How to Use Self Storage: Understanding the Terms of Your Rental

This is Part 3 of our 5-Part series: How to Use Self Storage.

We’ve been through how to choose the best storage facility for you.  We’ve been through how to choose the best storage unit to suit your needs.  So what, now you want to actually rent a storage unit?  Oh.  Ok, then.

At Storitz, we live this stuff so we know exactly how to rent a storage unit and what all of the terminology means.  But we also realize that things aren’t so easy if this is the first time you’re going to rent self storage online and you might be confused by the options and terms of your rental.  In this blog entry, we’d like to offer you a little glossary of self storage rental terms that will help you navigate the process.

Unit Size: This one’s easy.  We went through it last week.  Your rental agreement will include the size of the unit you’re renting so there’s no confusion.

Unit Type: Upper, Drive-Up, Climate Controlled: these are all unit types that might be ultimately listed on your rental agreement and will determine the total cost of your unit with certain types generally being cheaper and other, more convenient or more controlled types of storage units being more costly.

Rent per Month: The monthly rent that you’ll be paying for your storage unit is probably the most important bit of information to you.  This is the base amount for your storage unit that you will be expected to pay each month.  Across the industry, storage facilities will allow you to sign a rental agreement or lease for up to one year, during which your monthly rent won’t change.  If you stay in your storage unit for more than one year, you’ll most likely have to sign another rental agreement and possibly renegotiate your rent.

Specials or Offers: The vast majority of self-storage facilities have a variety of specials, offers and discounts on rent.  These will range from “$1 for your first month” to “7th month Free” and many many more.  Many facilities offer discounts for active military or senior citizens for which you may be eligible.  On Storitz, we allow you to choose the offer that best suits your needs.  For instance, if you’re only going to need storage for a month, the 7th Month Free discount wouldn’t make sense for you.  But if you need it for 7 or 8 or 9 months, it might be the best deal.  One of the coolest features of our site is that you can toggle between specials until you find the best solution for your personal storage needs.

Property Protection: Most storage facilities offer Property Protection, which is like Homeowner’s Insurance for your storage unit.  If you already have homeowner’s or renter’s insurance, your policy may already cover your storage unit, so be sure to check the terms of your policy before purchasing property protection.  Some facilities require you to purchase property protection so that fee will always be added to your rent monthly.  Every facility has different terms for this coverage and what it protects you and your property against, with many offering different levels of protection, so be sure to be clear on those terms before your purchase.

Property Fee: Some storage facilities charge a one-time administrative fee when you rent a storage unit.  On Storitz, we list this as a “facility fee” – none of this fee goes to Storitz and is completely determined by the facility, so it is not a booking fee since Storitz absolutely never charges booking fees.

Total Move In Cost: This cost reflects how much you pay to move in to your storage unit.  It includes your monthly rent, facility fees and property protection (where applicable) and any specials you may have chosen.  Keep in mind that if you choose a special like “Half Off Your Second Month” your move-in cost will be higher than just your monthly rate because you are actually paying for two months instead of one.

Paid Through Date: On Storitz, we use the terminology “Paid Through Date” but different storage facilities will use different terminology.  Just remember that it’s important to pay attention to how your move-in cost relates to how long you will be paid up.  The baseline is one month, but depending on what special you choose you may be paying for multiple months in order to take advantage of the best deal.

Hopefully these definitions were helpful for you in our never ending quest to simplify your search for self storage. If you’ve rented self-storage before, did you find the process confusing?  What was the most confusing part?  Let us know in the comments.

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