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Great debate with a storage facility owner on S.B.690 of the TX. Property Code.

Offline Travis

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If S.B. 690 becomes law, will it cause more confusion than the current system?

In Texas, our storage lien notification laws are dated and do not reflect changes in current technology. The current law is 30 years old and needs to be modernized. Placing an advertisement in a newspaper's legal section is no longer the best way to notify the public, nor a delinquent tenant, of an upcoming storage sale.

If Chapter 59 of the Texas Property Code is amended to allow Self Storage Facilities to publicize their auction via a public website, Texas newspapers would lose millions of dollars in annual revenue. However, collectively, storage facilities would save millions of dollars on their advertising costs. Think about it, why would a storage company pay a newspaper hundreds of dollars every month, per facility, to publish a public notice, when they could advertise their auction on a storage auction related website or their own website for next to nothing.

When companies like Public Storage, U-Haul Storage Centers, Morningstar Mini Storage, Private Mini Storage, Uncle Bob's Self Storage & other storage facility chains realize that they could be saving tens, if not hundreds of thousand of dollars a year by publishing their notices online, they will abandon ship. Every storage facility will benefit from this change, regardless of their size. Legal notices in newspapers will be a thing of the past.

Bottom line, we should consider which option of notification best represents the interest of the delinquent tenant. Allowing legal notices to be placed on a public website would give a delinquent tenant a better chance of finding the information they are searching for as well as saving storage facilities hundreds, if not thousands of dollars on their annual advertising expenses.

The current law worked fine 30 years ago when it was written. It worked better for smaller to medium size towns that only had one newspaper, everyone knew where to look. For example: With over 40 smaller local publications in the greater Houston area, if a tenant were seeking information on the sale of their property, it would be like searching for a needle in a haystack. Currently, storage auction buyers in Houston, if they are not members of www.houstonstorageauctions.com, have to search several information sources just to find about half of the storage auctions occurring in our area. With no centralized information source, the entire system is flawed & confusing.

We all need to get on the same page, literally. Even if Chapter 59 is amended, if every storage facility were to publicize their auction on their own website, there would be more confusion than the current system is causing.




Offline Travis

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Default Re: If S.B. 690 becomes law, will it cause more confusion than the current system?
This is not the right forum to be selling a subscription service for your product.

You charge the viewer and the poster so great for you if everyone is "on the same page"

Offline Travis

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Default Re: If S.B. 690 becomes law, will it cause more confusion than the current system?
This is the correct forum based on the fact that the subject only has relevance to storage facilities in Texas. Also, I haven't solicited anyone in this post. As you mentioned, Houston Storage Auctions is a subscription service but this thread has nothing to do with that. And if you had actually visited our website and read the content, you would realize that once the law changes, the auction information will be made available free of charge to the general public. But, once again, that is not what this thread is about.

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Default Re: If S.B. 690 becomes law, will it cause more confusion than the current system?
I have read the post several times, and I have to agree with Houston. The post does stray towards an ad, but, doesn't really get there. The only line that gets that close is the one that mentions your business, but, I find that just on the good side of commercialism.

ASM, I understand your concern, but, I think that this is an acceptable post. Frankly, I wish it was being read by all of the legislators and storage associations around the country, so that they could pursue this type of modification to storage statutes.
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Offline Travis

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Default Re: If S.B. 690 becomes law, will it cause more confusion than the current system?
Quote: Bottom line, we should consider which option of notification best represents the interest of the delinquent tenant. Allowing legal notices to be placed on a public website would give a delinquent tenant a better chance of finding the information they are searching for as well as saving storage facilities hundreds, if not thousands of dollars on their annual advertising expenses.

I am not quite sure how advertising on a website betters serves the interest of the tenant or anyone else for that matter. Tenants typically DO NOT search the internet to see if their property is the subject of foreclosure. The reality is that they usually know about the auction, when it will be and why it is going to occur. The reason that newspaper advertising has been used in the past is:

1. It notifies other parties of interest that property they may have an interest in is in pending foreclosure. For example, lienholders, creditors, friends, ex-partners, law enforcement, crime victims, etc. Only a handful of States require the self storage owner to search for liens much less notify them. At least creditors and perfected security interest lien holders can learn of foreclosure in the legal notice section of the newspaper.

