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Self-Storage Auctions/Online Self-Storage Auctions in Texas

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Question
Hi Wayne,

As I understand it, many states (like Texas) have antiquated lien laws that do not adequately address the Internet.

Per Texas' current lien law, the storage auction must be held either at the storage facility or another nearby public place. However, I've noticed that many facilities in TX are going the online route.

So, facilities can hold online auctions concurrently with in-person auctions, but it is legal to hold an online auction instead of the in-person auction?

Have you worked at any of these online auctions?

What is your opinion of them? Do you think they're the future?

Thanks so much for your help!!

Best,
John

Answer
JOHN,

    WOW! I thought it was only a matter of time before this question would come about.
    There is the Storage Lien Law And Auction Law which is Involved with Liquidation Process.
Texas Just passed a change to the Auction Law stating online auctions need to be licensed, the way I read the change. This Online Storage Auction Company has opened up many legal questions to this and other questions of ONLINE STORAGE AUCTIONS. I just went on the site, Some units were listed over 17 days before they are to close. There are all these pictures, is the Storage company opening the door for lawsuit. (Storage companies by most state laws Must post on a public web site or in the news paper of general circulation, the tenants name and a brief description of what's in the unit Date and Time of the Lien Sale#.
Has the Storage Company contract been changed to allow multiple day online Auctions.
    The Online Auction Company / Online Program is only the format for selling Delinquent Storage units, The Online Company will state The Storage Company Representative posts the information on the Online Auction Web Site So all information #Listing & Pictures # are the responsibility of the storage company, they #The Online Web Site Co# are responsibility for the program.
    Many veteran buyers don't like the Online Storage Auctions & Won't bid because the Pictures always look better then what the units are and buyers can't smell the unit # Cat smells Etc.) on the Online Auction Format.
    There are plus and Minuses to the Online. Buyers can buy units without traveling to each Storage location saving Money and Time. Storage Company Representatives are taking more responsibility and in most cases are paying same amount for the online format as having a Live Auction. All the Buyers aren't at your location for the Auction but some of these people can be possible renters because they know who you are and where you are.
    We did a couple of Online Only Storage Auctions about 5 years ago, that is how we are aware of the Pros and Cons. At the time NO Storage Companies wanted to do the Online and the process went by the wayside.
    Is this the wave of the future? EBAY changed many things in the auction business which had Plus and Minuses. Everyone Complains about the cost increases and this new format after time will most likely change. Titled Items will be Done by the Storage company or will be sold as scrap or for parts only, if the state allows. We do Many Vehicle lien checks for the Storage Companies so buyers can get a title. Many Auction Companies advertise, promote the auctions they do. Storage companies by State Storage lien laws are required to advertise to the tenants but there isn't much advertising for buyers. I believe Storage Companies are increasing their Liability at this early point in the online process. More States require auctioneers to be licensed & Some states require Online Auctions to be licensed. Now the Online company again may say they are the format and the Storage Company is listing the units, so the Storage company may have to be licensed or both.
    Times are changing, unless you change with it life will pass you by, some changes are good, some just make life more complicated increase costs and liability.
    WOW! The States Will need to address this. You can do anything until it's brought to someone's attention or until you have a problem because of Liability.
    I HOPE this helps a little, the liability for the storage company in my opinion will increase. Each Storage company need to make a decision, do they wait, let someone else try it, Debug and see what problems arise.
Thanks Wayne

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Wayne Blair

Expertise

Storage Auctions, We are one of the largest storage auction companies in the United States. Many other auction questions. Some appraisal questions. Wholesale & Food Auction Questions.

Experience

We are one of the largest storage auction companies in the United States. We will be in 17 states & PR, Currently we are in 3 states starting Simply self storage co starting July. Web Site www.blairauction.com

Education/Credentials
National Auctioneers Association member, Certified Auctioneers Institute, Certified Appraiser, member of several Storage Associations, have been a auctioneer since 1989, Retired chief warrant officer Army, Retired Millwright General Motors

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