Category Archives: Uncategorized

Forward 2020: A Virtual Event

The Northeast, Maine, and New Hampshire Self Storage Associations are joining together to host a 2-day virtual educational event on November 4th and 5th. With the cancellation of their fall shows, the associations are teaming up to provide education to their members and their state self storage industries.

2020 has been a year of turmoil and we need to look ahead at future processes, regulations, trends, and opportunities in order to succeed, so we invite you to attend Forward 2020. Join us for sessions on pressing issues such as legal and legislative, the future of our market, lien sales, business automation, and more.

The agenda and registration is below. Session descriptions will be updated as soon as possible, so check back often for new information!

Wednesday, November 4th
10:00 AM    Welcome
10:15 AM    Automation: Is It for Everyone? with Matthew Beal, Storable
Sponsored by Easy Storage Solutions
Join us to discuss the full range of automation and how it can be more simple and practical than you may think. Automation isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. When it’s tailored to your operation, your business can run more efficiently and effectively while improving the tenant and staff experience.
11:30 AM   New Normal or Not! Operational Best Practices – Pandemic or Not! with Lynn Sykes, Storage Asset Management
Sponsored by PTI Security Systems
Industry expert Lynn Sykes has seen most everything in her 19-year career. In this presentation, she will offer up best practices that will help you continue to operate during any crisis, prosper during a pandemic and economic downturn, go more virtual for rentals, and create a great customer experience in our “new normal.”
12:45 PM   When Will It End: Legal Considerations During the Coronavirus Pandemic and Beyond with Joe Doherty, Self Storage Association
Massachusetts and Rhode Island facilities can look forward to this session as SSA’s Chief Legal & Legislative Officer will present state overviews from the COVID-19 pandemic and answer your questions. He will also provide tips for avoiding wrongful sale claims in the future, collection guidance, what new rules and regulations you should know, and more.
2:00 PM     How to Understand and Make the Most of the 2019 New Hampshire Lien Law Updates with Joe Doherty, Self Storage Association
Almost a year has passed since the lien law was successfully updated in New Hampshire, and even though the pandemic interfered in NHSSA’s efforts to update its members, they remain committed to getting this information to you. SSA’s Joe Doherty was instrumental in the law’s passage and will address everything you need to know, such as specific changes to the lien law, updates you need to make to your rental agreements to comply, changes to your lien sale procedures, etc. He will also answer any questions you may have.
3:00 PM      Adjourn

Thursday, November 5th
10:00 AM    Welcome
10:15 AM    Market Evaluation, Cap Rates, Aftermath of Initial COVID-19 Impacts, and Where the Market is Heading with Kevin Bledsoe, Investment Real Estate, LLC
One of the most frequent questions asked over the last 90 days from self storage owners is, “What are you seeing in the market as a result of COVID-19 and what will be the short-term and long-term effects?” More specifically, self storage owners want to know if occupancy is down at facilities, how bad delinquency issues are, what is happening with property values, if new construction projects are moving forward, what will happen to property values in the near future, how day-to-day operations have changed, if they should process rent increases, and what the future of our industry is. Our speaker talks to thousands of owners from across the country every year, ranging from single property owners to CEOs of the country’s largest REITs. His company subscribes to data collection programs in order to keep a pulse on the industry and works to understand where they see the market heading as we enter 2021. Let’s take some time to understand where the market is going and what owners are doing to prepare for the future.
11:30 AM    Taking Your Auctions from Chaos to Control with Alonna Ross,
In this session we will be covering aspects of both online and live auctions. Key presentation points include how to operate and prosper during the pandemic and possible recession, new auction trends, auction automation, and tips for a successful auction.
12:45 PM    Legal Operations of Self Storage Facilities in the ‘New Normal’ of a Pandemic with Scott Zucker, Weissmann Zucker Euster Morochnik & Garber P.C.
Sponsored by Goodman-Gable-Gould Adjusters International
Join self storage attorney Scott Zucker for an extended session that will provide state-specific updates for Maine and Connecticut along with a portion on general best practices, operational issues, and of course, Q&A. We will cover topics recommended by you including new rules and regulations, collection guidance, liability during the pandemic, and more.
2:30 PM      Adjourn

VENDORS: You have the opportunity to get your company in front of three different associations – five states total – during one event. If you are interested in sponsoring Forward 2020, don’t delay! Many of these sponsorships are limited and already being claimed. Read about them and reserve yours here.

