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Iowa Governor Signs Bill Overhauling Self Storage Lien Law
Posted 6/13/2019
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Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds signed Senate File 528 (SF 528) on May 1, overhauling the state’s self storage lien law. The new law goes into effect on July 1, allowing facility operators to send lien notices via e-mail or verified mail, advertise auctions via channels other than the local newspaper, and conduct lien sales online. It also allows them to charge a late fee of $20 or 20 percent of monthly rent, whichever is greater; limit the value of stored property and have vehicles towed once delinquency exceeds 30 days.

Similar to other recent state lien-law legislation, the advertising provision in SF 528 allows self storage operators to advertise auctions on “commercially reasonable” platforms, as long as they are likely to attract at least three independent bidders. The law also allows for private sales, and items can be sold as a unit or in parcels. Operators may also bid on contents during public lien sales.

The law also requires self storage businesses to disclose in their rental agreements if the property is in a “special flood hazard area” as defined by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The amendment was adopted into the bill in late March, around the time several parts of Iowa were hit with heavy flooding. The measure also outlines procedures operators must follow when a facility is damaged or destroyed by a fire, flood or other catastrophic event.

The update “adopts all of SSA’s legislative priorities,” according to a June 10 e-mail to members of the national Self Storage Association (SSA). “Operators should promptly review the new law because you will need to revise your existing rental agreements to maximize the benefits,” SSA officials said. Introduced on March 7, the measure passed the senate on March 28 behind a 35-12 vote before sailing through the house 100-0 on April 11. It was sent to the governor on April 30.

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