By Bill Gassett
Renting a self-storage unit? Whether you've been using a storage unit during a move or for any other reason, there will be a time when you no longer need it. Finding a local storage unit for a fair price is usually more challenging than moving out of one, so when it's time to move out of your unit, the process should be fairly simple.
Related: Renting a Storage Unit? Here’s What You Need to Know
However, different storage companies have varying requirements for when their customers can move out. Here, we'll explore all the considerations when vacating a self-storage unit:
Tips for Exiting Storage Unit Rentals
Storage units are usually available on month-to-month contracts, which gives you the flexibility to move out when best suits you. If, instead, you're locked into a yearly contract, moving out early might not be quite as simple.
Whatever your particular contract circumstances, self-storage companies tend to have slightly different rules that need to be followed when you no longer need your unit. Here four most popular storage businesses to give you a better understanding of what is required:
U-Haul offers customers the freedom of monthly contracts, though you will need to follow their rules for moving out if you want to avoid paying extra fees. While you do not need to give U-Haul advance notice when you want to move out, you need to clean the unit first. After you've cleared out and cleaned your unit, you can inform the manager that you've vacated.
You can also notify U-Haul online. This option will require you to upload a photograph of the cleaned unit as proof. You must also make sure you don't owe anything on your account, and the timing might be important, too.
U-Haul charges by the month without using pro-rated billing. This means that if you go over into the next month, you will have to pay another full month's rent on the unit instead of the few extra days you actually used it for. U-Haul can be great to work with if you plan on a DIY move where you rent a truck.
Public Storage also has the advantage of short-term contracts. Customers are required to tell the company in advance of their move-out date. This can be done up to 60 days before the intended end of the contract by logging into an online account. If you find that you need more time and want to change your move-out date, you can. The cancellation notice can be changed online for a more suitable date.
You will need to clear your unit of any possessions on your actual move-out day, not forgetting to take the lock. You are then required to check in with the facility manager to finalize the end of your contract.
Extra Space Storage
Extra Space Storage also offers month-to-month storage unit rentals like the other companies we've looked at, but their move-out process is slightly different. You will be required to give either a 10-day verbal notification or a 15-day written notice at the storage facility you are using. There will also be a vacate card to fill out before the end of the contract.
On the day you move out of the unit, you must make sure everything is cleaned out and the lock removed. The manager will need to check the storage unit on the day as well. If you have made sure to notify the storage facility before you pay the final month’s rental, they will only charge you for the remaining time you use.
CubeSmart offers some of the most flexible move-out terms. They don't require advance notice of your wish to end your rental, along with offering month-to-month contracts on their storage units. While they do prefer to be told in advance, it isn't a requirement. A lease with CubeSmart is cancelled when you tell them you're going to move out. They will give you details of what you're expected to do when you move out.
Moving Out From Storage Facility Tips
To make sure you vacate your storage unit with the least headaches, follow these tips:
Tell the storage facility. Most storage companies need you to give them an advance notification of your move-out date. Ensure you complete your part of the rental contract by letting them know in the required time period and by using the method they state.
You will sometimes need to choose your move-out day carefully, so you don't end up paying more than you need to. Some companies will charge you for a whole month even if you're only there on the first of a given month.
Make sure you have enough space for your items. It might have been a while since you filled your unit, so you need to be sure you have enough room for those possessions at their new destination. If there are many items, consider taking a few photos to understand how much room is required. Your moving boxes could pile up quicker than you estimated they would.
Rent a truck if you need to. Ideally, you will want to move all of your items in one trip, making sure you don't run over to the next day. If your stuff isn't going to fit in your car, you'll need to rent a large van or truck.
Please take a look at our guide for renting a moving truck for some more tips. You might also need additional help to move the items in your storage unit, so make sure you have all of this arranged before the day of the move.
Clean up! Your storage facility will likely want you to clean up the unit as part of the lease agreement. Your unit may require sweeping out once you have emptied it of your possessions. Hopefully, you haven't stored anything in the unit that might have leaked, requiring a more thorough cleaning.
Don't forget your lock. Normally, storage facilities require renters to use their own locks on the door of the unit. When you leave, remember to take this with you. If you forget to, the storage company may not be able to access the unit.
Inform the facility’s manager. Once you've emptied the unit, let someone know. Stop by the office and tell the manager that you have cleared everything out. They may need to check that the unit is empty and clean.
Renting a storage unit can be a beneficial addition to your move when you're in transition. Understanding the steps for moving out will be key to ending up with a satisfying experience for yourself and the company you're renting from.
Bill Gassett is a nationally recognized real estate leader who has been helping people buy and sell MetroWest Massachusetts real estate for the past 33 years. He has been one of the top RE/MAX REALTORS® in New England for the past decade. Gassett works for RE/MAX Executive Realty in Hopkinton, Massachusetts. In 2018, he was the No. 1 RE/MAX real estate agent in Massachusetts.