Resident managers are not as common as they used to be in the self storage industry. For some self storage facilities, however, a manager living on the premises may be the key to running a successful operation. Though cost is an important factor when deciding whether a self storage facility could benefit from a resident manager, other factors should be considered as well, such as:

Service: Automated facilities may not be enough to create an advantage over the competition. Depending on a self storage facility’s location or specialty, clients may want more than just an access code after signing a contract. Facilities with a resident manager can service clients in ways that others cannot. This is why the existence of a resident manager is often mentioned in promotional and marketing materials.

Security: Even with surveillance cameras and 24-hour monitoring services, it is difficult to deny that resident managers can make a self storage facility even more secure. Their presence alone will likely deter most criminals, and their response time will be quicker than even the fastest police departments.

Operations: Things can and often do go wrong after business hours. Leaking pipes and short-circuits are just two things that can cause significant damage if they are not discovered and fixed quickly. A resident manager can find and fix those problems that cannot wait.

Qualified Candidates: It’s not always easy to find and retain the right people. Providing prospective managers with a place to live may be just the perk required to hire and keep quality talent.

After evaluating all the pros and cons in the context of each facility’s own particular situation, an informed decision can be made about whether a resident manager could improve operations. However, before making a final decision, it is important to understand the ramifications of hiring a resident manager, particularly how doing so may create an unexpected relationship.

In addition to creating an employer-employee relationship, hiring a resident manager can also create a landlord-tenant relationship. While employers can often terminate employees at-will and without advance notice, the same cannot usually be done with tenants. Depending on applicable law, a self storage facility will generally be required to provide advance written notice to terminate the landlord-tenant relationship. As a result, a resident manager may be legally entitled to continue renting the property for a period of time after his or her employment has been terminated.

There are steps that can be taken to minimize the scope and impact of the landlord-tenant aspects of a resident manager’s employment relationship. For example, a self storage facility can address landlord-tenant issues in a written employment agreement or in a separate lease agreement. However, since specific legal requirements must be met, it is advisable to seek the advice of a locally licensed attorney.

As is often the case, it is necessary to understand the risks in order to control them. Since self storage facilities face unique risks, it helps to have an insurance program that is specifically designed for the self storage industry. If you would like more information about Setnor Byer Insurance & Risk’s Self Storage Insurance Program, please contact us.

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