Attendee Registration Fees
Registration for members of the Maine, New Hampshire, and Northeast Self Storage Associations is just $30 per person. All registrations will be distributed back to the member’s appropriate association.

Nonmembers are invited to attend for $70. Consider joining your state association to not only attend this event at a discounted rate, but to receive all the other benefits of your association. Membership cost and effective dates can be found on the registration page.

NeSSA Donates to State COVID-19 Charities


The Northeast Self Storage Association (NeSSA), comprised of Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island, has made donations to three different charities in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Since NeSSA serves the self storage industries of three different states, one charity was selected per state and each received a donation of $500 to help provide support throughout their communities.

Executive Director Courtney J. Kahler said, “I always say how lucky I am to work with such an amazing board, and this gesture is proof. The idea to donate to each state came directly from the board, was fully supported by all directors, and approved unanimously. In a time when everyone is struggling, NeSSA’s leadership is first and foremost thinking about others.”

The three charities chosen were selected because they are well-established within their states and supported by state leaders. They also each assess and provide aid based on the current needs within their communities, which is an ideal aspect when you consider the ever-changing climate of the virus. You can read more about the selected charities below.

4-CT: Connecticut COVID-19 Charity Connection is a private, independent charity that has the support of Governor Lamont. They partner with other philanthropies in the state to provide aid across of a range of issues including meals, mental health, school closures, financial aid to those in need, support for families of frontline workers, and more. They evaluate their requests and prioritize their current projects based on those most affected by COVID-19 at the time. For more information, visit

The Massachusetts COVID-19 Relief Fund was launched by First Lady Lauren Baker and the One8 Foundation. They work with regional foundations and non-profit leaders to assess where there are needs and provide grants. 100% of all donations go to those most in need, including essential frontline workers like healthcare professionals and first responders as well as vulnerable populations such as the homeless, those with disabilities, the food insecure, and immigrant populations. You can find more information at

Established over 100 years ago, the Rhode Island Foundation is the largest funder of the state’s non-profit organizations. Their COVID-19 Response Fund is awarded to those providing direct assistance to those with financial needs or hardships resulting from the pandemic including food, rent and expense relief, access to healthcare, and more. They also provide grants to support non-profit organizations that are in financial distress due to meeting the current overwhelming community needs. You can learn more about this organization at

For more information about what NeSSA is doing to help during the pandemic, you can visit If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to us at

A PDF version of this press release can be found here.

Rhode Island: COVID-19 Updates

Executive Order Closing Non-Critical Retail Businesses

Update: Governor Raimondo announced that the stay-at-home order would be lifted on May 9. Self storage is allowed to remain open but must maintain the following guidelines:

Executive Order 20-24 requires all employees of customer/client-facing businesses and nonprofit organizations, office-based businesses and non-profit organizations, and any other such business categories that are still in operation to wear cloth face coverings unless an employee can easily, continuously, and measurably maintain at least six feet of distance from other employees for the duration of his or her work or unless doing so would damage the employee’s health. All such employees must wear face coverings in any entry, exit, and common areas of the business, including, but not limited to: check-in, registration, reception, hallways, bathrooms, breakrooms, time clock areas, elevators, stairways, etc.

All such businesses must provide, at their expense, face coverings or materials for the making of such face coverings for their employees. Such coverings or materials may be made available staff-wide or individually upon employee request so long as the result is organization-wide use of face coverings. Nothing shall prevent an employee from fashioning his or her own cloth face mask.

Additionally, all businesses reopening must comply and implement several new measures outlined here.

On December 2, 2020, Governor Raimondo issued Executive Order 20-102 which extends  several orders, including the mask mandate.

