Self Storage Laws
Washington Storage Law
WA Self and Mini Storage Lien Laws
Chapter 19.150 RCW
Self-service storage facilities
19.150.020 Lien on personal property.
19.150.030 Unpaid rent -- Denial of access to storage space.
19.150.040 Unpaid rent -- Termination of occupant's rights -- Notice.
19.150.050 Form of notice.
19.150.060 Attachment of lien -- Final notice of lien sale or notice of disposal.
19.150.070 Sale of property.
19.150.080 Manner of sale -- Who may not acquire property -- Interest on excess proceeds.
19.150.090 Claim by persons with a security interest.
19.150.100 Payment prior to sale by persons claiming a right to the property.
19.150.110 Good faith purchasers.
19.150.120 Contract for storage space -- Alternative address for notice.
19.150.130 Owner not obligated to provide insurance.
19.150.140 Other rights not impaired.
19.150.150 Late fees.
19.150.900 Short title.
19.150.901 Application of chapter.
19.150.902 Existing rental agreements not affected.
19.150.903 Chapter not applicable to owner subject to Article 62A.7 RCW.
19.150.904 Severability -- 1988 c 240.
The definitions in this section apply throughout this chapter unless the context clearly requires otherwise.
(1) "Self-service storage facility" means any real property designed and used for the purpose of renting or leasing individual storage space to occupants who are to have access to the space for the purpose of storing and removing personal property on a self-service basis, but does not include a garage or other storage area in a private residence. No occupant may use a self-service storage facility for residential purposes.
(2) "Owner" means the owner, operator, lessor, or sublessor of a self-service storage facility, his or her agent, or any other person authorized by him or her to manage the facility, or to receive rent from an occupant under a rental agreement.
(3) "Occupant" means a person, or his or her sublessee, successor, or assign, who is entitled to the use of the storage space at a self-service storage facility under a rental agreement, to the exclusion of others.
(4) "Rental agreement" means any written agreement or lease which establishes or modifies the terms, conditions, rules or any other provision concerning the use and occupancy of a self-service storage facility.
(5) "Personal property" means movable property not affixed to land, and includes, but is not limited to, goods, merchandise, furniture, and household items.
(6) "Last known address" means that address provided by the occupant in the latest rental agreement, or the address provided by the occupant in a subsequent written notice of a change of address.
(7) "Reasonable manner" means to dispose of personal property by donation to a not-for-profit charitable organization, removal of the personal property from the self-service storage facility by a trash hauler or recycler, or any other method that in the discretion of the owner is reasonable under the circumstances.
(8) "Commercially reasonable manner" means a public sale of the personal property in the self-storage space. The personal property may be sold in the owner's discretion on or off the self-service storage facility site as a single lot or in parcels. If five or more bidders are in attendance at a public sale of the personal property, the proceeds received are deemed to be commercially reasonable.
(9) "Costs of the sale" means reasonable costs directly incurred by the delivering or sending of notices, advertising, accessing, inventorying, auctioning, conducting a public sale, removing, and disposing of property stored in a self-service storage facility.
(10) "Late fee" means a fee or charge assessed by an owner of a self-service storage facility as an estimate of any loss incurred by an owner for an occupant's failure to pay rent when due. A late fee is not a penalty, interest on a debt, nor is a late fee a reasonable expense that the owner may incur in the course of collecting unpaid rent in enforcing the owner's lien rights pursuant to RCW 19.150.020 or enforcing any other remedy provided by statute or contract.
[2008 c 61 § 1; 2007 c 113 § 1; 1988 c 240 § 2.]
Lien on personal property.
The owner of a self-service storage facility and his or her heirs, executors, administrators, successors, and assigns have a lien upon all personal property located at a self-service storage facility for rent, labor, late fees, and costs of the sale, present or future, incurred pursuant to the rental agreement, and for expenses necessary for the preservation, sale, or disposition of personal property subject to this chapter. The lien may be enforced consistent with this chapter. However, any lien on a motor vehicle or boat which has attached and is set forth in the documents of title to the motor vehicle or boat shall have priority over any lien created pursuant to this chapter.
