administration has launched partnerships with California cities to develop affordable housing on that land.

    California has launched the “Housing is Key” campaign in vulnerable communities aimed at connecting renters and property owners with helpful information and resources.

    ###

    Governor Gavin Newsom
    State Capitol Building
    Sacramento, CA 95814


  • Monday, January 25, 2021 1:39 PM | Ross Hutchings (Administrator)

    NOTE: This is an extension of the already existing statewide residential eviction moratorium and does not apply to self storage liens, unless you live in a city or county that has a moratorium - look up your city or county HERE to discover if you have one in your area. 

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

    Contact: Governor's Press Office

    Monday, January 25, 2021

    (916) 445-4571

    Governor Newsom, Legislative Leaders Issue Statement on Eviction Moratorium Extension

    SACRAMENTO – Governor Gavin Newsom, Senate President pro Tempore Toni Atkins and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon today issued the following joint statement on the extension of the eviction moratorium to protect Californians impacted by COVID-19:

    “COVID-19 continues to devastate communities across our state and too many Californians remain one paycheck away from losing their apartments or homes. These families need protection and relief now. 

    “Today, we are announcing an agreement to extend the eviction moratorium in California through June 30, 2021 – protecting tenants and small landlords from losing their housing as the nation continues to confront the pandemic. We are also moving forward as quickly as possible to deploy California’s share of the latest federal stimulus bill – ensuring that up to $2.6 billion in renter aid is administered quickly, equitably and accountably.  

    “These critically needed federal funds, targeted to the most at-risk households with unpaid back rent, will help tenants stay afloat during and after this pandemic. Income-qualified tenants and their landlords can choose to receive direct rental assistance in exchange for forgiving prior rental debt.  

    “While we are proud of this agreement, which maintains California’s COVID eviction protections as the strongest statewide rules in the nation, our work is far from over. This eviction moratorium and rapid deployment of funds to the most at-risk are among our top priorities. But we have more work to do, together, to tackle the structural housing cost crisis in California. The pandemic exacerbated these issues, it did not create them. And our work to address these fundamental issues must continue with urgency and resolve. 

    “We thank the many stakeholders who have engaged in this process for the past several months, and we recommit ourselves to the work ahead to maintain California’s position as the most compassionate, progressive state in America.” 

    ###

    Governor Gavin Newsom
    State Capitol Building
    Sacramento, CA 95814


  • Monday, January 25, 2021 1:28 PM | Ross Hutchings (Administrator)

    SB 91 was just amended to extended the deadline in AB 3088 to June 1st. 

    https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billTextClient.xhtml?bill_id=202120220SB91


  • Wednesday, December 30, 2020 5:19 PM | Ross Hutchings (Administrator)

    View this email in a web browser     |     Forward to a friend    

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

    Contact: Governor's Press Office

    Wednesday, December 30, 2020

    (916) 445-4571

    Governor Newsom Issues Executive Order to Support Communities Recovering from Wildfires

    SACRAMENTO – Governor Gavin Newsom today issued an executive order to further assist communities across the state recovering from devastating wildfires dating back to 2017. The order extends the state’s prohibition on price gouging for Butte, Los Angeles, Mendocino, Napa, Sonoma and Ventura counties.

     

    The full text of today’s executive order can be found here and a copy can be found here. 

     

     

    ###

    Governor Gavin Newsom
    State Capitol Building
    Sacramento, CA 95814


  • Friday, September 11, 2020 11:41 AM | Ross Hutchings (Administrator)

    State of California Department of Justice, Office of the Attorney General Xavier Becerra

    News Release

    September 11, 2020

    For Immediate Release
    (916) 210-6000
    agpressoffice@doj.ca.gov

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    Print Version

    Attorney General Becerra Issues Consumer Alert on Price Gouging Following State of Emergency Declaration in Siskiyou County

    SACRAMENTO – California Attorney General Xavier Becerra issued a consumer alert following the Governor’s declaration of a state of emergency for the County of Siskiyou due to fires. The fires have burned over 120,000 acres, destroyed homes and other structures, and forced the evacuation of thousands of residents. Attorney General Becerra reminds all Californians that price gouging during a state of emergency is illegal under Penal Code Section 396.

