With so many bills, both state and national, constantly being introduced in our legislatures, it can be next to impossible to keep up with all of them. Many of these bills being debated probably won’t directly affect your life. However, this is not to say that the self storage unit laws and legislative trends are not something you should keep an eye on. Luckily for you, we watch this very closely so you don’t have to!
A good example to look at is in Massachusetts.
Currently the state legislature has a bill being debated that would require facility owners to keep certain information about tenants for the police to inspect at will. Who’s to say a similar bill couldn’t be passed in Pennsylvania or Maryland or the state where you operate your facility before you even knew about it? This bill would allow authorities to side step getting a subpoena, which is time consuming, and give them quicker access to your customer’s personal information – meaning you would have to provide it to them even if you don’t want to.
After September 11th, the FBI in Massachusetts obtained authority to do drug searches and seizers just by obtaining blanket subpoenas. And, that includes self storage facilities. Storage unit laws like this one are being challenged both by the national Self Storage Association (SSA) and the Massachusetts Self Storage Association (MASSA). The basis for the opposition is that this constitutes an illegal search and seizure and violates the tenant’s right to privacy. If this law passes, it will allow law enforcement to go through the records of a storage facility without obtaining a subpoena or having any evidence.
These are just two of the many examples that could occur in any state at any time, which is why we stay up-to-date on the storage unit laws and legislation in both Pennsylvania and Maryland where we operate the facilities managed by Investment Real Estate Management, LLC.
With that being said, there are things you can do to change the course of a bill such as this. You can view the PA State Legislature page, the MD State Legislature page (or the state where you operate), or the US Legislature page and search for “self storage”, “storage facilities” or “storage units” to learn anything that is currently in the works. This is important for both self storage facility operators as well as your tenants. Keep in mind that it is much harder to control legislation after they have been passed and made into storage unit laws. So, if there a topic being debated and you are not in agreement with what is being proposed, be sure to make your voice heard! You can contact your local representative or congressman for more information on how to get started. You can also keep updated by visiting your state’s self storage association’s website, such as the Pennsylvania Self Storage Association (PASSA) or the Maryland Self Storage Association (MDSSA).
Helpful Tip: There’s a list with links to all the state associations affiliated with the national SSA on their website to make it easy for you to find yours.
You can also set up a Google Alert for “self storage legislation” in the state(s) in which you operate storage facilities. For example, you would want to actually list the keywords and your state inside quotations to get real results. Meaning, if you want to know what is going on in the state of Pennsylvania, you can set up an alert for “self storage legislation in Pennsylvania” or “self storage legislation in PA”. Then, any time a new bill is introduced, you will know about it.
If you have any questions about current self storage legislation in Pennsylvania or Maryland or on how to find out what’s going on in your state, please contact us today and we’ll be glad to help.