[2008 c 61 § 3; 1988 c 240 § 3.]
Unpaid rent — Denial of access to storage space.
When any part of the rent or other charges due from an occupant remains unpaid for six consecutive days, and the rental agreement so provides, an owner may deny the occupant access to the storage space at a self-service storage facility.
[1988 c 240 § 4.]
Unpaid rent — Termination of occupant's rights — Notice.
When any part of the rent or other charges due from an occupant remains unpaid for fourteen consecutive days, an owner may terminate the right of the occupant to the use of the storage space at a self-service storage facility by sending a preliminary lien notice to the occupant's last known address, and to the alternative address specified in RCW 19.150.120(2), by first-class mail, postage prepaid, containing all of the following:
(1) An itemized statement of the owner's claim showing the sums due at the time of the notice and the date when the sums become due.
(2) A statement that the occupant's right to use the storage space will terminate on a specified date (not less than fourteen days after the mailing of the notice) unless all sums due and to become due by that date are paid by the occupant prior to the specified date.
(3) A notice that the occupant may be denied or continue to be denied, as the case may be, access to the storage space after the termination date if the sums are not paid, and that an owner's lien, as provided for in RCW 19.150.020 may be imposed thereafter.
(4) The name, street address, and telephone number of the owner, or his or her designated agent, whom the occupant may contact to respond to the notice.
[2007 c 113 § 2; 1988 c 240 § 5.]
Form of notice.
A notice in substantially the following form shall satisfy the requirements of RCW 19.150.040:
"PRELIMINARY LIEN NOTICE
You owe and have not paid rent and/or other charges for the use of storage (space number) at (name and address of self-service storage facility)
Charges that have been due for more than fourteen days and accruing on or before (date) are itemized as follows:
DUE DATE DESCRIPTION AMOUNT
IF this sum is not paid in full before (date at least fourteen days from mailing) , your right to use the storage space will terminate, you may be denied, or continue to be denied, access and an owner's lien on any stored property will be imposed. You may pay the sum due and contact the owner at:
(Owner's Signature) "
[1988 c 240 § 6.]
Attachment of lien — Final notice of lien sale or notice of disposal.
If a notice has been sent, as required by RCW 19.150.040, and the total sum due has not been paid as of the date specified in the preliminary lien notice, the lien proposed by this notice attaches as of that date and the owner may deny an occupant access to the space, enter the space, inventory the goods therein, and remove any property found therein to a place of safe keeping. The owner shall then serve by personal service or send to the occupant, addressed to the occupant's last known address and to the alternative address specified in RCW 19.150.120(2) by certified mail, postage prepaid, a notice of final lien sale or final notice of disposition which shall state all of the following:
(1) That the occupant's right to use the storage space has terminated and that the occupant no longer has access to the stored property.
(2) That the stored property is subject to a lien, and the amount of the lien accrued and to accrue prior to the date required to be specified in subsection (3) of this section.
(3) That all the property, other than personal papers and personal photographs, may be sold to satisfy the lien after a specified date which is not less than fourteen days from the date of mailing the final lien sale notice, or a minimum of forty-two days after the date when any part of the rent or other charges due from the occupants remain unpaid, whichever is later, unless the amount of the lien is paid. The owner is not required to sell the personal property within a maximum number of days of when the rent or other charges first became due. If the total value of property in the storage space is less than three hundred dollars, the owner may, instead of sale, dispose of the property in any reasonable manner, subject to the restrictions of RCW 19.150.080(4). After the sale or other disposition pursuant to this section has been completed, the owner shall provide an accounting of the disposition of the proceeds of the sale or other disposition to the occupant at the occupant's last known address and at the alternative address.
(4) That any excess proceeds of the sale or other disposition under RCW 19.150.080(2) over the lien amount and reasonable costs of sale will be retained by the owner and may be reclaimed by the occupant, or claimed by another person, at any time for a period of six months from the sale and that thereafter the proceeds will be turned over to the state as abandoned property as provided in RCW 63.29.165.