2. It creates a way for community members to see a friends pending foreclosure so that the can alert them to the fact that their property is in danger. While this is rare that a tenant does not know why they are receiving lien notices in the mail, at least advertising in a public forum could forestall the occasional mishap. Self storage facilities do make mistakes!!!!

3. It serves to notify the community that a foreclosure auction is being held. Storage buyers know that ads are published in newspaper, why, because legislators MAKE US ADVERTISE. Therefore, this is where they have historically found our sale information.

4. As for saving thousands of dollars? I don't care what Public, Extra Space, U Store It, thinks or does, other than to say that many of the unpopular appellate decisions are a result of these big time operators and their foreclosure practices.

5. Newspapers provide a very unique function, they give us proof that we complied with statuatory notifications requirements, websites cannot provide this function, yet! How will we ever prove that we advertised on a website? At least a newspaper of general circulation provides a proof of publication that is discoverable via the local country recorders office.

These are just a few of the reasons.

Let's be honest, this trend is designed simply to reduce costs for self storage owners. Using a website to increase attendance is just one component of a commercially reasonable sale and to that end, I applaud these websites, but to try to make the argument that it is in the best interest of the tenant is disingenuous, the reality is that this change only serves the interest of self storage facilities.

As for publishing the hyperlink to the website, how convenient as well!!!!!!!!
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Default Re: If S.B. 690 becomes law, will it cause more confusion than the current system?
When I advertise in the Legal section of our local Newspaper, they send me a Notorized copy to prove I advertised the sale. It may cost $150.00 to $175.00 but I split that by the # of tenants going to sale and add it to the tenants bill. I have been doing this for over 10 years and NEVER received more than owed.
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Default Re: If S.B. 690 becomes law, will it cause more confusion than the current system?
A very compelling argument! Here is why I believe that newspapers no longer represent the best method of notifying the public of a storage lien sale. Let's use Houston as an example. Here in Houston, we have 1 business newspaper which publishes public notices for slightly less than 50% of all storage facilities in the greater Houston & surrounding areas. Our research indicates that roughly 15% of storage facilities don't hold auctions at all. The remaining 35% advertise their auctions in one of over 40 smaller local newspapers.

1. If a delinquent tenant has relocated, he or she cannot purchase a local newspaper.
2. With over 40 local newspapers in our area, how does the tenant know where to look?
3. With storage lien sales being advertised online, a delinquent tenant would have a searchable medium.
4. Notices in newspapers only run on specific days.
5. With a centralized storage auction website, the tenant and storage auction buyers would only have to look in one place.
6. A centralized storage auction website would increase the number of buyers attending storage auctions because over half of all auctions in our area are missed by buyers who were unaware that the auctions were even taking place.
7. Legal notices could be easily archived online or in databases.
8. Newspapers advertisements are expensive.
9. Some of the smaller independent facilities wait several months to hold an auctions due to the expense of the public notice. By offering free or low cost public notices online, these storage facilities could hold auctions more often, which would free up rental spaces, and could lead to higher earnings.
10. Newspapers charge per copy. Under S.B. 690, if an auction were to be advertised online, it must be made available to the general public for free.
11. Statistically, newspaper readership is declining daily.

I agree with your statement that most tenants are aware of their looming foreclosure.
However, what about the that aren't.

I disagree that it is the larger storage facility chains that are pushing the agenda. The TSSA has nurtured this bill from it's infancy. I doubt that the TSSA would have moved forward on this and spent thousands of dollars hiring a lobbyist without a majority of it's member's support. TSSA has members who own storage facilities of all sizes, from rural "mom & pop" facilities to publicly traded corporations.

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Default Re: If S.B. 690 becomes law, will it cause more confusion than the current system?
DAK,

Have you had an auction lately because storage units are selling for record amounts?

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Default Re: If S.B. 690 becomes law, will it cause more confusion than the current system?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Houston Storage Auctions View Post
A very compelling argument! Here is why I believe that newspapers no longer represent the best method of notifying the public of a storage lien sale. Let's use Houston as an example. Here in Houston, we have 1 business newspaper which publishes public notices for slightly less than 50% of all storage facilities in the greater Houston & surrounding areas. Our research indicates that roughly 15% of storage facilities don't hold auctions at all. How is that possible? The remaining 35% advertise their auctions in one of over 40 smaller local newspapers. That's because newspapers reflect the readership of a local community.

