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Roger, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 31783
Experience:  BV Rated by Martindale-Hubbell; SuperLawyer rating by Thompson-Reuters
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I have been renting a self-storage unit for many years, thru

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I have been renting a self-storage unit for many years, thru several changes of ownership .... a new owner has taken over the property, when I found out this was going to happen, I talked with the then current owners, and they tiold me that the new owners were informed of my rental and were OK with it .. I went by today to pay the rent, which I have been doing on a 'six-month basis' for years .. to my dismay, I found the new owners not there and neither was most of the items I had stored there . Apparently the lock was removed and what was in there was either removed or destroyed.. What are my options ?? Terry Pettle
Hi - my name is XXXXX XXXXX I'm a Real Estate litigation attorney. Thanks for your question. I'll be glad to assist you regarding this issue.

One question - - do you know whether someone broke in or whether the new owner opened your unit and removed the contents?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I am assuming the new owner did this, some of the missing items would have needed some time to move, a complete V8 chevrolet engine minus heads, a welding machine, etc, also there was a bunch of family keepsakes in boxes that would have been worthless to thieves ... there is a pile of ash outside the unit where a LOT of 'stuff' has been burned, there are remains of what looks like some of my things in the ashes

Ok. Thank you for the additional information.

IF your property was legally inside the unit - - meaning that your rent was up to date, that you hadn't abandoned your unit and property, and that you hadn't been notified in writing that the rental agreement was being terminated, etc. - - then you certainly have recourse against the business to recover your property and also to seek damages (money) for any property taken away/destroyed by the new owners.

Before the new owners could LEGALLY remove your property, it would have to go through the notice provisions in the law, which are outlined at the following link:

If you'll look at Section 197, it says that you must be notified in writing to remove your items, and only after that can the owner take action to remove your things. If this didn't happen, then the owner would be in violation of this statute, which should give you grounds to sue for damages and for the return of anything that hasn't been thrown away or destroyed.

The first thing you're going to have to do is make contact with the new owner - - and if you and the old owner are friends, you may ask him for help. Once you find out exactly what happened, you'll know whether you can get your things without any issue, whether they've been destroyed and ultimately whether you need to consult an attorney and sue.

Hopefully, they just moved the things to another unit and you can just pick up where you left off. But, if there is evidence of burning, etc., then this may be a very remote possibility.

Thus, making contact with the owner is the first step, and if you get bad news, then you should consult an attorney about pursuing a claim for destruction of your property, breach of contract and violations under the statute above.

I hope this answers your question, but if you need anything further, please do not hesitate to ask. I'll be glad to assist you further. Thanks!
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