(Here is an excerpt from
some of Mr. Zehring's training curriculum)
IN SELF-STORAGE FACILITIES
HAS THE POWER?
The police cannot stop
a criminal from renting a storage unit. Only
the facility manager can do that. If
a renter is conducting illegal activity at the storage facility, the
police can arrest them, but only if they have enough probable cause. Crime
Prevention begins in the front office.
it may seem easier for the police to deal with crime problems, that is
not always the case. We’re not talking about putting the manager in the
“role of the police.” We’re talking about putting the manager in the “role of the
manager.” Unfortunately, too often people want to put the police in the role
of the manager. The police don’t have that kind of power.
Constitution of the United States actually limits the power of the
government (i.e. the police). When you look at the Bill of Rights, consider
just the Fourth and Fifth Amendments. The limitations police have on search,
seizures and the detention (and questioning) of suspects is quite eye opening.
limitations, however, are not imposed on property managers. They are not
“the government” Granted, there are some things the police can do that
the managers cannot, but more often there are things the managers can do
that the police cannot. Together, they can have a powerful impact on
crime prevention. The police and management can solve virtually
all crime problems, but it takes a concerted effort, and both sides have
to be willing to do as much as possible.
A FEW SUGGESTIONS
has the responsibility (perhaps a legal duty) to provide a clean and safe
facility. You have the responsibility and authority to be selective in
whom you rent to. Ultimately you have the power to evict problem renters. The police
will need to depend on your willingness to FLEX
YOUR POWER in these areas, because they cannot do those things for
all starts if the front office. If management simply accepts every customer
that is willing to pay the rent, a percentage of those renters will be
criminally active. On the other hand, if management refuses to rent to
the criminally inclined customers, there won’t be such a great demand for
police follow up later on.
brings up the question, “How can I keep the criminally inclined renter
out of my facility?” Actually it is easier than you might think. Here are a few suggestions:
1). Increase the Effort
– Have rental qualifications. Requiring references from each of your prospective renter will give
you the opportunity to verify they are who they say they are. Be careful to verify the
information carefully, as they may have someone “fronting” for them, pretending to be
an employer or landlord. Verify their income to avoid problems with “skips” and non-payment.
You might even go so far as to inquire about their criminal
history. If an applicant has a recent and extensive history of burglary, theft or drug convictions,
wouldn’t you want to know about that?
2). Increase the Consequences –
Have strict policies regarding criminal activity or other undesirable behaviors at the facility.
It is important to let all renters know that management will not
tolerate any abuses of these polices. Any violations may result in the termination of the rental
agreement and the eviction of the customer. The Crime Free Lease Addendum is one tool you may
want to consider. Here is an example of one such addendum:
FREE LEASE ADDENDUM
consideration of the execution or renewal of a lease of the storage unit
identified in the lease, Owner and Renter agree as follows:
1. Renter, guest
of the renter, or other person authorized by the
renter, shall not engage in criminal activity on or near the said
premises. This activity includes, but is not limited to, burglary/theft, trespassing, criminal
damage, violation of fire or building codes, and "drug-related"
criminal activity. "Drug-related" criminal activity means the illegal
manufacture, sale, distribution, use, or possession with intent to manufacture,
sell, distribute, or use of a controlled substance (as defined in Section 102 or the Controlled
Substance Act [21 U.S.C. 802]).
2. Renter, guest of the renter,
or any other person authorized by the renter shall not engage in any act intended to facilitate
criminal activity, including drug-related criminal activity, on or near the
3. Renter, or any other
person who has authorized access to the storage locker will not permit the storage locker
to be used for, or to facilitate criminal activity, regardless of whether the individual
engaging in such activity is a renter or a guest. Any use of a storage locker other than
storage is a violation of building and/or fire codes.
4. Storage of any hazardous
materials or waste is prohibited.
5. Renter will agree to purchase
and use the authorized padlock predetermined by the management of the facility.
6. Renter will provide the
management with a current emergency telephone number and maintain a current list of items
that are being stored in the storage locker.
7. A single violation of any of the
provisions of the added addendum shall be deemed a serious violation and a material
and irreparable non-compliance with the lease, and cause for immediate termination of the lease.
Unless otherwise provided by law, proof of violation shall not require
criminal conviction, but shall be by a preponderance of the evidence.
9. Subletting will not be permitted.
Only those on the lease will be permitted to store property in the locker.
10. In case of conflict
between the provisions of this addendum and any other provisions of the lease,
the provisions of the addendum shall govern.
11. This lease addendum is
incorporated into the lease executed or renewed this day between owner and
authorize the management to release my rental information to the police
department in the event of any investigation.
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