Storing in Canada a Bit Different than in the United States

Posted on Jul 25 2011 - 10:50pm by Winnie Hsiu

The self storage industry is on the way to becoming a global industry for one reason and one reason only. We all like stuff. No matter who you are or where you live, when it comes to your stuff you don’t want to let it go. That is where the self storage industry has been able to step in and give people what they need—space.

The United States has the most by far with approximately 46,500 self storage companies spread across the country. The industry is steadily growing in Canada like many other countries; as of 2010 they had over 3,000 self storage facilities.

Liens and storage unit auctions have become more and more common in the United States as more people use self storage out of necessity, but due to the economic times have trouble paying their bill. The frequency of them has prompted many states to make changes to their existing and often out-dated laws and regulations that pertain to self storage.

While every state’s laws has subtle differences in regards to the next state, they are all very similar, making it much easier for people to do business with them no matter what state they are in.

Such would not be the case with Canada.

Going about putting a lien on a delinquent tenant is a much more stressful process in Canada. Laws ted to differ greatly from one area to the next, if they happened to have any laws and regulations in place at all.

“Because there are no set rules, everyone does things radically different,” explains Robert Madsen, president of U-Lock Mini Storage Group in British Columbia.

In the case where a set law is absent, the self storage facility owner/manager is left to his/her own devices when it comes to putting a lien on a storage unit. As shows like “Storage Wars” and Auction Hunters” raise awareness of self storage liens and auction sales, With lien sales becoming more and more common in the country, the need for standardized regulation is clear.

“The big fear is the operator will make things up on the fly,” Madsen adds.

This of course leads some to speculate on the need for some reform in self storage lien laws in Canada.

“The process should be simple for the landlord,” she asserts.  “It makes no sense to me that a lien process takes anywhere from three to eight week..,” Madsen says.

If the industry does continue to grow, the different government are bound to take notice and act on these concerns.

Sources Used:

“Interpreting Canada Self-Storage Law: Evolving Legal Landscape Creates Operational Variation.” Inside Self Storage; 25 July 2011.

2011 SSA Fact Sheet; Self Storage Association.