What Self-Storage Owners Should Know About the SCRA

Owners and landlords of storage facilities can benefit greatly from being familiar with the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, also known as the Civil Service Relief Act. Armed with this knowledge, they can ensure their money collection activities comply with federal law.
‘Owners and landlords of storage facilities can benefit greatly from being familiar with the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, also known as the Civil Service Relief Act.

Self-storage owners who familiarize themselves with the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act increase their chances of avoiding fines and fees associated with violations of this law.

Self-Storage Owners and the SCRA

The SCRA protects active-duty military members from certain court actions. Besides Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, and Marines, those receiving protections include commissioned officers of the Public Health Service and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration actively serving the federal government, as well as reservists.

Besides fines and fees, SCRA violations can result in monetary damages, legal expenses, injunctions, liability for civil penalties and even imprisonment. In addition, violations can damage a business’s reputation.

The SCRA includes many provisions, some of which directly impact self-storage facilities.

Storage Sales

Under ordinary circumstances, self-storage owners can sell storage locker contents when the fees have not been paid. This approach can help recoup some of the lost revenue.

“The legislation contains provisions that directly impact self-storage facilities.”

To comply with local laws, self-storage operators often must sell the property at auction and notify the renter ahead of time. In these instances, renters frequently challenge the sale.

Self-storage clients might claim they have, in fact, paid the rent. Or they might claim the self-storage owner didn’t send a past-due notice. Other common complaints include that the sale advertisement was faulty or improper or incorrect information generated fewer bidders and less money from a sale.

However, servicemembers have additional rights. These require any owner or operator of a self-storage facility to get a court order before proceeding with any action.

If a servicemember is not making timely rent payments and the self-storage owner wants to use a lien to seize or sell the locker’s contents, they must obtain a court order first. This requirement covers the time the member of the military is on active duty, plus 90 days after the end of military duty.

In addition, the court can either postpone the lawsuit or address it in a way that benefits all parties involved.

Given this broad language, self-storage owners and operators can never be sure how the court will rule.

Getting the servicemember to sign a waiver for their SCRA rights ahead of time can help simplify the litigation process. But the rules that apply to these waivers are many, and must be followed exactly to avoid violations. Legal counsel on this matter is important.

Rely on the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act Centralized Verification Service if you’re a self-storage owner seeking to bring court actions against delinquent tenants.

To verify military status of an individual, log in to your account.
If you haven’t registered, you can register to obtain your military status verification here

Attorney Roy Kaufmann serves as the Director of the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act Centralized Verification Service, located in Washington, D.C. As a recognized authority on the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, Mr. Kaufmann has published hundreds of articles and hosted many webinars. His teachings help law firms and businesses to remain compliant with the SCRA rules and regulations so as to avoid costly fines.