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Storage unit caught on fire

Discussion in 'Rental Agreements & Subleases' started by Sam231988, Aug 2, 2018.

  1. Sam231988

    Sam231988 Law Topic Starter New Member

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    I was renting from a storage unit facility. When I signed the lease which was month to month which was payed on time stated that no flammable items were allowed in the unit. My unit had none but another unit that a tenant was renting did and caught fire bring the whole building down. I didn’t have insurance and the tenant that the unit caught fire can’t be found anywhere. I have talked to the fire marshall and he stated that the he thinks the guy was living there. But he can’t be found anywhere. It was confirmed that his unit started the fire. The tenant that started the fire signed a contract with the previous landlord that owned the building. The storage unit facility says that they wouldn’t be responsible for any damage. Is there a possibility that I can sue the facility for negligence to inspect all the units of flammable items to prevent an occurrence like this. I just want to get my money out of my items. It’s wasnt just little things like furniture I had over $100,000 in equipment in there.
     
  2. zddoodah

    zddoodah Well-Known Member

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    You can sue anyone you like, but you have no valid claim against the owner of the facility. First, your rental contract almost certainly includes a waiver of this sort of claim. Second, the owner has no duty to inspect each individual unit.

    Sigh....
     
  3. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

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    I'm sure you had what you thought was a good reason not to buy insurance. Not so sure about that anymore are you?

    Expensive life lesson from the school of hard knocks.
     
  4. Sam231988

    Sam231988 Law Topic Starter New Member

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    I get that I messed up not getting insurance. All I’m looking for is if I can sue the facility.
     
  5. zddoodah

    zddoodah Well-Known Member

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    I already answered that. Anyone can sue anyone for anything. But you won't win for the reasons already mentioned.
     
  6. mightymoose

    mightymoose Moderator

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    Absent certain circumstances the owner has no RIGHT to inspect the units either.
     
  7. mightymoose

    mightymoose Moderator

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    Your answer to this question is in the rental contract. A claim against the storage company will fall flat. This is the reason for insurance.
    It seems unlikely the other renter had insurance either, but even that may not have covered you.
    There is no happy solution to this for you, sorry.
     
  8. zddoodah

    zddoodah Well-Known Member

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    I've never rented a storage unit. However, just as I'd be shocked if most rental agreements don't contain a disclaimer of liability, I would be surprised if they don't give the facility owner the right to enter the unit at any time and for any reason (not that the presence or absence of such a provision would change anything).
     
  9. mightymoose

    mightymoose Moderator

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    Storage units are locked with the renter's own locks and nobody, including the owner has right to access absent some justifiable emergency.
    I can't imagine a facility staying in business if it insisted upon having access to customers private property at any time for any reason.

    That's neither here nor there though... This is clearly an insurance issue and the OP is unfortunately stuck with the loss.
     
  10. cynthiag

    cynthiag Active Member

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    I have rented a storage unit before, and I'm sure there was something in the agreement that included a disclaimer of liability. I remember the manager explaining it to me when I signed the agreement.

    There was also something in the agreement that stated that they couldn't just go into the unit at any time (as mightmoose said, it was locked with our own padlock we'd purchased and had the only key to) as long as the rent was paid up to date, but if you didn't pay the rent for a certain period of time, and after a certain number of reasonable attempts to contact you and collect the rent, at that point they would deem that you'd abandoned your property and then they could cut the padlock and sell or otherwise dispose of the contents of the unit.
     
  11. mightymoose

    mightymoose Moderator

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    This topic reminds me of the scene in the storage unit in The Silence of the Lambs... And also the piles of cash in Breaking Bad.

    Privacy in storage units is just as good as, if not better than, when renting an apartment.
     
  12. txls

    txls Well-Known Member

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    Check with your homeowners insurance, maybe, maybe not but doesn't hurt to ask.
     

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