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What Happens If You Don’t Pay Your Storage Bill in the UK?


You rented a storage unit, tucked away your prized possessions, and then life happened. Bills piled up, unexpected expenses cropped up, you moved house, and before you knew it, you missed a payment on your storage unit. But what happens next? What’s at stake? Well, before the panic sets in, let’s unravel the scenario.

Missing a Payment: The Initial Stages

It isn’t like you miss a payment and suddenly your grandmother’s antique vase is out on the streets. Storage facilities usually have a grace period. Here’s what you can expect:

Late Fees: Most storage facilities have a grace period, often between 5-10 days. If you don’t pay within this period, you’re likely slapped with a late fee.

Limited Access: After missing a payment, the storage facility might deny access to your unit. This means you can’t add or remove items until your bill is settled.

Notifications: You’ll start receiving reminders, either via mail, email, phone calls, or even text messages. It’s a nudge to clear your dues before things escalate.

When Things Get More Serious

If weeks (or sometimes months) go by with no payment in sight, the consequences become steeper.

Overlock: The facility will place an additional lock, an ‘overlock’, on your unit. This ensures you can’t access your belongings even with your original key or code.

Lien Sale: This is where you need to be especially careful. Depending on the laws of your region, the storage company can place a lien on your items. This means they have a legal claim over your belongings to recover the money you owe. If things don’t get resolved, this can lead to an auction.

Auction: Probably the most dreaded outcome. The storage facility can auction off your belongings to recoup their losses. Before this happens, you’ll be notified of the date and time of the auction, giving you one last chance to settle your debt.

If you continue to default, the storage facility can hand over your debt to collection agencies. This can negatively impact your credit score, making it harder for you to secure loans or credit cards in the future.

Scott Evans, a storage company owner from Pink Storage says “Life happens and bills can be paid late, if you do find yourself struggling to pay the bills make sure that you communicate this with your storage company as soon as possible, there may be ways that they can help you.”

If you know you’re going to be late or miss a payment, communicate with the facility. They might offer a payment plan or give you an extended grace period. Remember, they’d rather have their money than go through the hassle of auctions.

James Phillips a spokesperson from Urban Locker says that you should “Familiarise yourself with the storage facility’s agreement and local laws concerning storage unit delinquencies. This knowledge can empower you during discussions as not all storage companies will be helpful if you have missed a payment.”

If you’ve been a long-term customer or have multiple units, use this as leverage. Some facilities might waive late fees or offer a discount to retain loyal customers.

To avoid this predicament in the future, consider setting up automatic payments. This way, bills get cleared without you having to remember every month.

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