On March 28, Governor Raimondo issued Executive Order 20-14 closing non-critical retail businesses from March 31 – April 13 (Executive Order 20-23 extended the deadline of previous orders in effect until May 8, 2020). . Self storage is not considered a retail business and is therefore unaffected, and is also listed as allowed to remain open under the Department of Business Regulation’s (RI DBR) Guidance on Critical Retail Businesses (page 3). Per Executive Order 20-09, all businesses remaining open must implement CDC guidance to ensure social distancing practices (see page 2, paragraph 3). Anyone who can work from home should. If you feel it is best for you and your employees to close your office, work from home (if able), or limit your hours, please do. Please see our post, Your Facilities and COVID-19, for ideas and reminders to help run your business.

Links Regarding the Executive Order

Eviction Processing Suspended During Crisis

As of June 1, 2020 the Rhode Island Supreme Court ordered that the District Court could “recommence the adjudication of eviction matters… and establish a protocol for the orderly and equitable handling of these matters, giving priority to cases pending for the greatest amount of time.” While this does not affect self storage lien sales, it may affect the ability to evict a tenant based on reasons other than non-payment.

Links Regarding the Eviction Process Suspension

Price Gouging

During a time like this, it is also important that you are aware of your state’s specific guidelines with respect to price gouging. This may effect street rates, promotions, and occupied rates. Below is a summary of Rhode Island’s price gouging law:

Selling “essential commodities” – any goods, services, materials, merchandise, supplies, equipment, resources, or other article of commerce, after the declaration of an emergency at an “unconscionably high price.”

Unconscionably high price means the amount charged represents a gross disparity between the average prices at which the same or similar commodity was readily available and sold or offered for sale within the local trade area in the usual course of business during the thirty (30) days immediately before the declaration of the market emergency and the additional charges are not substantially attributable to increased cost to retailers, imposed by their suppliers, including replacement costs imposed by the vendors’ source.

Links Regarding Price Gouging

Rhode Island State Resources

You can find guidelines to help run your facility whether your office closes or remains open on NeSSA’s earlier post, Your Facilities and COVID-19. Members can find additional resources including websites, webinars, articles, and notice/letter templates on our new COVID-19 Resources page (must be logged in to view).

Massachusetts: COVID-19 Updates

Can I Conduct Lien Sales?

Per legislation, lien sales could resume in Massachusetts on June 25, 2020 and there are currently no statewide moratoriums on lien sales in Connecticut, Massachusetts, or Rhode Island.

However, check with your local city or county to see if they have enacted their own ordinances restricting lien sales and/or late fees. If your town does have an eviction moratorium, please consult with local counsel on whether it affects self storage. The national SSA recommends that you do not call the town for advice.

Additionally, reach out to the units in default before beginning the lien process and find out if their non-payment is due to a COVID-related reason. If so, you should not proceed with the lien. Instead, try to work with the tenant to reach a resolution.

Finally, all liens should begin at the first step and complete the full process, even if they were in default prior to the State of Emergency.

Emergency Order Closing Non-Essential Businesses

Update: Governor Baker issued COVID-19 Order No. 33 allowing certain businesses to reopen with additional preventative measures. Self storage may remain open subject to the following requirements:

All persons, including employees, customers, and vendors should remain at least six feet apart to the greatest extent possible, both inside and outside workplaces. Establish protocols to ensure that employees can practice adequate social distancing. Provide signage for safe social distancing. Require face coverings or masks for all employees. Provide hand-washing capabilities throughout the workplace. Ensure frequent hand washing by employees and adequate supplies to do so. Provide regular sanitization of high touch areas, such as workstations, equipment, screens, doorknobs, restrooms throughout work site. Provide training for employees regarding the social distancing and hygiene protocols. Employees who are displaying COVID-19-like symptoms do not report to work. Establish a plan for employees getting ill from COVID-19 at work, and a return-to-work plan. Establish and maintain cleaning protocols specific to the business. When an active employee is diagnosed with COVID-19, cleaning and disinfecting must be performed.

Additionally, Governor Baker issued COVID-19 Order No. 52 effective October 5, 2020 regarding gathering sizes and use of masks.

News broke that Governor Baker issued an Emergency Order that will take effect March 24th at 12:00 noon requiring non-essential businesses to close their physical workplaces until May 4th. This has since been extended until May 18, 2020.

