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In case you haven’t heard, the California self storage community is about to be rocked by some pretty major changes. Contrary to what you might think, though, all of these changes are good! That’s right: Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has amended the laws surrounding self storage lien disputes—amended them in such a way that all self storage properties (both big and small) are going to see some major savings in the coming year. Switching from certified mail to certificates of mailing (when they send a lien notice) is going to save California’s self storage industry nearly $2 million (just about $480 per store); likewise, settling lien disputes in small claims court (rather than the superior courts) is going to save them a genuine fortune—all told, about $8 million dollars. Truly, if those aren’t some major changes, then I don’t know what they are!
But what, you might ask, does all of this mean for the consumer? If you’re not a self storage owner (or a larger real estate company), are any of these changes going to have an effect on you? Might you, yourself, get your fair share of the savings? Are the savings going to affect your self storage experience? The honest answer, reader, is a solid maybe.
If I had to speculate on how these savings are going to affect the market for self storage (and please bear in mind that these are only speculations), I’d have to make the following admission: I would not be the least bit surprised if these savings led self storage owners to improve their properties a bit—you know, to patch up some of the rough spots. That’s right, reader: I’m telling you to raise your expectations.
Bear in mind, here, that the self storage industry isn’t saving all of this money by lowering its operational costs—not in the slightest bit. They’re saving this money because the lien system has changed—because they don’t have to pay quite as much for certified mail and attorneys. Think of these savings, if you will, as a bonus of sorts. Think of them as capital that can and should be reinvested into self storage properties for the sole purpose of improving the quality of the service.
I implore you, reader, to exercise a bit more discretion when you’re shopping around for self storage in California. Now that the savings are in, you shouldn’t have to label things like video surveillance cameras as luxuries. You should not have to worry about whether or not the pot hole in the parking lot is going to pop the tire of your moving truck. You should not have to worry about whether or not your self storage property has an adequate selection of locks—good, safe locks that are going to keep your belongings safe when you’re gone. These facets of the service are not luxuries; they’re the very things that define it!
There’s no need to be overly critical, so I’ll have to cut myself off at this point. My simple message is that when you hear about a local industry that’s set to save around $10 million dollars in operational costs (without changing the nature of the service that it provides), you should be able to expect some major changes in the near future.
It’s the simplest points that we’re inclined to forget, wouldn’t you say?
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