Storage Unit Maintenance Checklist
June 12, 2023
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A Guide To Storage Unit Maintenance
As a self-storage facility owner, it’s your job to properly maintain your properties in suitable shape for renters. This means prioritizing regular cleanings, preventative maintenance, and even renovations to keep your facility’s infrastructure, exterior, amenities, and other features in their best condition.
Keeping your storage unit facility in top shape can lead to higher retention and occupancy, better customer reviews, and even increased value of the property if you decide to sell. Regular maintenance is also critical for preventing future repairs (and their costs) in the future.
Here are the major storage unit upkeep tasks to include on your maintenance checklist.
Empty, Mop, and Scrub Vacant Units
Tenant turnover is the best time to assess your storage units’ condition and refresh them. Start with a thorough cleaning of the entire unit. Remember to:
- Empty any abandoned belongings, trash, or debris (dirt, leaves, etc.)
- Sweep, mop, or scrub the floors
- Wipe down walls, doors, and corners
- Remove any visible dirt or grime
Each of these steps to cleaning out a storage unit helps you provide a clean unit for your next customer. And the good news is that a basic cleaning won’t take you or your staff more than a few hours of dedicated work. The storage unit cleanout cost is also very affordable if you plan on hiring outside help with this task—your tenants themselves can even hire a cleanout company to empty a unit for $80 – $150.
Wash and Inspect Doors
Storage unit doors also need regular maintenance. For roll-up doors, ensure they glide smoothly and lubricate them if not. Check the insulation around storage unit doors to ensure that weather damage or pests haven’t introduced or deepened any cracks. Also be sure to spray down or scrub the exterior side of all doors to remove any dirt, salt, or general grime. A power washer is best for this task to ensure your storage unit facility appears tidy and spotless.
Inspect Gates, Locks, and Security/Alarm Systems
Security devices and mechanisms can wear down over time, and regularly inspecting them can help you notice potential security breaches that may exist. Ensure that all gates are well oiled, relatively soundless, and working properly. Check the locks on all storage units as well as those on your office or other buildings to ensure proper functioning. Inspect and clean any security cameras you have around your facility. Lastly, clear any obstructions around emergency exits and make sure all fire extinguishers, fire alarms, and sprinkler systems are working properly.
It’s never fun to remove pests from your property, so preventative maintenance pays here. Regularly inspect all your units for evidence of infestations of rodents, insects, ants, bees’ nests, or other pests. You may want to spray pesticides around your storage units to deter and remove any unwelcome animal residents.
Inspect Siding and Roofs
Siding and roofs are often susceptible to weather and water damage. Check roofs for any damage due to the weight of snow in cold climates and unclog any gutters as well.
Are storage units responsible for water damage? While storage facility owners generally aren’t responsible for damage to belongings due to inclement weather as long as they include a release of liability clause in their leases, you still don’t want renters complaining about their belongings being damaged by rain and snow. Inspect siding and roofs for any leaks where water and moisture could infiltrate your units and damage customers’ belongings.
Check Climate Control Functioning
If you offer climate-controlled units, check the thermostat controls to ensure they are working properly and your units are protected from both heat and moisture. Customers who want climate-controlled units pay substantially more for them, so make sure that those renters are getting the value they’re paying for.
Test Lighting Systems
Every so often, inspect, test, and replace any dim light bulbs. Bright lighting contributes to your facility’s sense of security and professionalism, so ensure that inside and outside lighting is up to your standards.
Sweep, Mop, or Vacuum Interior Hallways
For indoor-access units, the interior hallways and areas of your facility can quickly accumulate dirt, dust, and debris. Be sure to clean these interior areas regularly, especially as renters are frequently using these spaces to carry large or old items in and out.
Upgrade Your Parking Lot
Your parking area should look clean and well-cared for to demonstrate how you treat the rest of your facility. Each summer, inspect your parking lot and pull weeds or other plants growing between cracks in the concrete or through asphalt. Paint fresh lines for parking when necessary. You should also inspect your dumpster area to ensure renters are disposing of items correctly and that trash has not been discarded elsewhere around the facility.
Shore Up or Replace Fencing
Fences discourage loitering and separate your storage unit facility from neighboring land or businesses. Shoring up existing fencing or replacing old fencing can go a long way toward sprucing up the security and overall feel of your whole facility.
Storage Unit Contents
Occupied storage units should also be inspected from time to time. This means including a clause in your leases about regular inspections, notifying tenants when you’ll be inspecting their units, and then following through with your inspection policy. Here are some storage unit contents typically prohibited:
- Hazardous substances and highly flammable items
- Weapons or ammunition
- Illegal substances
- Evidence of criminal activity
- Evidence of someone living in their storage unit
If you find any of the above, be sure to enforce your facility policies and ask renters to remove them. In the case of criminal activity or evidence of residence in a storage unit, eviction will likely be your best option. It is illegal to live in a storage unit in the US.
The best way to protect your self-storage facility investment (and your renters) is to keep it in top condition through regular maintenance. Hopefully this checklist has given you an idea of the tasks and responsibilities you should complete periodically to take good care of your units and facility.