13 Mar 2012

Florida changes lien laws

The show "Storage Wars" has cast a spotlight on the practice of selling storage units at auction, but many people don't realize what happens before these auctions start. Typically, the sale of a storage unit is the result of someone not paying their rental bill for several months. However, the laws in some states can make it difficult for self storage owners to track people down.

In Florida, for example, the current law states that the storage facility owner has to ensure that the person has received the notice of their impending sale, giving them a chance to settle their debt. The transfer of a storage unit and its contents is known as a lien – a term that refers to payment for a debt. Florida lawmakers sought to change the state's lien laws in order to make things a bit easier on the storage facility owners.

In the past, owners had to either hand-deliver the notice or send by certified mail and get the person's signature. This could be difficult with those who have skipped town or changed their address. In fact, those that changed their address were also required to either hand-deliver it or send in their form by certified mail. The new law allows this to be handled by email or first class mail.

The legislation passed in the House unanimously and will now go to the Governor to sign. If signed, it will go into effect July 1st.

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