The response to the COVID-19 coronavirus has drastically changed a lot of things about daily life lately, but one that hasn’t changed is our need for space.
As most places in the United States continue to ask residents to socially distance and close non-essential businesses, many folks are wondering about whether or not they can access self-storage facilities.
Open For Business
The good news for people needing to rent or access a self-storage unit during the pandemic is that self-storage facilities have generally been identified as an essential business. After all, self-storage can serve as a valuable resource for businesses or organizations that need excess capacity to store medical supplies or other items.
People also may have to relocate to a new home during the pandemic, and need a reliable place to keep their stuff in-between moves. Many people have also had to make extra space in their homes so that they can work from home.
Contactless Storage Options
However, many storage users still might have concerns about precautions they may need to take when visiting a self-storage facility. To help minimize the risks to human health, many storage facilities have quickly adopted a “contactless” business model.
“Contactless” self-storage facilities eliminate any face-to-face interaction with facility personnel in order to protect customers and employees from the COVID-19 virus. You can expect contactless self-storage facilities to have the following capabilities and procedures:
- Online reservations
- Electronic leases
- Provide support by phone, text, or e-mail
- Online payments
These features make it possible to rent a storage unit without conducting any business at the counter. Should you need help, an on-site manager can typically provide instructions over the phone.
To help you find a self-storage facility with contactless operations, SpareFoot has rolled out a new “Contactless” badge on its facility listings.
Look for this badge when selecting a self-storage facility:
The badge indicates that the facility has implemented contactless procedures so you can reserve, rent and move-in without breaking social distancing protocol.
Additional Safety Measures
In addition to offering contactless storage options, most self-storage facilities have taken additional steps to routinely sanitize surfaces such as door handles and keypads throughout the facility. Many also have added hand sanitizer stations.
There are things you can do to protect yourself as well. When visiting a self-storage facility, or any other public space, wear a mask to provide further protection against COVID-19 infection. Bring your own sanitizer, in case the facility is out or doesn’t have any to offer. When traversing interior hallways, maintain a distance of at least 6 feet when encountering other tenants.
Remember that some facilities may have made changes to their access hours, so be sure to be aware of and abide by any changes.
Trouble Paying Rent?
With millions of Americans filing for unemployment and many small businesses being forced to close, some existing tenants might eventually worry about not being able to make their regular payments.
If you fall behind on your rent, the facility can place a lien on your storage unit and auction off your items. Some operators are being more lenient than usual in regards to rental payments and fees, and some have suspended auction activity for the time-being. But not all. Many storage auctions have moved online instead.
If you are having trouble meeting the terms of your storage contract, contact the facility manager and discuss your situation as soon as possible.
FAQs on Storage Safety During COVID-19
Are storage facilities open during COVID-19 (Coronavirus)?
Yes, storage facilities have been classified as an "essential business" and are open to the public. Some facilities may have limited hours of operation, so be sure to contact the facility operator before visiting.
Is self-storage an essential business?
Yes, most states have deemed self-storage an essential business and are open during the COVID-19 crisis.
What is a "contactless" move-in?
A contactless move-in allows you to sign your storage lease, and pay online, so you can "skip the counter" and get instant access to your storage unit.
What safety measures are storage facilities taking during COVID-19?
In addition to offering contactless move-ins, most self-storage facilities have taken additional steps to routinely sanitize surfaces such as door handles and keypads throughout the facility.