(5) That any personal papers and personal photographs will be retained by the owner and may be reclaimed by the occupant at any time for a period of six months from the sale or other disposition of property and that thereafter the owner may dispose of the personal papers and photographs in a reasonable manner, subject to the restrictions of RCW 19.150.080(3).
(6) That the occupant has no right to repurchase any property sold at the lien sale.
[2007 c 113 § 3; 1996 c 220 § 1; 1993 c 498 § 5; 1988 c 240 § 7.]
Application -- 1996 c 220: "This act shall only apply to rental agreements entered into, extended, or renewed after June 6, 1996. Rental agreements entered into before June 6, 1996, which provide for monthly rental payments but providing no specific termination date shall be subject to this act on the first monthly rental payment date next succeeding June 6, 1996." [1996 c 220 § 4.]
Sale of property.
The owner, subject to RCW 19.150.090 and 19.150.100, may sell the property, other than personal papers and personal photographs, upon complying with the requirements set forth in RCW 19.150.080.
[2007 c 113 § 4; 1988 c 240 § 8.]
Manner of sale — Who may not acquire property — Interest on excess proceeds.
(1) After the expiration of the time given in the final notice of lien sale pursuant to RCW 19.150.060, the property, other than personal papers and personal photographs, may be sold or disposed of in a reasonable manner as provided in this section.
(2)(a) If the property has a value of three hundred dollars or more, the sale shall be conducted in a commercially reasonable manner, and, after applying the proceeds to costs of the sale and then to the amount of the lien, the owner shall retain any excess proceeds of the sale on the occupant's behalf. The occupant, or any other person having a court order or other judicial process against the property, may claim the excess proceeds, or a portion thereof sufficient to satisfy the particular claim, at any time within six months of the date of sale.
(b) If the property has a value of less than three hundred dollars, the property may be disposed of in a reasonable manner.
(3) Personal papers and personal photographs that are not reclaimed by the occupant within six months of a sale under subsection (2)(a) of this section or other disposition under subsection (2)(b) of this section may be disposed of in a reasonable manner.
(4) No employee or owner, or family member of an employee or owner, may acquire, directly or indirectly, the property sold pursuant to subsection (2)(a) of this section or disposed of pursuant to subsection (2)(b) of this section, or personal papers and personal photographs disposed of under subsection (3) of this section.
(5) The owner is entitled to retain any interest earned on the excess proceeds until the excess proceeds are claimed by another person or are turned over to the state as abandoned property pursuant to RCW 63.29.165.
[2007 c 113 § 5; 1996 c 220 § 2; 1993 c 498 § 6; 1988 c 240 § 9.]
Application -- 1996 c 220: See note following RCW 19.150.060.
Claim by persons with a security interest.
Any person who has a perfected security interest under *Article 62A.9 RCW of the uniform commercial code may claim any personal property subject to the security interest and subject to a lien pursuant to this chapter by paying the total amount due, as specified in the lien notices, for the storage of the property. Upon payment of the total amount due, the owner shall deliver possession of the particular property subject to the security interest to the person who paid the total amount due. The owner shall not be liable to any person for any action taken pursuant to this section if the owner has fully complied with RCW 19.150.050 and 19.150.060.
[1988 c 240 § 10.]
*Reviser's note: Article 62A.9 RCW was repealed in its entirety by 2000 c 250 § 9A-901, effective July 1, 2001. For later enactment, see Article 62A.9A RCW.
Payment prior to sale by persons claiming a right to the property.
Prior to any sale pursuant to RCW 19.150.080, any person claiming a right to the personal property may pay the amount necessary to satisfy the lien and one month's rent in advance. In that event, the personal property may not be sold, but must be retained by the owner pending a court order directing the disposition of the personal property. If such an order is not obtained within thirty days of the original payment, the claimant must pay the monthly rental charge for the space where the personal property is stored. If rent is not paid, the owner may sell or dispose of the personal property in accordance with RCW 19.150.080. The owner has no liability to a claimant who fails to secure a court order in a timely manner or pay the required rental charge for any sale or other disposition of the personal property.
