Some self-storage companies across Los Angeles County have halted evictions and rent hikes on their customers amid the coronavirus pandemic. But local measures aimed at protecting residential and commercial tenants from evictions appear to give self-storage operators more leeway to deal with their customers, who pay monthly for the spaces.
Self-storage giant Public Storage has halted evictions and rent hikes through the end of May, according to the Los Angeles Times. Another company, Extra Space Storage, has also suspended hikes and evictions and given location managers leeway to be “as lenient as they want to be” with rents, according to the report.
Locations owned by both companies, as well as other storage providers, remain open and are charging their clients rent despite the fact that a statewide stay-at-home order remains in place. It’s not exactly clear how storage fits into the myriad of residential eviction- and rent-moratoriums in place across various jurisdictions in the L.A. area.
Some storage space renters could be on the hook for hundreds or thousands of dollars in rent, such as one woman who told the Times that Public Storage in Glendale charged her over $1,200 at the beginning of April for two months of storage and late fees.
She lives outside L.A. and is now planning to pick up her belongings and hire movers, risking exposure for herself and those workers, according to the report.
Lucy Varpetian, an attorney for the city of Glendale, said that under the California Civil Code, self-storage leases are “more like a contract arrangement between two parties looking to utilize some space,” than an “extension of a residence.”
In that case, a judge will have to decide whether Glendale’s decision to give commercial and residential renters a year to pay back rent accrued during the pandemic also applies to storage spaces. [LAT] — Dennis Lynch