1. If a delinquent tenant has relocated, he or she cannot purchase a local newspaper. The ad is design more for other parties of interest than the tenant.

2. With over 40 local newspapers in our area, how does the tenant know where to look? Local newspaper?

3. With storage lien sales being advertised online, a delinquent tenant would have a searchable medium. Yes, along with thousands of other tenants worldwide?

4. Notices in newspapers only run on specific days. Your website only operates under a specific domain.

5. With a centralized storage auction website, the tenant and storage auction buyers would only have to look in one place. It is never good to only have one provider of anything, that's called a monopoly.

6. A centralized storage auction website would increase the number of buyers attending storage auctions because over half of all auctions in our area are missed by buyers who were unaware that the auctions were even taking place. Storage auction buyers don't miss much. If they are in the business, they will find you.

7. Legal notices could be easily archived online or in databases. Why then do none of the current websites do so?

8. Newspapers advertisements are expensive. Yes, but their cost can be passed on to the offenders.

9. Some of the smaller independent facilities wait several months to hold an auctions due to the expense of the public notice. Someone is being less than honest with you. Small facilities have fewer auctions because they have fewer tenants. By offering free or low cost public notices online, these storage facilities could hold auctions more often, which would free up rental spaces, and could lead to higher earnings. Storage facilities will conduct the same amount of auctions whether the ad is free or you pay them. Too many facilities simply don't like the added work and therefore, they wait until the have several units to sell.

10. Newspapers charge per copy. Under S.B. 690, if an auction were to be advertised online, it must be made available to the general public for free. There is no free, someone pays for this service. Your website was not designed to benefit humanity, you are making money and someone is paying for it.

11. Statistically, newspaper readership is declining daily. Then I expect that advertising costs will decline as well. People are reading fewer books each day too.

I agree with your statement that most tenants are aware of their looming foreclosure.
However, what about the that aren't.

I disagree that it is the larger storage facility chains that are pushing the agenda. The TSSA has nurtured this bill from it's infancy. I doubt that the TSSA would have moved forward on this and spent thousands of dollars hiring a lobbyist without a majority of it's member's support. TSSA has members who own storage facilities of all sizes, from rural "mom & pop" facilities to publicly traded corporations.
THe TSSA is an association, of course they are going to promote any legislation that lowers the costs to its' members. I expect them to do that.
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Default Re: If S.B. 690 becomes law, will it cause more confusion than the current system?
You can twist the words anyway you like, the fact is, change is coming. You will still be able to publish your notice in a newspaper; However, you will have the option to post the notice on a storage website, a storage auction website, or a classified ad website.

Truth be told, very few storage auction buyers in our area actually purchase hard copies of newspapers anymore. Most use the newspaper's online version.

I understand that some people are just set in their ways and some even fear technology; yet, I am confident that most facility owners will embrace this change and use it to their advantage. Storage facility owners didn't get where they are at by being closed-minded.
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Default Re: If S.B. 690 becomes law, will it cause more confusion than the current system?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Houston Storage Auctions View Post

Truth be told, very few storage auction buyers in our area actually purchase hard copies of newspapers anymore. Most use the newspaper's online version.
Where is this stat from? In our area and some other metro areas the online version of the paper is a subscription service.

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Default Re: If S.B. 690 becomes law, will it cause more confusion than the current system?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Houston Storage Auctions View Post
You can twist the words anyway you like, the fact is, change is coming. You will still be able to publish your notice in a newspaper; However, you will have the option to post the notice on a storage website, a storage auction website, or a classified ad website.

Truth be told, very few storage auction buyers in our area actually purchase hard copies of newspapers anymore. Most use the newspaper's online version.

I understand that some people are just set in their ways and some even fear technology; yet, I am confident that most facility owners will embrace this change and use it to their advantage. Storage facility owners didn't get where they are at by being closed-minded.
Hey, Mr. Houston Storage Auctions, I am truly not trying to twist your words. I actually post my auctions now on Auctionzip.com and it works well in bringing in buyers. I don't fear technology, as a matter of fact, I use Powercall to automatically call my buyers to alert them to auctions. My only point with the debate here is that the current, though archaic method of using newspapers, is the only method we have now. Moreover, while attracting buyers is an important goal, the newspaper serves so many other purposes other than just attracting buyers. If you notice, foreclosure notices on homes are still advertised in newspapers. Probate, Request for Bids, Divorce Actions, Exparte Order Applications, etc., etc., etc., are still advertised in the newspaper.