The Baker-Polito Administration issued a list detailing which businesses are considered “essential.” Under the Transportation and Logistics section (page 5 of the PDF), the fourth bullet point from the bottoms states:

“Workers who support moving and storage services”

The list in based on federal guidance and amended to reflect the needs of Massachusetts’ unique economy. And while they can remain open, they are urged to follow social distancing protocols.

At this point, self storage businesses are allowed to remain open, but are not mandated to. So if you feel that it is best for you and your employees to close your office, work from home (if able), or limit your hours, please do. Please see our earlier post, Your Facilities and COVID-19, for ideas and reminders to help run your business.

Links Regarding the Emergency Order

Evictions & Foreclosures During the COVID-19 Emergency

On March 27th Attorney General Maura Healey filed an emergency regulation, 940 CMR 35.00, which immediately penalized most collection efforts on debts. On page 3 of the regulation, section 35.03(1)(b) states:

For the ninety (90) days following the effective date of this regulation or until the State of Emergency Period expires, whichever occurs first, it is an unfair or deceptive act or practice for any creditor, including a debt collector, to… initiate, threaten to initiate, or act upon any legal or equitable remedy for the garnishment, seizure, attachment, or withholding of wages, earnings, property or funds for the payment of a debt to a creditor

Currently, you can resume collecting late fees, overlocking, and the lien process on June 25th (90 days after March 27th). That said, be sure to double check that the regulation has not been extended or a new regulation has not been imposed prior to re-starting the process. You will also want to double check with your local ordinances as they may have their own regulations put in place as well. Should the Attorney General extend the regulation, we recommend you consult with an attorney to analyze the risks of conducting lien sales vs. the losses you are accumulating from units that are in default.

It would also be wise to ask the tenant if they are in default due to a COVID-related reason. If they respond affirmatively, you should absolutely not move forward with a lien sale on that tenant.

Additionally, Bill H.4647, which is still in effect, restricts certain non-essential evictions for tenants of a “small business premise unit” and does not apply to those storing for household purposes. The tricky part is knowing whether your tenant is storing for household or commercial purposes. We suggest you look at each delinquent tenant individually and make a judgment on whether they are storing for household or commercial purposes.

Lastly, if you were in the middle of the lien process prior to the regulation going into effect, you will need to start the process again at a minimum of the second notice. The second notice requires that the operator provide a specified time and place for the sale, which would be outdated by now. That said, NeSSA and the SSA encourage operators to re-start the entire process. The time between the first notice and the second notice is just ten days, and it is better to be safe than sorry.

During such a confusing and ever-changing time, we urge you to err on the side of caution and empathy. Work something out with your customers if they have been affected by these tough circumstances, and hopefully in the future the goodwill you show your tenants will far outweigh the minimal lost income.

Links Regarding the Debt Collection Regulation

Price Gouging

During a time like this, it is also important that you are aware of your state’s specific guidelines with respect to price gouging. This may effect street rates, promotions, and occupied rates. Below is a summary of Massachusetts’s price gouging law:

Selling “any petroleum product” at an unconscionably high price “during any market emergency” (as declared by the Governor).

Attorney General Maura Healey filed an amendment to regulation 940 CMR 3.18 which immediately “prohibits price gouging of goods and services necessary for public health and safety during a declared statewide or national emergency.” Below is a summary of this amendment:

It shall be an unfair or deceptive act or practice, during any declared statewide or national emergency, for any business at any point in the chain of distribution or manufacture to sell or offer to sell to any consumer or to any other business any goods or services necessary for the health, safety, or welfare of the public for an amount that represents an unconscionably high price. A price is unconscionably high for the purposes of this Section if: there is gross disparity between the price charged or offered and the price at which the same good or service was sold or offered for sale by the business in the usual course of business immediately prior to the onset of the declared statewide or national emergency, or the price at which the same or similar product is readily obtainable from other businesses; and the disparity is not substantially attributable to increased prices charged by the business’s suppliers or increased costs due to an abnormal market disruption.