    “Families in Siskiyou County are in the midst of dealing with multiple devastating wildfires, forcing thousands to evacuate their homes. They shouldn’t have to worry about whether they’re being illegally cheated out of fair prices,” said Attorney General Becerra. “Our state’s price gouging law protects people impacted by an emergency from illegal price gouging on housing, gas, food, and other essential supplies. I encourage anyone who has been the victim of price gouging, or who has information regarding potential price gouging, to immediately file a complaint with our office online at oag.ca.gov/report, or to contact their local police department or sheriff’s office.”

    California law generally prohibits charging a price that exceeds, by more than 10 percent, the price of an item before a state or local declaration of emergency. This law applies to those who sell food, emergency supplies, medical supplies, building materials, and gasoline. The law also applies to repair or reconstruction services, emergency cleanup services, transportation, freight and storage services, hotel accommodations, and rental housing. Exceptions to this prohibition exist if, for example, the price of labor, goods, or materials has increased for the business.

    Violators of the price gouging statute are subject to criminal prosecution that can result in a one-year imprisonment in county jail and/or a fine of up to $10,000. Violators are also subject to civil enforcement actions including civil penalties of up to $2,500 per violation, injunctive relief, and mandatory restitution. The Attorney General and local district attorneys can enforce the statute.


  • Thursday, August 27, 2020 9:37 AM | Ross Hutchings (Administrator)

    Can I Conduct Lien Sales and Charge Late Fees During the Coronavirus Pandemic?

    Joe Doherty posted on 8/25/2020 4:44:00 PM

    Lien Sales & Late Fees During the Coronavirus Pandemic

    As the coronavirus (Covid 19) has spread throughout the United States, several states and localities have enacted restrictions on foreclosures and evictions. Many of these orders that have been issued to date exclusively cover residential evictions and foreclosures. However, some states have expanded those restrictions to cover commercial or non-residential evictions and foreclosures as well. Some of the commercial / non-residential eviction or foreclosure moratoriums may prevent operators from conducting self storage liens sales, performing overlocks, or imposing late fees.

    Although self storage lien sales are not evictions in the usual sense of that word, SSA urges all operators to exercise great caution if they operate in an area covered by a moratorium on commercial or non-residential evictions or foreclosures.

    First, self storage lien sales are a form of non-judicial foreclosure. Therefore, an order that imposes a foreclosure moratorium may apply to self storage lien sales. Second, the overall intent of many government restrictions at this time is to keep people at home as much as possible. It arguably frustrates the intent of the orders if a landlord creates a situation that forces a tenant to leave home for a non-essential purpose. Third, the orders are often hastily drafted and vague and do not define the term “eviction”, “foreclosure”, or other key terms in the orders. The overall intent, coupled with the vague wording, indicates that the term “eviction” or “foreclosure” is meant to cover any unilateral action by an operator that terminates a rental agreement. This certainly covers lien sales, even if the primary purpose of a lien sale is to recover unpaid rents.

    The sheer volume or orders, especially from local governments, makes it difficult to provide a comprehensive list of jurisdictions that have enacted eviction or foreclosure moratoriums. Additionally, in the interest of space, we did not include local orders that affect only residential evictions or lawsuits filed to evict a tenant.

    We intend to update this document frequently to include new orders and previous orders we missed. Please email Daniel Bryant and Joe Doherty if you believe any orders are missing.

