Do Self Storage Managers Go Through Online Storage Auction Units?

online storage unit auction

Many bidders fear facility managers go through online storage auction units and remove items before the unit goes to auction. “What stops the managers from pilfering the unit?” This is a common question many bidders ask on StorageTreasure’s social pages. The short answer is: there are many reasons managers do not go through storage auction units, and it’s our goal to break down all the details of a self storage auction so you can have confidence the units you bid on aren’t tampered with.

The Tenant Can Still Pay

As most of you are painfully aware, tenants can and do wait until the very last minute to pay their bills. These tenants expect their unit to look precisely as they left it. If items are missing, the storage company could face a lawsuit, and the manager would probably lose their job. That is a significant risk to take for something like a used laptop or a pair of Jordans.

Company Requirements

There is a common misconception that it is illegal for managers to enter a storage unit. However, this is not true. Usually, the storage company has rules prohibiting managers from entering the unit or touching anything. Additionally, most storage companies require two unrelated people to be present at unit inventories, when lock cuts occur. Often, a supervisor will escort the property manager to do the unit inventory.

Online Storage Auction Units Procedures

Fear of lawsuits is instilled in storage facility managers from their first day. Auctions are a necessary ill of the self storage business. The paperwork for an online storage auction unit is complicated. The laws are vague and difficult to understand. As a whole, facility managers find very little joy in having to post an auction. Most managers are excited to be able to re-rent the space and not have to clean out the leftovers tenants and bidders leave behind. Want to learn more about auctions? Check out this article about why storage auctions get cancelled.

Tenant Vacates

Sometimes it is clear a unit is full of garbage and holds nothing of value. It makes sense to think somebody took the valuables from the unit and left the trash behind. Often, the unit owner is the one who has done this. It is common in the self storage business for a tenant to clear out anything of value before they stop paying their bill. They know they will stop paying, so why not leave the trash behind for somebody else? They don’t want to go to the dump and pay the fees to dispose of the items, so leaving the garbage is a win for them.

Pictures Don’t Match

Sometimes, the pictures look like items are moved from image to image. Managers can make mistakes when uploading photos. Some tenants are, what we in the business like to call, “repeat offenders.” They may have had their unit up for auction as many as 5-10 times. The managers may be storing these images in files for each unit and accidentally choose an old picture. This happens. Incorrect pictures are a common reason for unit cancellations. Don’t assume the manager tampered with the unit.

If you arrive at a facility to pick up a unit and the photos are completely different than what was listed online, you DO NOT have to buy the unit. It’s a good practice is to have pictures on your phone or printed showing the online listing. If the images don’t match reality, stop there. Don’t put your lock on the unit, and do not remove anything from the unit. Tell the facility manager you will not be taking the unit and request your money back. You will also need to request a refund from StorageTreasures. If the facility refuses to issue the refund, contact StorageTreasures, and we will help you.


If you are new to self storage online auctions and like information like this, visit our past blog article “Storage Auctions: What You Need to Know.” 

Have questions or need to contact us? You can reach us at or (480) 397-6503. 




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