Links Regarding Price Gouging

Cashless Ban

This is a reminder that while we are to practice social distancing and the current payment preference may be to only accept payments online or made with a credit or debit card, Massachusetts General Law Part III, Title IV, Chapter 255D, Section 10A states:

No retail establishment offering goods and services for sale shall discriminate against a cash buyer by requiring the use of credit by a buyer in order to purchase such goods and services. All such retail establishments must accept legal tender when offered as payment by the buyer.

You can request an alternative form of payment and try to work with a customer, but by law if they want to pay with cash, you must accept.

Massachusetts State Resources

You can find guidelines to help run your facility whether your office closes or remains open on NeSSA’s earlier post, Your Facilities and COVID-19. Members can find additional resources including websites, webinars, articles, and notice/letter templates on our new COVID-19 Resources page (must be logged in to view).

Connecticut: COVID-19 Updates

Executive Order Closing Non-Essential Businesses

Update: Governor Lamont issued Executive Order 7PP permitting phased re-openings. Self storage may continue to operate subject to the following rules and restrictions:

Per Executive Order No. 7BB, any person in a public place, including essential businesses, in Connecticut who is unable to or does not maintain a safe social distance of approximately six feet from every other person must cover their mouth and nose with a mask or cloth face-covering. Employers must issue face coverings to employees, provide them with materials and a CDC tutorial on how to make their own mask, or “compensate employees for the reasonable and necessary costs employees expend on such materials to make their own masks or cloth face covering.” Essential businesses must also implement several workplace rules that can be viewed here.

Acting Governor Susan Bysiewicz has since amended Executive Order No. 7BB with Executive Order No. 7NNN. Any person in a public place in Connecticut, whether indoors or outdoors, who does not maintain a safe social distance of approximately six feet from every other person shall cover their mouth and nose with a mask or cloth face-covering.

News broke that Governor Lamont signed Executive Order 7H that will take effect March 23rd at 8:00 PM ordering non-essential employees to stay home. Executive Order 7X extended the deadline of previous orders in effect until May 20, 2020.

The Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) issued a list detailing which businesses are considered “essential.” The first point states:

“Essential workers in the 16 Critical Infrastructure Sectors, as defined by the Department of Homeland Security otherwise addressed in a prior or future executive order pertaining to the existing declared public health and civil preparedness emergency.”

Within the 16 sectors, self storage is directly listed as an example of real estate under the Commercial Facilities Sector.

Furthermore, “storage for Essential Businesses” is listed under point seven of the DECD’s list, and “any business that only has a single occupant/employee is deemed exempt” can be found at the bottom of the page. Many self storage facilities may also qualify under these.

At this point, self storage businesses are allowed to remain open, but are not mandated to. So if you feel that it is best for you and your employees to close your office, work from home (if able), or limit your hours, please do. Additionally, essential businesses must implement several workplace rules. Please see our earlier post, Your Facilities and COVID-19, for ideas and reminders to help run your business.

Links Regarding the Executive Order

Evictions During the COVID-19 Emergency

The State of Connecticut Superior Court ordered an immediate stay of the service of all issued executions on evictions and ejectments through August 1, 2020. While this does not affect self storage lien sales, it may affect the ability to evict a tenant based on reasons other than non-payment.

Price Gouging

During a time like this, it is also important that you are aware of your state’s specific guidelines with respect to price gouging. This may effect street rates, promotions, and occupied rates. Below is a summary of Connecticut’s price gouging law:

It is unlawful to increase the price of any item which such person, firm, or corporation sells or offers for sale at retail at any location in an area which is the subject of any disaster emergency declaration issued by the Governor pursuant to any transportation emergency declaration, until the period of emergency or disaster is declared by the Governor or the President to be at an end.

Links Regarding Price Gouging

Connecticut State Resources

You can find guidelines to help run your facility whether your office closes or remains open on NeSSA’s earlier post, Your Facilities and COVID-19. Members can find additional resources including websites, webinars, articles, and notice/letter templates on our new COVID-19 Resources page (must be logged in to view).

Your Facilities and COVID-19

At this point you have probably read a dozen emails from businesses you patronize detailing what they are doing to keep their employees safe and their stores clean in the wake of COVID-19. But what should you do? Our industry is unique in the fact that we don’t see crowds of people entering our offices every day and most facilities already have a limited number of staff.

