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(Here is an excerpt from some of Mr. Zehring's training curriculum)



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.

Though 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.

The 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.

These 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.


Management 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 you.

It 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.

This 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:


In 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 said premises.

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 renter.

I authorize the management to release my rental information to the police department in the event of any investigation.

_____________________________________ Date_________
Renter's Signature

_____________________________________ Date_________
Renter's Signature

_____________________________________ Date_________
Manager's Signature

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