Self-Storage Auctions/after leins and attempted contact's exhausted what is needed for Auctioning Unit
QUESTION: After Leins have been mailed certified and several other attempts to contact family of Deceased Tenant. What Info Needs To be placed In ad for an Auction? As This will be our first auction, do we need to also send family members a notice of the Auction date even though there is no will or estate that has been established? Also how much advertising do we actually need to do prior to auction? Is 1 or 2 ads in local Papers and on our billboard sufficient enough advertisement. Our storage facility is located in Washington state. Your help in answering these questions will be greatly appreciated.
Chuck M. (Flying Dutchman Self Storage)
ANSWER: Chuck Sorry for the delay, I was out of state and away from my office.
You can look on the internet for selfstorage.org get Revised code of Washington
Title 19 RCW Business Regulations ---Miscellaneous Chapter 19.150 RCW Self-Service Storage Facilities. This should help Explain the process. Note: How do you Know this person is Deceased? On the contract that the tenant signed did they give you a alternative contact information. Is the estate going to probate and how do you know.
In the State of Washington the statue states that if the merchandise is Less then $300 value the owner which is you can dispose of it. (you may want to get a second opinion to protect yourself).
If you haven't received official death notification how do you know they're deceased. I've heard the excuse from a tenant who's mother died 3 times.
Noting official means the tenant is delinquent, follow the Washington State storage lien process. You have right to proceed with the lien process. If know one produced any paper work to the contrary I'd sell the stuff.
Next if someone just comes in, states they have A claim to the stuff (A family member# without being the rightful owner #showing Proper paper work) You could give the stuff to the wrong family member which would open yourself up to problems.
Exercise your lien process if you can if the thing goes to probate the stuff could be in the unit for some time. Without knowing all the information makes this a problem.
Sorry I couldn't give you a better answer, But if Unless I had a stop order or something to prove the death, I'd want to sell the stuff using the lien process.
---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------
QUESTION: I have a copy of the death certificate for the tenant. I also have several copies of The revised code of Washington and it does not give the information on 1-what info needs to be in an ad to hold an auction,2-how much advertising we need to do prior to auction,3-or how long to advertise. 4-If we even need to advertise at all? We made arrangements with the tenants son to make payments on the unit so he could have the property. He made a couple then disappeared. I then found a step daughter and made payment arrangements with her so she could have the property. She initially made a few and then fell on hard times. Then a couple of months ago the daughter passed away(which I have a copy of her death certificate as well.) I spoke with a sister of the original deceased tenant and she told me there was no will or estate for the deceased tenant. She also sent me a letter stating that she had no interest in the unit and understood we needed to sell it and try to get some of the money owed back. If the property has value of more than $300.00 5-can the owner of the facility be the auctioneer during the auction or 6-does it have to be a 3rd party certified auctioneer? So again if you could answer my questions I would be greatly appreciative.
Chuck M. (Flying Dutchman Self Storage)
1st Self Storage Association has a Storage lien Book for many States, Which they have one for Washington State. Spend the small amount of money to get that book, it's well worth the investment. These books are written in a user friendly manner which will help you with the Washington state lien process. They also have several other very useful books with forms that will help every storage facility owner.
I also went to the Washington state information which the information I looked at didn't state what was required other then the information that Must be in a letter sent 1st by first class mail and then auction demand payment Letter sent by Certified mail 14 days before the sale of the contents. as per (Self Storage Association Washington State# listed on the Internet.
In most state the tenants name a brief description of the contents the date and time of the auction. The Storage company name, address & Phone #.
Because the tenant is deceased You may want to place a notice in the local news paper of general circulation stating anyone with legal claim to the content of tenants name deceased contact the storage facility.
In most states advertising is 1 day 2 consecutive weeks pryer to the auction day.
The Storage Owner of their representative can Auction the unit off But A Auctioneer which Specializes in the storage lien process can help to protect the storage company with their knowledge of storage lien process and Auction Law. # Note if you went to court for robbery would you hire a lawyer or represent Yourself) and remember the expense of a Knowledgeable auctioneer is paid by the tenant proceeds OR if You get more then what is owed You can hold it for 6 month and then send the extra into the state. The Auctioneer is going to advertise your sale to the bidders which will bring in more buyers, if the auctioneer doesn't you selected the wrong auctioneer.
Please get the informational books for storage lien sale for you state and check out some of the other books the Self Storage Association has. They are well worth the Money.
I would send the demand letter to any address you may have for the tenant stating the date and time of the lien sale, Post the information in a local news paper of general circulation stating tenant information and sale date. You may get a stop sale notice due to death and You'll have to wait for the Estate to go to Probate.
You have one of the nightmares of the year.
GOOD LUCK! I Hope the information Helps. Thanks