NeSSA has put together some information below for your consideration. Please note, nothing in this post constitutes as legal advice, nor is it medical advice.

Stay Updated

First and foremost, stay updated with the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and follow their recommendations. Additionally, keep up with your state government and heed any curfews and restrictions put in place for your state. Please see the links below for general information as well as information from your specific state.

CDC – Businesses & Employers
Rhode Island

NeSSA has completed a COVID-19 Member Resource page with additional resources for our members including webinars, articles, and templates.

Should You Remain Open?

Unless your state closes all businesses, this decision comes solely from the owner and facility team. Collaboration and open communication is a good idea where possible. Do what is best for your health and safety first. The CDC recommends that you work from home if you are able to do so, especially if you are immunocompromised or considered to be at high risk.

If you keep your offices open:
  • Consider limiting the number of staff on duty at any given time.
  • Consider limiting your hours of operation.
  • Have hand sanitizer available for employees and customers.
  • Keep disinfecting wipes and cleaning supplies on hand to wipe down counters, door handles, and any other high-traffic areas.
  • Wear disposable gloves when handling money, mail, or even at all times if it makes you feel more comfortable.
  • Do not feel that you must shake hands. The CDC recommends using other alternatives at this time.
  • Encourage your employees to stay home if they or anyone in their household becomes sick.
  • If your facility rents trucks, you may want to consider suspending that service for the time being unless you can ensure they have been thoroughly disinfected between rentals.
If you close your offices:
  • Whether you close your physical offices for the time being or limit your hours of operation, be sure to communicate this with both your current and potential tenants.
  • Send a mass e-mail with closure/limited hours information.
  • Update your website and social media pages with this information.
  • Post a sign on your door detailing these changes.
  • In your communication, make it clear that you are still open for business, just not in person.
    • Let current tenants know how they can reach you if they have questions, concerns, need to make a payment, or need to access their unit.
    • Direct potential tenants to your website to view and/or rent available units. Post your email address and phone number so they can contact you with questions, reserve units, or set up a one-on-one meeting to sign a lease agreement. This all comes easier if you have 24/7 access and an online lease, but if you don’t these are some ideas you can use to remain open but limit your contact with others.

During a time like this, it is also important that you are aware of your state’s specific guidelines with respect to price gouging. This may effect street rates, promotions, and occupied rates. See below for links to your state’s laws.

For more information on price gouging, you can read the national Self Storage Association’s memo on it here.

NeSSA’s Events

At this time, NeSSA is still planning to hold our Spring Retreat at the Publick House on May 6th. We are monitoring the situation closely and will make any further decisions regarding the event in April. In the meantime, please feel free to register as normal. In the event that NeSSA does cancel the Spring Retreat due to COVID-19, all registrations and sponsorships will be refunded in full, and an alternative virtual event will be explored in its place.

Until then, we have online education available through our webinars and member resources.

We hope you find this information helpful during a time of uncertainty. We want you all to stay safe, healthy, and informed until the tide turns in this situation. As always, we are here for you if you have any questions.

Thank you,
Courtney Kahler, Executive Director
on behalf of the NeSSA Board of Directors

Out of the Office

Thank you for visiting the Northeast Self Storage Association website!

Please be advised that staff is out of the office today, Monday, December 9th through Friday, December 13th.

You are more than welcome to email us or leave us a voicemail at (617) 600-4481, and we will get back with you once we return.

We will be back full time starting Monday, December 16th. Thank you for your understanding and continued support!

Some CT Communities Put Storage Facilities on Pause

September 30, 2019
Gregory Seay, News Editor, Hartford Business Journal

Self-storage facilities, a development staple nationwide in recent years amid shrinking household spaces and limited realty-investment opportunities, are losing luster with some Connecticut communities.

Wethersfield, one of the state’s oldest settlements whose pool of developable acreage has shrunk considerably over decades, Sept. 11 imposed a 180-day, extendable moratorium on new applications for self-storage units within its borders.

That followed a similar ban Milford imposed last December to allow it to update its land-use ordinance so that future self-storage facilities are restricted to a specific zone.

