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11 Sep 2019

You've Got Mail: Bringing the Self Storage Industry Into The 21st Century


Patrick Quigley

Attorney in Commercial Real Estate

This article originally appeared on The Daily Record.

The self storage industry can be full of surprises. As any viewer of the show “Storage Wars” can tell, you don’t always know what’s behind those locked doors. But not all surprises are tucked away in the storage units. In fact, the industry has recently seen a big surprise come from Albany.

After practicing for more than 20 years and representing countless owners, investors and operators of self storage facilities, I never thought Section 182 of the Lien Law would be amended by New York state. The state legislature, however, has finally done just that, and now that amendment awaits the governor’s signature for it to become law.

The New York State Assembly recently passed bill A 6556-A, with the Senate passing the same bill as S 5211-A, entitled “An act to amend the lien law, in relation to notice of enforcement of lien on goods in self storage facility” (the Bill).

In other words, the State of New York is finally joining the 36 other states in the country to permit the service of late and lien law notices on occupants of self storage units by email, with a few qualifications.

Until now, Section 182 of the Lien Law had provided that a self storage facility operator could only serve late and lien law notices on a defaulted occupant either “personally” or “by register for certified mail to the occupant to the last address provided by the occupant, pursuant to the occupancy agreement.”

The Bill defines the “Last known address” and how this term relates to an electronic mail address.

Given the potential magnitude of these changes, self storage facility operators should review the Bill with counsel.

It may be especially important to review occupancy agreements to ensure that any occupant clearly consents to the receipt of electronic mail and that the electronic address is inserted into the occupancy agreement in at least two places within the agreement.

Technology has revolutionized the way we communicate and conduct business. With a stroke of his pen, Gov. Andrew Cuomo can help bring the self storage industry in New York state into the 21st century.

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