I don't believe that self storage owners care about delinquent customers and their rights, they are trying to save themselves money. Let's be honest about that one at least.

You have created a solution and now you must exaggerate the problem to sell the solution. Auction attendance is high because of Storage Wars and other television shows. Your website is a very nice website and serves a useful purpose. However, in my humble opinion, and believe it or not America, I still get to express it, using these arguments that newspaper advertising is outdated, outmoded, ineffective, etc., is just our industry trying to make the argument that websites will be a better method of public notification. My belief is that this is self serving crap designed to simply make our bottom line better and to further erode what little protection the consumer now has at the clutches of your average, overreaching, "we have all of the rights and you have none" self storage facility.
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Default Re: If S.B. 690 becomes law, will it cause more confusion than the current system?
I agree, most storage facilities are concerned with their bottom line.
Although we are planning some additional features to make it easier for a delinquent tenant to locate the sale notice that includes their property, our main concern is providing a quality service to storage facilities & storage auction buyers alike.

Depending on the size of the legal notice, storage facilities in our area paying between between $100 - $500 to advertise their auction every month. Assuming H.B. 690 becomes law, we are planning on charging $9.99 regardless of the size of the advertisement. The advertisement will run from the day it is posted and continue in our searchable records for a period of 5 years. (Therefore, if there are disputes, the tenant can find the notice with minimal effort.) Regardless, most facilities that conduct monthly auctions could expect to save thousands every year.

Bottom line, most storage facilities would like to attract more bidders to their auction because, when the crowds are larger, the units typically sell for a premium. With the popularity of the new storage auction shows and the record number of buyers in attendance, the days of not recovering losses from the sale of a delinquent tenant's unit, are over with.

Our current law requires that the notice be place in a newspaper of "general circulation". This requirement was installed to protect the tenant and the public from less than scrupulous storage facilities. These newspapers advertise to the masses and a majority of it's readership never see the legal notice because they are not looking for it. Listing your auction with a centralized storage auction information service, would reach your target market directly and attract more qualified buyers to your event. Your information would appear to the general public for free & to our paid members which are made up of novice & professional storage auction buyers alike.

Notification methods that will work well in one city may not work well in the next. In the Houston area, I know we have a problem. With over 40 newspapers publishing legal
notices it becomes almost impossible for a storage auction buyer to subscribe to and read them all every day. Even if they were willing to invest that kind of time and effort, the cost to subscribe to over 40 news publications would be several hundred dollars a month.

That's where we come in. We actually call over 1400 storage facilities every month. We are currently the only source which provides information on 100% percent of storage auctions occurring in our area. We actually provide a valuable service to storage facilities and storage auction buyers alike.

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Default Re: If S.B. 690 becomes law, will it cause more confusion than the current system?
But back to the original point of this thread, if every storage facility advertises their auction in a different format (various newspapers, their own personal websites, storage auctions websites or online classified advertisements) it would cause even more confusion than the current system.

Wouldn't it be nice for storage facilities to know that they were advertising their auction in the source that every storage auction buyer within that geographic area looked to for their auction information? Wouldn't it be nice for storage auction buyers to know that the source they were using for storage auction information included every auction within their area and that they didn't have to search multiple publications and websites? Sure it would. I was a professional storage auction buyer and I recognized a problem with the system in our area, that's why I created our service.
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Default Re: If S.B. 690 becomes law, will it cause more confusion than the current system?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Houston Storage Auctions View Post
DAK,

Have you had an auction lately because storage units are selling for record amounts?
Yes I had one about two months ago. I had 5 regulars and 5 newb's sign the bid sheet. It did not help at all. One tenant owed over $500.00 and I got $65.00 for the unit. That is about the normal here in Berks County. One thing I noticed is all the new people brought along friends and family. So it looked as though we had a full house. That brings up another issue of liability. I wonder if we should make the bidder sign a waiver that they are responsible for their guests.
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