The city of Hartford has also amended in recent years its zoning to limit new storage facilities to industrial zones, after a multi-story one was erected next to I-84, in the city’s historic Parkville neighborhood.

New York City several years ago also restricted storage facilities to certain zones, while Birmingham, Ala., has a stay underway as it reviews self-storage zoning.

Municipal officials leading the self-storage pushback say they are concerned about the number of facilities popping up, the amount of space they are taking in an already densely populated and developed state, and the limited economic impact they have both in terms of the number of jobs they create and nearby development they spur.

“We want Hartford to be an equitable, thriving, vibrant and sustainable city,’’ said Sara Bronin, chair of the city’s Planning & Zoning Commission. “Self-storage facilities don’t help us achieve any of those goals.”

Bronin said Wethersfield and Milford are taking reasonable steps because storage facilities “do little to contribute to urban vitality.”

Meanwhile, regional self-storage operators acknowledge siting concerns are increasing even as demand for their products-services continues to grow, not just from homeowners short on closet space, but businesses and municipalities in need of short- or long-term storage for equipment and inventory. The industry estimates one in 10 U.S. households uses self storage at some point.

“This is a demand-fed business,’’ says Charlie Fritts, secretary-treasurer of the Northeast Self Storage Association, whose Buffalo, N.Y., company operates 14,000 self-storage units from Maine to New York, including some 300 in Bridgeport. “You wouldn’t build it unless you were sure somebody was going to rent it. … People just have a lot of stuff they don’t want to get rid of.’’

Wethersfield Town Planner Peter Gillespie said local land-use officials felt the town “was saturated’’ with storage facilities so they ordered “to see what we want to do or not do’’ with them.

Gillespie said this is Wethersfield’s first development moratorium in his 14 years with the town. The ban runs through March and can be extended up to another six months, he said.

Growing demand

Decisions as to where, when and how real estate — residential, commercial and public — within communities’ borders is used or developed has long been the province of local leaders.

When the Great Recession hit in 2008, most commercial and residential real estate grounded to a halt. Residential, in particular, was hit with the extra whammy of a dramatic drop in house values and subsequent climb in foreclosures in most of the nation due to the subprime-lending crisis.

Homeowners who bought at the peak but later could not afford their dwellings after losing jobs or unable to sell, surrendered the keys voluntarily or through foreclosure.

As a result, need grew for rented apartments and townhomes, typically smaller and with less storage space than the single-family dwellings they abandoned. That surge coincided with the desire for aging Baby Boomers and empty-nesters to downsize.

So, developers, many flush with capital from investors eager for the next new thing, or at least a steady realty-income stream, stepped in to build storage facilities in urban and suburban markets.

For example, Extra Space Storage, one of America’s largest operators, partnered with a New Jersey self-storage developer to erect two years ago a multi-story storage building at 31 Pope Park Highway, at Park Street, in Hartford’s Parkville neighborhood. It was designed to resemble an earlier, office-to-storage conversion next door.

In Bristol four years ago, Los Angeles investor DealPoint Merrill LLC paid $2 million for a mothballed Shaw’s supermarket at 1045 W. Main St., that it converted to self storage as part of a trend of converting former “big-box’’ retail sites to storage.

According to Marcus & Millichap’s 2019 Connecticut self-storage market report, developers delivered nearly 730,000 square feet of storage space over the last year. In 2018, the region’s self-storage inventory grew by more than 1 million square feet, Marcus & Millichap said. They forecast just 623,800 square feet of storage will be built in this state in 2019.

Completions, M&M said, remain historically elevated in 2019, with the bulk of construction concentrated in suburban Hartford.

M&M’s report also said ongoing storage development has pushed unit vacancies in the New Haven-Fairfield County area to a six-year high of 9.8 percent.

Storage appeal

It’s easy to see why communities and users initially found self-storage facilities appealing. With few infrastructure needs beyond walls, lighting and a door, they are relatively cheap to erect and operate. They also generate property taxes, but unlike residences, self-storage facilities require minimal town services and do not burden local schools.

