June 25, 2013

Storage Container Rental Contact Language That Can Cost You a Lot of Money if You’re Not Aware of it

Hidden Costs in the Terms and Conditions In previous articles we’ve looked at factors that impact the rental rates you may pay for a storage container, and then we looked at taxes and fees that may occur in addition to the rental rates quoted. The last article discussed lease agreement language that, if you are not aware may impact your storage container budget. In this article we will continue to review common rental contract language which, if enforced to the letter may cost you a lot of additional money if you are not aware of them.
First, let me reiterate that I am not an attorney. If you have any questions or need any advice on any of these matters than consult your attorney. As we discussed earlier rents are typically due in advance, be aware of the grace periods, they can be anywhere from five to thirty days. One the grace period has expired you are in default and once in default the lessor (them) has any number of remedies available from the lessee (you). These remedies range from locking the container to repossessing it. In addition to defaulting for nonpayment, some leases may put you in default for early termination of your lease. The length of time you choose to rent a container is called the “rental term,” monthly rental rates on rental terms of one or two months typically cost more than three to six month terms, which cost more than ten to twelve month rental terms and so on. If you choose to rent a container for six months and decide to return it after four months, the rental agreement may do anything from placing you in default for the last two months to charging you a minimal early out fee and release you from the balance of the contract. Make sure you error on the side of caution and take the minimum rental term. If you exceed the rental term the rental agreement typically continues on a month to month basis, but make sure it does not renew for another full term. For example if you choose a six month rental and end up needing your container for eight months, make sure the container lease does not renew after the initial six months for and additional six months. Remember, virtually all of these storage container rental contacts contain indemnification clauses, these are typically very “wordy” sections that basically say you are going to protect the lessor against all actions involving this unit. This means if someone gets hurt as a result of the container and sues the lessor (them), than you are responsible for the costs to defend and any court awards as a result of the lawsuit. I have typically tried to negotiate these indemnification sections so that each party mutually indemnifies the other. A final point that I would like to make sure you are aware of is that typically the lessee (you), is responsible to provide insurance for the contents of the container. If the roof leaks and your goods are damaged the lessor (them), will point to the clause in the rental agreement indicating they are not responsible for damage cause by equipment failure. Make sure you regularly inspect the contents of your storage container and make sure your contents are not being damaged by rain, rodents or something else. If you discover a roof leak, notify the lessor immediately. If they are notified and do not repair it then they may be responsible for the damage to your contents. There are as many different storage container rental contracts as there are storage container rental companies. By no means will every one of the points that we have discussed in the past few articles be applicable to all of the contracts but I hope that you are now aware of some of the language to look for and try to negotiate more favorable terms. Remember, the lessor is typically more interested in renting a container than they are in getting bogged down in contract language. Ask to see a copy of the rental agreement terms and conditions when you get your quote so that you can be prepared to discuss more favorable contact language prior to placing your order.