[2007 c 113 § 6; 1988 c 240 § 11.]
Good faith purchasers.
A purchaser in good faith of goods disposed of pursuant to RCW 19.150.080(2) takes the goods free of any rights of persons against whom the lien was claimed, despite noncompliance by the owner of the storage facility with this chapter.
[1996 c 220 § 3; 1988 c 240 § 12.]
Application -- 1996 c 220: See note following RCW 19.150.060.
Contract for storage space — Alternative address for notice.
(1) Each contract for the rental or lease of individual storage space in a self-service storage facility shall be in writing and shall contain, in addition to the provisions otherwise required or permitted by law to be included, a statement requiring the occupant to disclose any lienholders or secured parties who have an interest in the property that is or will be stored in the self-service storage facility, a statement that the occupant's property will be subject to a claim of lien and may even be sold to satisfy the lien if the rent or other charges due remain unpaid for fourteen consecutive days, and that such actions are authorized by this chapter.
(2) The lien authorized by this chapter shall not attach, unless the rental agreement requests, and provides space for, the occupant to give the name and address of another person to whom the preliminary lien notice and subsequent notices required to be given under this chapter may be sent. Notices sent pursuant to RCW 19.150.040 or 19.150.060 shall be sent to the occupant's address and the alternative address, if both addresses are provided by the occupant. Failure of an occupant to provide an alternative address shall not affect an owner's remedies under this chapter or under any other provision of law.
[1988 c 240 § 13.]
Owner not obligated to provide insurance.
Any insurance protecting the personal property stored within the storage space against fire, theft, or damage is the responsibility of the occupant. The owner is under no obligation to provide insurance.
[1988 c 240 § 14.]
Other rights not impaired.
Nothing in this chapter may be construed to impair or affect the right of the parties to create additional rights, duties, and obligations which do not conflict with the provisions of this chapter. The rights provided by this chapter shall be in addition to all other rights provided by law to a creditor against his or her debtor.
[1988 c 240 § 15.]
Any late fee charged by the owner shall be provided for in the rental agreement. No late fee shall be collected unless it is written in the rental agreement or as an addendum to such agreement. An owner may impose a reasonable late fee for each month an occupant does not pay rent when due. A late fee of twenty dollars or twenty percent of the monthly rental amount, whichever is greater, for each late rental payment shall be deemed reasonable, and shall not constitute a penalty.
[2008 c 61 § 2.]
This chapter shall be known as the "Washington self-service storage facility act."
[1988 c 240 § 1.]
Application of chapter.
This chapter shall only apply to rental agreements entered into, automatically extended, or automatically renewed after June 9, 1988. Rental agreements entered into before June 9, 1988, which provide for monthly rental payments but providing no specific termination date shall be subject to this chapter on the first monthly rental payment date next succeeding June 9, 1988.
[2008 c 61 § 4; 1988 c 240 § 16.]
Existing rental agreements not affected.
All rental agreements entered into before June 9, 1988, and not automatically extended or automatically renewed after that date, or otherwise made subject to this chapter pursuant to RCW 19.150.901, and the rights, duties, and interests flowing from them, shall remain valid, and may be enforced or terminated in accordance with their terms or as permitted by any other statute or law of this state.
[2008 c 61 § 5; 1988 c 240 § 17.]
Chapter not applicable to owner subject to Article 62A.7 RCW.
If an owner issues any warehouse receipt, bill of lading, or other document of title for the personal property stored, the owner and the occupant are subject to Article 62A.7 RCW (commencing with RCW 62A.7-101) of the uniform commercial code and this chapter does not apply.
[1988 c 240 § 18.]
Severability — 1988 c 240.
If any provision of this act or its application to any person or circumstance is held invalid, the remainder of the act or the application of the provision to other persons or circumstances is not affected.
[1988 c 240 § 23.]