AZ SSA Takes Lead in Protecting Tenant Documents

Posted on Feb 24 2010 - 5:51pm by Tony Gonzalez

The Arizona Self Storage Association has been trying to push a bill that will protect tenant documents, HB2643, through the Arizona legislature. Last week HB2653 passed another milestone on its way to becoming a law — it passed the Arizona House Commerce Committee. The law will impose certain restrictions on what can be done with personal documents that are placed in self-storage, and what should happen to those documents in the event that the tenant abandons a self-storage unit without removing its contents. The bill is meant to prevent possible cases of identity theft if documents that are abandoned were to fall into the wrong hands.  

HB2643, if passed, will place certain responsibilities with the self-storage tenant and will provide some protection for self-storage operators if they are placed in the position of being left with personal documents that have been abandoned in a unit. Specifically, the new bill has the following provisions:

 

  • It subjects the tenant to a penalty for abandoning private documents. 
  • It requires tenants to disclose to the self-storage operator whether or not they are storing personal financial documents (particularly documents belonging to other parties, such as old loan applications or mortgage documents, which are often archived in self-storage–but also documents which may contain the tenant’s own personal financial information). 
  • It prohibits self-storage operators from selling protected property (private information) if they have been notified that private information is contained among abandoned goods. 
  • It protects self-storage operators from being held liable for the sale or destruction of private information if the tenant did not disclose to the operator that such information was being stored in the unit. 
The Arizona Self Storage Association hopes that HB2643 will be passed and will become model legislation for other states who are seeking solutions to the problem of abandoned documents. Maine, in particular, has been wrestling with these issues for several months, and is considering its own legislation. The legislation being considered in Maine arose because of several cases where mortgage companies went out of business and abandoned their archived documents, including mortgage applications, in the self-storage units where they were being stored. Many self-storage operators have expressed concern about documents that are abandoned and what their own responsibility might be with regard to those documents. For example, Janet Hanscom, the manager of Acorn Self Storage in Westbrook, Maine, contacted Maine’s credit protection bureau to help her find out what to do with documents that were abandoned by four different mortgage companies that had been her tenants before they went out of business. Hanscom tried to convince the former tenants to take responsibility for the documents, but they refused. “It is unconscionable,” she said. 

 

AZ SSA Takes Lead in Protecting Tenant Documents

About Tony Gonzalez

Tony Gonzalez has enjoyed a prosperous career in general contracting but has decided to complete his college degree in - of all things - sociology - and enjoys blogging about his daily observations of our "human society" and other musings about life and people. He has a particular interest around the shifting economy and how society reacts to downsizing changes, not only in the "contracting" world, but in the areas of moving/storage/rental, etc.
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