    California 

    • Governor issued an order, issuing a statewide moratorium on residential evictions. 
    • Governor also issued an executive order and a subsequent extension that authorizes local governments to pause evictions for residential and commercial tenants. The protection is in effect through September 30, 2020.
    • Pursuant to the Governor’s order, tenants are still obligated to pay rent, and landlords can still recover rent that is due. The order only applies to the imposition of limitations on evictions when the basis for the eviction is nonpayment of rent, or a foreclosure, arising out of a substantial decrease in household or business income (including, but not limited to, a substantial decrease in household income caused by layoffs or a reduction in the number of compensable hours of work, or a substantial decrease in business income caused by a reduction in opening hours or consumer  demand), or substantial out-of-pocket medical expenses; and the decrease in household or business income or the out-of-pocket medical expenses was caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, or by any local, state, or federal government response to COVID-19, and is documented.
    • In other words, the statewide order limits local governments to protecting tenants that provide a COVID-19 related reason for non-payment. If the tenant does not provide such a reason, a California operator can likely proceed with the lien process against that tenant. However, operators should carefully review the local orders linked to below to determine the exact protections available to tenants in the jurisdictions where the operator does business.
    • Commercial evictions and commercial and residential foreclosures are suspended only as set forth by local governments. Some of the local orders provide protections past the statewide date of September 30, 2020. A complete list of California orders can be found here.

    Livermore, CA 

    • The Director of Emergency Services issued an order stating that “no landlord or lessor shall endeavor to evict a commercial tenant for nonpayment of rent, limit their physical access to personal property or conduct lien sales, including but not limited to any such provisions under.... Business and Professions Code section 21700 et seq., if the tenant or lessee demonstrates that the inability to pay rent is due to, or arising out of, a substantial decrease in business income or substantial out of pocket medical expense, or extraordinary child care needs, any of which was caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, or by any local, state, or federal government response to COVID-19, and is documented in writing.”
    • A landlord who knows that a tenant cannot pay some or all of the rent temporarily for the reasons set forth above shall not serve a notice pursuant to . . . Business and Professions Code section 21703 as applicable, . . . conduct a lien sale, or otherwise seek to evict or terminate a rental agreement for nonpayment of rent during the period of the local emergency and while this Order is in place.
    • A landlord is presumed to know of a tenant’s inability to pay rent within the meaning of this Order if the tenant or mobile homeowner, within 30 days after the date that rent is due, notifies the landlord in writing of tenant’s inability to pay full rent because of a substantial decrease in business income, or out of pocket medical expenses caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, or extraordinary child care needs, or by any local, state, or federal government response to COVID-19, and provides documentation to support the claim. Any medical or financial information provided to the landlord shall be held in confidence and only used for evaluating the tenant’s claim.
    • A landlord is also prohibited from retaliating against a tenant that qualifies for the protections set forth in this order during the term of the moratorium. For example, a landlord, and any of the landlord’s employees or agents, is prohibited from terminating utilities or blocking physical access to personal property to a qualified tenant protected by this moratorium.
    • The order remains in effect until September 30.

    City of Los Angeles, CA 

    • The Los Angeles City Council passed an ordinance requiring self storage owners to defer rent if a tenant is unable to pay for a COVID-related reason and provides documentation to the owner no later than seven days after the rent is due.
    • The deferral lasts until three months after the local emergency period.
    • The ordinance prohibits late fees on deferred rent.
    • The ordinance also requires that owners provide notice of the ordinance to their tenants.
    • Owners in Los Angeles are strongly encouraged to consult with legal counsel before proceeding with lockouts or lien sales. 

    Los Angeles County, CA 

    • The Board of Supervisors ratified an Executive Order stating that no residential or commercial property owner shall evict a residential or commercial tenant for: (1) nonpayment of rent, late charges, or any other fees accrued if the Tenant demonstrates an inability to pay rent and/or related charges due to financial impacts related to COVID-19, the state of emergency regarding COVID-19, or following government-recommended COVID-19 precautions, and the Tenant has provided notice to the Landlord within seven (7) days after the date that rent was due, unless extenuating circumstances exist, that the Tenant is unable to pay; or (2) reasons amounting to a no-fault eviction under the County Code, unless necessary for health and safety reasons.
    • The order defines “no-fault  eviction” as  any eviction for which the notice to terminate  tenancy  is not based on alleged fault  by  the  Tenant,  including but not  limited  to,  eviction  notices  served pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure section 1161 et seq. or County Code.
    • The Board later amended the Executive Order to cover the unincorporated areas of L.A. County and the incorporated cities without a local eviction moratorium.
    • The amended order prohibits a landlord from charging late fees on unpaid rent.
    • The amended order also states that “a commercial tenant includes, but is not limited to, a tenant using a property as a storage facility for commercial purposes.”
    • The order provides tenants with 12 months after the expiration of the order to repay their unpaid rent.
    • The L.A. Count order, as amended, may affect lien sales and late fees, particularly as applied to business tenants. Consultation with your legal counsel is strongly advised before proceeding with any lien activity.

