New Americans with Disabilities Act ( ADA ) Standards

Compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) 2010 standards will be federally required for new commercial construction and renovations effective March 15, 2012. Existing structures are grandfathered to previous standards, so if you have a property that was brought up to meet the original ADA regulations you don’t have to do anything to it. Starting in March 2012, if you plan to renovate a project or build a new building, you have to design to the new standards. Self storage owners will now be federally required to meet a requirement that 5% of the first 200 storage units be wheelchair accessible, and 2% of units thereafter in facilities with more than 200 units.

Servicemembers Civil Relief Act

In 2004, the United States Congress passed, and the President approved, a new SERVICEMEMBERS CIVIL RELIEF ACT, (“SCRA”), a completely new version of the 1940 Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Civil Relief Act enacted at the time of WWII.

This new federal law, called the “SCRA”, has direct impact on the ability of owners and operators of Self Storage facilities to enforce our statutory lien on the stored property of known servicemembers and in some cases, even their dependents. The statute can be found below and is known formally as Section 307 and 308 of Title III of 50 U.S.C. App. 501 et seq.

There are four main points that you must consider:

  1. For your own protection, you must inquire of every occupant of military age, male or female, if they are a member of the military service, which includes an active duty member of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps or Coast Guard or a member of the National Guard called to active service for a period of more than 30 consecutive days;
  2. A person holding a lien on the property of a servicemember may not, during any period of military service of the servicemember and for 90 days thereafter, foreclose or enforce any lien on such property without a court order granted BEFORE foreclosure or enforcement; NOTE: the law references “ANY PERIOD OF MILITARY SERVICE of the servicemember and for 90 days thereafter” and does not just mean service during a period of war or while in a combat zone;
  3. A knowing violation of this law is a misdemeanor and may result in a fine or imprisonment for not more than one (1) year or both;
  4. Section 308 extends the protections of this law to a dependent of a servicemember if the dependent’s ability to comply with a lease or contract is materially affected by reason of the servicemember’s military service, BUT ONLY IF THE DEPENDENT MAKES AN APPROPRIATE APPLICATION TO A COURT FOR THIS RELIEF.

NYSSA brings this new law to your attention so that you can take immediate action as you enter into new Occupancy Agreements with customers and before you start the Auction process on any unit that you may believe or suspect could be occupied by someone in the military service as described above. If you have any questions or doubts about the applicability of this new federal statute, please consult with your attorney.

NYSAA strongly urges its members to NOT conduct an Auction or Public Sale if you have any information that the Occupant may be a member of the military service. Please err on the side of being more cautious than not, as the affects of a wrong action can be disastrous from both a legal and public relations point of view.