|The situation I am trying to clarify is, my husband and I work for a self storage facility in Northern California and our employer is not following the law. For example, when someone tries to move out without paying, he has us lock out the gate code and put an over lock on their unit, I don't believe this is legal. |
The next example is when a tenant doesn't pay by the 10th, on the 11th the gate code is locked out and overlocks are put on the units. We do have a walk through gate however, and our boss makes sure we know that. We have questioned him and he says he has legal rights to lock people out on the 11th because we want them to come in the office and tell us when they are going to pay. So as I said earlier, we have questioned whether this legal, so he came back to us with, we are to still overlock and lock out the gate, but when the customer comes in, we are to make a note in the computer, and then if they don't pay, they can go through the walk gate and we can unlock the unit, but once they leave we have to overlock the unit again. So in fact he is denying a vehicle from going through the main gate, but he is allowing someone to walk back only after they come in the office. How can someone who wants to move out and not pay their bill when they have to walk into the facility and not be able to drive up to it? To me this is denying access to the customers vehicle, which constitutes denying access, right?
Do we have the right to force someone to pay a bill before they can have their things? I have read the lien laws in California and they are very explicit in the fact that it says a Pre Lien letter must be sent stating that their rights to have access to their unit will be 14 days after we send the Pre lien letter, not that we can lock them out and make them come into the office.
Part of the issue I have with this is that, by not allowing a vehicle in, and stopping someone from moving out with a bill, has caused in the past a few tenants to lose their stuff to a lien sale. For example, one tenant came in on the 11th and said she couldn't pay and wanted to move out, she was told no, so she then incurred a pre lien charge, and then a lien charge, and then the next months rent, then another late fee, then the auction set up fee, then next months rent and another late fee...do you see where I am going with this? Needless to say if she couldn't pay the first months rent, how is she going to pay the rest of the bill? She ended up losing everything she owned and it could have been avoided had she been allowed to come in and move out.
I need to know from someone, can we legally lock up units and change gate codes before a final lien is in place? We are also being threatening stating that if we allow people into their unit without them paying or allowing them to go through the main gate without paying, we will be written up and fired. Self storage laws are in place for a reason, to protect consumers from owners that feel the bottom dollar rules over the law. If anyone can help us, we are in need of legal counsel. Not only now is our boss threatening, he is causing a hostile work environment which is taking a toll on our 2 small kids that live here also. For those of you who don't know, alot of storage facilities provide housing with the job, so if we lose our job, we also lose our home. But we feel at the same time that we should not be threatened into breaking the law.