Hazardous material storage is a valid concern in many places, including a self-storage facility. Not only are stored items vulnerable, but the surrounding community could be at stake, too. According to Cape Cod Times, Monument Beach residents feared a particular grocery store turned self-storage facility would “get blown up” because tenants would freely store dangerous material. Although the owners came up with a few solutions, here are more ways to prevent hazardous material at your self-storage facility.
1. Tighten the Lease Agreement
If written well, a lease agreement can serve many purposes. One commonly overlooked intent is merely to manage risk by educating the leasees. For example, include in the lease a list of hazardous materials that are not allowed on the property. Plenty of tenants blame ignorance or “I didn’t know!” when an accident happens.
Also, establish a reinforcement policy for tenants who break the lease agreement. Some self-storage operators charge a fine while others penalize in more strict ways, such as lease termination. Whatever you choose, remember to stick with it.
Lastly, require positive identification from the start by verifying phone numbers, addresses, names, etc. Having the correct information on hand is often enough to dissuade any potential rulebreakers.
2. Improve Security
Although a self-storage facility doesn’t typically have crowds of people like an airport or a supermarket would, unique exposure still exists. People expect their thousands of dollars worth of personal items to be safe—even from the threat of a hazardous material incident, for example.
That said, following are a few recommendations to enhance safety measures:
- Install security cameras
- Build fences surrounding the property
- Protect the facility with locks, gates, keypads, etc.
From a marketing viewpoint, promoting a robust security system drums up more business than most other strategies, after all.
3. Enforce Search Policy
To preface this point, operators can’t typically search units unless a specific set of extreme circumstances exists. However, people tend to behave better when they know they’re being monitored. So, the “watchful operator strategy” goes a long way.
Notice the types of vehicles arriving at your facility. Pay attention to how they park, and if they have an unloading pattern. The same large van backing up to a unit twice a week is an enormous red flag, for example.
Talk with the tenants to learn more about what’s genuinely going on. And if all else fails, reference your lease agreement and enforce the search policy.
Preventing hazardous material at your self-storage facility is more than a shot in the dark. By taking a strategic approach, you can keep your facility and the surrounding community safer.