In communities with strict rules against extended curbside or driveway parking of oversized or off-road vehicles, some storage facilities offer outdoor lots large enough to accommodate them as well as off-road vehicles, boats and trailers.

“Nobody wants to see a 30-foot camper parked in a driveway all winter,’’ said Fritts, who is president of Storage Investment Management Inc. (SIMI).

But their appeal is dimming amid questions about their relative economic-development value to communities, said Julie Nash, Milford’s director of economic and community development.

Milford and other communities nationwide are realizing that self-storage facilities are not always the highest and best use of land, especially undeveloped acreage, within their borders.

This shoreline community of 53,000 was growing inundated with storage facilities, and Milford had gotten word more may be coming, Nash said.

Nash said she calculated that Milford harbored enough self storage for more than every resident to rent, based on the industry standard of roughly seven square feet per capita.

“There was a proliferation of storage units going up,” Nash said. “They are valuable spaces, but they don’t contribute jobs. We need to make sure we’re making the best use of our land.’’

Milford’s location off I-95, between New Haven and Bridgeport — two cities with little developable acreage — make it attractive even to shoreline residents living outside Milford to use the town as their personal closet, observers say.

Fritts said SIMI’s Bridgeport storage facility benefits from New York City clients who come long-distance to pay suburban Connecticut storage fees that average 40 percent less than the Big Apple’s. Typical storage users live less than four to five miles, or within 15 minutes, of one, he said.

“We want people to come in,’’ Milford’s Nash said, “but we don’t want to be a dumping ground for their stuff.’’

Michael Legacki, acquisition manager for The Hampshire Cos., the diversified New Jersey landlord/owner of Parkville’s Extra Space Storage, said his company deems Milford’s self-storage market overbuilt and won’t operate there.

Legacki said he welcomes communities’ extra scrutiny of his industry, which he says has too many players and investors chasing too few salient development opportunities.

Still, he defends self storage “as a huge positive for communities,’’ claiming that nationally most storage facilities consistently have occupancy rates above 90 percent.

“Clearly, it’s a service the community needs,’’ Legacki said.

Fritts also countered criticism that self-storage centers don’t contribute meaningful economic development and jobs in a community.

“I don’t think that’s fair,’’ he said. “We pay real estate taxes like everybody else.”

You can see the original post here.

International Building Codes Update

Changes to the International Building Code Affect Self Storage

With the support of its Code Committee, the Self Storage Association (SSA) successfully pursued several key changes to the 2021 International Building Code (IBC).

  1. An exception has been added to IBC Section 2902.3.3 to permit an increase in the location (to greater than every other floor) and maximum distance of travel (to greater than 500 ft) for restrooms. The location and travel distance must be approved by the code official.
  2. The maximum allowable height of sprinklered facilities made of Type IIB materials (unprotected steel) and Type IIIB materials (noncombustible or fire-retardant-treated wood stud exterior walls and any interior construction) has been increased from 3 stories to 4 stories. The Code continues to have total floor and building square footage limits.
  3. Pursuant to modified IBC Section 903.2.9, storage facilities are exempt from the automatic sprinkler system requirement if: (1) the total fire area is 12,000 sq. ft. or less; (2) the combined total fire areas are 24,000 sq. ft. or less; (3) the facility is no greater than one story above grade plane; and (4) all storage spaces are accessed directly from the exterior.
These changes go into effect as they are adopted by local and state governments over the next several years. Prior to the adoption on the local and state level, storage developers can request that the code official rely on the 2021 changes as acceptable alternative methods of construction pursuant to section 104.11 of the existing International Building Code.

Please email SSA’s Senior Vice President of Legal and Legislative Counsel Joe Doherty with any questions or to receive supporting documentation for these changes.

You can see the original summary here.

Out of the Office

Thank you for visiting the Northeast Self Storage Association website!

Please be advised that staff is out of the office today, Tuesday, May 28th through Friday, June 7th. We will briefly check email through May 31st for emergencies only. The office will be closed June 3rd – 7th.

You are more than welcome to email us or leave us a voicemail at (617) 600-4481, and we will get back with you once we return.

We will be back full time starting Monday, June 10th. Thank you for your understanding and continued support!