Tips For Sharing A Storage Unit With Another Person

Posted on: 5 June 2015

Sharing a storage unit with another person is a great way to save money, especially if you don't have a lot of items to store. Like sharing a room with your sibling or an apartment with a friend, things can quickly go sideways if you don't take time to properly prepare and set some ground rules. Here are a few things you should do to ensure your joint venture is a success.

Choose the Right Person

There is a lot of trust involved with sharing a storage unit. Not only will the person have access to your belongings, but you'll be depending on the individual to pay the rent as agreed. The last thing you want to have happen is to show up to the rental unit and find all of your stuff gone because the person stole it or didn't make the payments.

Therefore, don't be afraid to evaluate your potential unit mate critically to determine if the individual is trustworthy and fiscally responsible. The person should also be someone you can easily communicate with, both in a practical sense (can call on the telephone) and a personal sense (can freely discuss important issues). If you run into problems, you need to be able to discuss them with the person without him or her getting defensive or being hard to reach.

Determine Who Signs the Contract

Most storage unit companies want to make their jobs as easy and simple as possible. Therefore, they will typically only allow one person to sign the contract and deal exclusively with that individual about matters related to the storage unit.

Therefore, you'll need to first decide who will sign the contract. On the one hand, if you sign the contract, then you'll have complete control over the rental unit. On the other hand, you'll be completely responsible for anything that happens to it. For instance, if your unit mate's waterbed breaks and damages the unit, the storage facility will come after you for the money for repairs.

If need be, you can write up a separate legal agreement between you and your roommate that details your respective responsibilities. This can offer some protection in the event that problems arise.

Create a Payment Arrangement

Not all storage unit facilities will accept payments from multiple people, so you'll need to decide how the rent will be paid. If you'll be using the unit for a set period of time (e.g. only over summer vacation), the ideal solution would be for the two of you to prepay the rent for the entire time directly to the company. This way, you won't have to worry about getting locked out of the unit because of missing payments.

The other option is to have one person make the monthly payment to the facility and collect the other person's share. This ensures the rent gets paid even though someone may fall behind. If you turn this duty over to your unit mate, you'll want to make sure the storage facility has your contact information so you'll be notified if payments aren't being made.

Set the Ground Rules

There are a few things you'll need to iron out before either one of you put the first box in the storage unit:

  • Determine who's allowed access to the unit. Preferably, only the two of you should have keys and the gate code. However, if you or the other person want to allow access to a third trusted party (e.g. your mother), it's important to establish that upfront to avoid unpleasant surprises.
  • Clearly separate the space and demarcate where the dividing line is. There should be an understanding that each person should stick to his or her side and remedies in place if one person violates another's space. For instance, if your unit mate adds more stuff at a later date that takes up more room than initially agreed upon, then he or she should pay a bigger portion of the rent.
  • Decide what types of items can be stored in the unit. Clothes and sports equipment are typically okay, for example, but food items should not be placed in a storage unit.
  • Figure out who will be responsible for cleaning the unit when you're finished using it. If both of you are moving out at the same time, then it should be a joint effort. However, if one person will be using the unit longer than the other, then that person should be tasked with cleaning up at the end of the rental time.

For more information about sharing a self storage unit with another person, you may want to talk with a self-storage facility in your area.