Will Electronic Rent Payments Reduce the Number of Units Available?

Storage KioskStorage units go up for auction whenever their owners fall behind on payments.

This means that, without delinquent tenants, there would be no auctions and no resale business.

That makes some auction-hunters nervous about anything that might reduce the incidence of delinquency and the availability of units.

Across the country, some storage facilities are choosing to streamline their rental process by offering electronic kiosks.

These kiosks take payments 24 hours a day, which allows renters to pay their bill without ever needing to talk to anyone. Some facilities take this a step further by letting their renters pay the bill online or even reserve a unit electronically without needing to talk to the facility.

As this technology becomes more common, some auction hunters begin to wonder: Does this mean that fewer units will go into default, resulting in fewer sales?

Electronic bill bay is very convenient, and it undoubtedly will help some renters pay their bills on time. It most likely will not do much to reduce the number of delinquent tenants, however, so this technology should do little to stop storage units form going up for auction.

This is because units don’t become delinquent after just one missed payment. It usually requires two or three months of delinquent payments.

By that point, convenience is most likely not the renter’s primary concern. If kiosks allow partial payments, which could keep the unit from going into default, that may prevent a handful of delinquencies, but the majority of people who fall behind on storage unit payments enough to lose their unit do so because of extenuating circumstances like poverty, incarceration or death.

The tenants who would have lost these units previously would most likely do so anyway regardless of what bill-paying options were available.

On the other hand, there are a few benefits to electronic bill payment. For some people, financial troubles are accompanied by extreme guilt or shame. These people may be afraid to talk to the storage facilities about payment plans, but might be willing to make partial payments electronically in order to save their units.

All in all, electronic rent payment is something that auction-goers shouldn’t worry too much about. It’s something that will likely work to make things easier for storage facilities and renters without having much long-lasting effect on the storage auction business.

Please leave your insightful thoughts in the comment box below.

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Tiana Bodine

2 CommentsLeave a comment

  • To me, a bill is a bill. People who are less likely to pay their bills on time wont be effected by online payments. I think everyone should worry if they decide to be like Netflix and charge your card monthly or the contract is voided.

    • Most storage facilities do allow customers to set up recurring monthly payments. This definitely contributes to foreclosures. When a credit card expires and the tenant can’t be reached, the property is auctioned off a few months later.

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