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FLORIDA LIEN LAW
The Florida Self Storage Association, together with the national Self Storage Association has worked on a number of issues to protect and improve the laws that apply to self storage facilities. In 2017, the Florida legislature updated lien law provisions consistent with recent improvements in other states.
The Florida legislature has enacted, and the Governor has signed, a bill (HB 357) that makes a number of significant and positive changes to the Florida Self-storage Facility Act. The bill was a joint effort of the national Self Storage Association and the Florida Self Storage Association. The law took effect on July 1, 2017. The legislation made the following changes to the self storage lien law:
1. Authorizes self storage operators to conduct lien auctions on public websites that customarily conduct personal property auctions.
2. Authorizes self storage operators to charge tenants a late fee that is reasonable and expressly states that a late fee of $20 or 20% of the monthly rent, whichever is greater, is reasonable. The amount of the late fee and the date it will accrue must be stated in the rental agreement. The late fee charged is in addition to all expenses incurred in connection with the collection of rent or enforcement of the lien.
3. Provides that if the rental agreement contains a limit on the value of property stored in the tenant’s space, the rental agreement limit is deemed the maximum value of the stored property.
4. Authorizes the storage operator to have motor vehicles or watercraft towed from the facility when rent and other charges are 60 or more days past due.
Limitation of Value
New section 83.806(9), of the Florida statutes, is especially important. The section provides that if the rental agreement has a limit on the value of property stored in the storage unit, the limit is deemed to be the maximum value of the property stored in the unit. Tenant claims that their stored property had a value in excess of the agreed amount will be difficult to maintain. The paragraph below is a typical limitation of value provision:
LIMITATION OF VALUE: Occupant agrees not to store property with a total value in excess of $5,000 without the written permission of the Owner. If such written permission is not obtained, the value of Occupant’s stored property shall be deemed not to exceed $5,000. Nothing in this paragraph shall constitute any agreement or admission by Owner that Occupant’s stored property has any value, nor shall anything alter the release of Owner’s liability set forth below. [From the Self Storage Legal Network’s Guide to Drafting Your Rental Agreement]
It is good practice to put this provision in bold or underlined type. This is not required by statute but it is an important rental agreement provision and should stand out.
Florida Lien Law