How COVID-19 is Creating a New Reality for Self-Storage


TI Storage
July 20th, 2020

Prior to the shelter-in-place regulations and national economic shutdowns, self-storage was an in-person, high-touch business. Rental agreements were signed by hand, people could come and go as they pleased, and health efforts were not always top of mind.Part of the industry’s commitment to keeping its renters safe is making changes in the way we do business. With rapidly changing updates to the virus, self-storage owners are looking at what they need to do to update business transactions, onboard new occupants, and keep up with consistent sanitization methods on property. There is a new reality happening with self-storage owners, and it may be for the best.

Limited Staff and Office Hours

If you’ve ever helped a friend move into a storage unit or passed by a property on the streets, you’ll notice right away that it’s not generally a high-traffic location. In fact, the beauty of a self-storage unit is you can access it at most times of the day, even 24/7 in some areas. The change is happening with limited office hours and flexible services with limited staff. Self-storage properties can provide specific hours to see someone in-person. Some customer service issues can also be handled over the phone or an online chat system. The idea is to reduce the amount of unnecessary exposure so storage owners can provide a clean, safe environment while still supporting their renters.

Moving to Contactless and Online Storage Rental Agreements

Moving to contactless or online agreements is probably the biggest shift in doing business these days. Pre-coronavirus, a renter would call about availability or a special offer in the first month, and when they were ready to move in, they would go into the rental office and sign the agreement. With existing digital signature tools and platforms that already deal with contracts, the move to an online system will be easy to deploy and manage from the owner’s side. This positive change for the industry will also allow managers to organize online payments and other services in the future that don’t require renters to visit the office as often.

New Cleaning Standards at Your Self-Storage

Another major change for the industry will be increasing their cleaning standards. Most of these areas apply to the multi-level storage buildings where renters have to go in and out of elevators, walk down hallways where there are several touch points, and interact with keypads at the front gate. This is critical: because of many unknown variables about the coronavirus, sanitizing surface areas will still need to be part of regular protocol. Here are a few things to look out for as you enter a storage facility and come into contact with different surface areas:
  • Cleaning wipes or hand sanitizing stations at or near the gate and keypad
  • Signage in the elevators, especially as it relates to a cleaning schedule
  • Hand sanitizing stations in the hallways
  • Plexi glass at the front desk that acts as a barrier between staff and visitors
  • Sanitized hand carts
If you have questions about the changes being made at Treasure Island Storage, contact us at (646) 603-1505 for more information.

Late Fee Leniency

As mentioned with the growing unemployment rates, there are some renters that might not be able to make this month’s payment or maybe even next month’s. In good faith, most people don’t really want to be late, especially if it means their possessions will be removed and put on the street. Storage unit owners are starting to be somewhat lenient on 30-, 60-, or 90-day late fees for a few reasons. The top reason is we’re all in this together. The majority of the population at this point knows someone who has been affected at work, with family, or with other growing life challenges. Owners will continue to do their best in accommodating many of these challenges by staying in high communication. As a renter, if you’re not able to make that monthly rent on time after 120+ days, then reach out to your storage owner.

Pause on Rent Increases

The other nice change, at least for renters, is that many storage unit properties are putting a pause on monthly rental increases. Depending on the location, occupancy rate, and possible changes in security and staff, owners are reconsidering rent increases for the time being. As we continue to move through this pandemic, it has become the social responsibility of everyone to do their part in not only stopping the spread of the virus but also being patient with new systems and processes to continue business in the new normal. 

Treasure Island Storage Is Open and Safe During COVID-19

We welcome new occupants and look forward to helping you with your self-storage needs. Our staff and facilities are currently following all CDC guidelines to ensure your safety. Call (646) 603-1505 or complete our contact form to inquire about our available units today! You can also rent your unit and make payments 100% online, so you can stay home and stay safe while getting the storage you need.