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30 Dec 2019

When a Tornado Damages Your Self-Storage Unit, are Your Rights Blown Away?


Cleve Clinton

Counselor & Trial Partner

Originally posted in Tilting The Scales.

This fall’s Dallas tornado was especially vexing to Winn Blohn who stored many personal belongings in Sasha Stach’s Stach-a-Lot [Self Storage](https://www.radiusplus.com/keyword/self storage) unit. Sasha denied access to all the units for weeks. Can Sasha do that?


Yes. While the words “lease,” “license,” [“rental agreement,”](https://www.radiusplus.com/keyword/rental agreement) “contract” and “rent” are sometimes used interchangeably, a lease and a license are quite distinct under the law.

Simply put, a lease is a contract that conveys an exclusive possessory leasehold interest in real property. In a lease, a landlord gives the tenant the exclusive right to possess the property and, in some fashion, both parties agree to share the risk of damages, as from a tornado. Even more, Texas has codified many of the tenant’s rights even if they are not in the lease agreement. The related legal issues involving leases were addressed in the TiltingTheScales tornado blog six years ago.

On the other hand, a license...


Winn had a contract, not a lease. The stark contrast between an expected landlord-tenant relationship and...

And, then there’s the rent. If you’ve read my partner Bill Drabble’s article on [price gouging](https://www.radiusplus.com/keyword/price gouging) law in Texas...

Tilting the Scales in Your Favor

Remember – A license is not a lease. If you choose to sign a self storage agreement, know that your legal rights against the owner. In the event of a [natural disaster](https://www.radiusplus.com/keyword/natural disaster), like a tornado, consider how quickly you may need access to the storage unit, the value of the contents and if you have sufficient insurance for the contents.

SOURCE: Story by Cleve Clinton THUMBNAIL: By Ben Klea

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