Renting a self-storage unit is commonplace in the USA. Terminating a contract is just as simple and straightforward as renting and using a storage unit in Las Vegas or New York. The storage providers of such rooms are as hard as nails when it comes to terminating a contract. If there is rent outstanding, the whole storage unit will be quickly auctioned along with its content. This is reminiscent of the successful TV programme «Storage Wars» where they accompany bargain hunters at the auctions in their quest for big money.

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Could there be such a thing as Storage Wars in Switzerland?

Unfortunately not, we’re sorry to have to disappoint you all, budding entrepreneurs. The real world is not as glamorous as it is in the TV shows. A non-paying customer also faces eviction. How does it work in our own country if a customer fails to pay his storage rent?

Self-storage is gaining in popularity in Switzerland and an all-important change is just around the corner. The reasons for storing things can be as varied as the types of tenants. If you are returning from a long trip overseas, or if your house has undergone some remodelling, the storage contract will be terminated at the due date just as it would be for a rented dwelling. In most cases this process runs its course with no problems. However, in a few cases tenants end up in financial difficulties and the storage rent is no longer paid. Should such a situation arise, the storage provider and the tenant must endeavour to stay in direct and personal contact. Forced eviction, like you see in Storage Wars, is the ultimate and final solution to such a problem and should try to be avoided.

It is in both parties’ interest to prevent a forced eviction as much as possible. It can be a real pain for a customer to lose all their stored possessions. That’s why it is always in the tenant’s interest to maintain contact with the storage provider, even in circumstances of financial adversity. Unfortunately, experience shows that this doesn’t often happen, and customers hardly ever get in touch. If the customer fails to react to the payment reminders, the contract is terminated after an extended period of notice, and a forced eviction is instigated. This is actually far less spectacular than the way it is portrayed in the cult series Storage Wars. A list of inventories will be made at the outset, which includes the content of the storage unit. Reputable storage providers will inspect every corner of the storage for personal and private documents. The documents will then be put into safekeeping. Of course, this amounts to a considerable additional effort and expense; however, it also means that customers may have the good fortune to get back their valuable paperwork at a later date. In cases where the remaining content of the storage has a material market value, they may be utilised elsewhere instead of going to auction. This way the financial damage resulting from the absence of payments and the cost of doing the inventory can be compensated. If the goods have no marketable value then the personal belongings may also be disposed.

But who pays in the event of a clearance?

The costs of a clearance are initially assumed by the storage operators before being invoiced to the tenant. It never pays to stop paying rent, because there will be charges for clearance and disposal work, in addition to the rental costs. Not to mention any sentimental value. Especially when, as is often the case, there are numerous mementos in the storages; regrettably, these too will have to be disposed.

In conclusion, it needs to be said that there is a sizeable gap between what happens in Storage Wars and the real world.


Article elaborated by Zebrabox. Zebrabox is the market leader for self-storage solutions in Switzerland and offers its customers over 5’200 private storage units in 8 locations. Are you in need of space for furniture that you currently do not require, or is your house bursting at the seams? Then get a non-binding quote here.

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