    Ontario, CA

    §  The City Council ordered that no landlord shall endeavor to evict a storage unit patron (including a lien sale), in accordance with the ordinance, if the storage unit patron demonstrates that the inability to pay rent or fees is due to COVID-19, the state of emergency regarding COVID-19, or following government recommended COVID-19 precautions. To take advantage of these protections, the patron must satisfy all of the following requirements: 

    1.       Prior to April 7, the patron paid rent due to the storage unit operator pursuant to an agreement. 

    2.       The patron notifies the storage unit operator in writing before the rent is due, or within a reasonable period of time afterwards not to exceed 7 days, that the patron needs to delay all or some payment of rent because of an inability to pay the full amount due to reasons related to COVID-19, including but not limited to the following: 

    • ·         The patron was unavailable to work because the patron was sick with a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19 or caring for a household or family member who was sick with a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19;
    • ·         The patron experienced a lay-off, loss of hours, or other income reduction resulting from COVID-19, the state of emergency, or related government response; orThe patron needed to miss work to care for a child whose school was closed in response to COVID-19. 

    3.       The patron retains verifiable documentation, such as termination notices, payroll checks, pay stubs, bank statements, medical bills, or signed letters or statements from an employer or supervisor explaining the patron’s changed financial circumstances, to support the patron’s assertion of an inability to pay. This documentation may be provided to the storage unit operator no later than the time of payment of back-due rent. 

    §  If a storage unit patron complies with the requirements above, a storage unit operator shall not do any of the following: 

    1.       Prevent a storage unit patron from accessing their stored items during the normal hours of operation of the storage unit facility; or 

    2.       Send to the storage unit patron a Notice of Lien Sale pursuant to Business and Professions Code, Division 8, Chapter 10, or any other applicable statute regulating storage unit operators. 

    3.     Conduct a Lien Sale pursuant to Business and Professions Code, Division 8, Chapter 10, or any other applicable statute regulating storage unit operators. 

    §  For purposes of this ordinance, “in writing” includes email or text communications to a landlord or the landlord’s representative with whom the tenant has previously corresponded by email or text. Any medical or financial information provided to the landlord shall be held in confidence, and only used for evaluating the tenant's claim. 

    §  The patron is not relieved of liability for unpaid storage fees, which the operator may seek after expiration of the local emergency and the patron must pay within six months of the expiration of the local emergency. Six months after the end of the emergency if the rent or storage fees are unpaid, an operator may charge or collect a late fee for rent/fees that is delayed for the reasons stated in the ordinance; or an operator may seek rent or storage fees that is delayed for the reasons stated in the ordinance through the eviction or other appropriate legal process.

    §  The order remains in effect until further notice.

    Pasadena, CA

    • City Council passed an ordinance stating that “no landlord shall endeavor to evict a commercial tenant for non-payment of rent if a commercial tenant is unable to pay rent due to financial impacts related to COVID-19.”
    • “Tenant” means a person, partnership, corporation, family trust or other business entity entitled by a written or oral agreement to occupy a rental unit to the exclusion of others, and actually occupy said rental unit for residential or commercial purposes (including, but not limited to, a self-storage facility, as defined by Pasadena Municipal Code Section 17.80.020).
    • The Pasadena Municipal Code defines self-storage as “a structure containing separate storage space that is designed to be leased or rented individually in an enclosed building. This use does not include outdoor storage or recreational vehicles, boats, personal watercraft, motorcycles, or trailers.”
    • A landlord shall give written notice of the protections afforded by this ordinance to each tenant no later than 30 days after its effective date. In lieu of providing written notice to each tenant's rental unit, a landlord may conspicuously post and prominently display such notice in the common areas of the property during the pendency of this local emergency.
    • A landlord knows of a tenant’s inability to pay rent if the tenant, within 30 days after the date that rent is due, notifies the landlord in writing of lost income and inability to pay full rent due to financial impacts related to COVID-19, and provides documentation to support the claim. Any medical or financial information provided to the landlord shall be held in confidence, and only used for evaluating the tenant's claim.
    • The tenant must pay any unpaid rent within six months after the local state of emergency ends.
    • The landlord cannot charge late fees, deny a tenant access to the premises, or move or convert the tenant’s possessions.


