Ok so the storage facility that I have been a customer of for about 3 years has 3 cycles ago (cycle is 28 days) started charging me double rent on my unit. I was never sent any notices regarding this “price change” nor have I signed anything or agreed to pay double the rent. I have gone over my lease multiple times and see absolutely nothing that indicates that this company is allowed to suddenly start charging me double rent. When I tried paying my normal bill (as is contractually specified in my lease) I was told that if I don’t pay this double rent charge (now 3 cycles in) that the company will take posession of my belongings and auction them off. Is this legal? Are self storage companies permitted to suddenly start charging and demanding double rent on a unit? And basically holding your belongings hostage unless you pay them this double charge? So if I don’t pay double the amount on my unit (which is $223/month) they will take my things and auction them off - isn’t this extortion or something similar? Do laws exist that protect customers from situations like this? Or organizations that deal with these type of issues? I don’t know too much about self storage laws in Ontario and would really appreciate any advice at all. What should I do? Where could I find someone to help me? If it comes down to them trying to auction my belongings off - even though I have paid what I’m supposed to according to my lease - do I call the police or will I be forced to pay these double charges (so I don’t lose my most important items) and then take the matter to small claims court? What are my options? Solutions? Again really any advice is very appreciated. Thank you!
There are no lien laws that are specific to self storage in Ontario. So most operators rely on contract law, and somewhat fall back onto the Warehousing and Liens Act, which was established to address large warehouses when they have lien customers, so it’s not exactly a perfect fit.
My gut feel is this sounds like a mistake. No storage operator that I know would double rent overnight. But storage operators do occasionally increase rates. You should probably read the fine print of the contract you signed with the storage facility, in there they will specify the terms and conditions of your tenancy.
Honestly, go down to the facility and talk to the facility manager. Explain your position, and see if they can work a special deal for you. There is a LOT of competition in the self storage sector in Ontario these days, most likely you could rent the same size unit for cheaper at another facility. You could use this to your advantage when discussing with the facility manager of your current facility. Especially if you get a quote from the competitor in advance and bring that with you.
Hopefully this helps.
Best of luck!