When storing your personal property in a storage facility, there are certain risks and liabilities that are transferred to the storage facility owner as well as the storage facility management, depending on the type of storage agreement that is signed. Understanding the liabilities associated with storing your personal effects, most storage facilities will require that you sign a contract that limits their liability in storing and supervising your property.
It is important to understand that storing your personal effects within a storage facility does not, necessarily, place the storage facility owner at liability for any damages or loss sustained to your personal property. Since the possession, custody and management of your personal property is not released to the storage facility owner, the transfer is not considered a bailment and, therefore, any damages to your personal property is not the liability of the storage facility owner or management company. In other words, if you rent a storage space within a storage facility, on a daily, weekly or monthly basis, because you retain control over your personal property, and the access to us, the storage facility is not liability for the damages that may arise.
There are, however, some scenarios in which the liability for damage to your personal property may be the responsibility of the storage facility owner and management company. In situations where the storage facility picks up your property, delivers it to storage, and then limits your access to the property except under their supervision and guidance, this may be considered a contract of bailment. Essentially, in this type of arrangement, you are transferring the custody of that property to your storage facility, on a temporary basis. The storage facility owner does carry some liability, also, when a bailment is created by the transfer of custody of your person property to the storage facility attendant. This is to say, when the keys are handed to a storage facility attendant, for the purpose of supervising, transporting and storing your personal property, there may be a bailment relationship created, especially when the storage facility attendant is able to move your personal property about the storage facility unit as needed.
When damages to your personal property occur while stored in the storage facility, there can be complex issues to address with regard to liability. When considering your options for storing, and accessing your personal property, the primary issue to be addressed will be whether or not the damages occurred as a direct result of the storage facility owner, or one of their employees, and if the personal property was stored under a bailment relationship.
If the bailment relationship is not established, damages to your personal property are generally not the liability of the storage facility owner. The exception to this rule, in most cases, lies in the damages that may be created by the direct action, or inaction, of the storage facility owner or their employees. When considering these two elements of issue, the liability and damages can be addressed and your personal property, if considered the liability of the storage facility owner, should be claimed for repairs or replacement under the liability coverage of the storage facility owner or storage facility management.