  • Thursday, August 27, 2020 9:34 AM | Ross Hutchings (Administrator)

      

    What are a Landlord's Obligations to its Tenants During the COVID-19 Pandemic?

    By Scott I. Zucker

    As we move into the fifth month of the pandemic there remain conflicting signs of our future. Infections are rising, deaths are mounting while research institutes and pharmaceutical companies race to find a cure through a vaccine. In the interim, we seek to find normalcy with working from home, creating virtual classrooms for our children, wearing masks while shopping, and enjoying outside-only dining at restaurants.

    For those invested and working in the self-storage sector of the industry, while we may have learned that our business was "essential" (at least under some definitions), the pandemic has left us with anxious tenants, un-visited facilities, increasing rent defaults and a new list of maintenance and safety protocols. COVID-19 has also left us with certain new and unique questions about the obligations of being a landlord.

    One of the first issues is how to handle late fees and the enforcement of the owner's lien due to a rent default. Significantly, with the imposition of multiple ambiguous and inconsistent statewide and municipal orders, the pandemic has led to either no late fees and no lien sales being imposed by operators for the last five months or the sporadic and cautious return of the owner's enforcement of its contractual and statutory rights in response to defaulting tenants.  Guidance on this issue has been difficult, since none of the laws that seek to protect struggling residential tenants or even small businesses truly intend to forgive a tenant's obligation to pay its rent or forestall a landlord from its right to be paid. But many hastily drafted executive orders, court orders and even state laws have resulted in confusing and incomplete directives as to the right that a self-storage operator may have when it comes to enforcing its contractual entitlement to late fees and, more importantly, its statutory self-help remedy of foreclosing on its lien over its tenant's stored goods. At this juncture, the only appropriate answer to the question of "Can I sell?" would be to thoroughly review and consider any statewide orders or laws that have been legislated as well as any orders or laws that may have been issued by local municipalities where the facility is located. As an interim measure, it is widely recommended that all lien notices be updated to include certain COVID-19 language to allow tenants to respond to a facility's default notice. The language might read something like: "If you are unable to pay your account in full because you were financially impacted by the COVID-19 Pandemic, please contact us to discuss your situation. Please note that in order to assist you, it will be necessary for you to provide us with medical confirmation if you or a family member had the virus or employment records if you became unemployed."

    The other issue that a self-storage landlord needs to consider is the risk of virus contact at the facility. Although the potential liability for asserting that a virus contact arose at a facility (as compared to a grocery store or even at home though another family member) is truly small, there is still a burden imposed on a self-storage operator, like all business owners, to ensure their property is, through ordinary care, as safe as possible. This is why operators are encouraged to develop cleaning protocols at their facilities where doors, handles, pin-pads and other surfaces are regularly cleaned and the operator creates an ongoing maintenance log to document these good faith, regular efforts at sanitation. Included in this ongoing documentation is the tracking and notice to employees and tenants of any recent visitors to the property that have tested as positive for the virus. Although there appears to be no law to require it, if that is the case and the facility is notified, it would be recommended that the facility post a notice acknowledging that the facility received notice that an infected person was on the premises and, since notification, the facility (and the areas where the person traveled on the property) have been sanitized for cleanliness. The decision to notify as compared to not notify may seem burdensome, but the benefit of making that disclosure (thereby permitting the tenant to make its own decision to enter) may ultimately create the difference between a successful or unsuccessful tenant injury claim. 

    Stay Safe and Happy Storing!

    Scott 


California Self Storage Association

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Sacramento, CA 95842

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