Dealing With The New Normal: Enhancing Owner Lease Termination Rights

Posted by Scott Zucker on Feb 4, 2021 12:00:00 AM

At the end of each year, we like to look back and analyze the past year to see what we can do to better help operators, and the past year has been interesting to say the least. Throughout the year, we have heard from operators regarding a wide variety of stress points in their businesses, but a hot button topic that has recently come up frequently is tenant conduct and the ability to terminate a tenant’s rental agreement based on the tenant’s conduct at the facility.

In an effort to address this issue, we are now recommending a few updates to certain provisions within the rental agreement to address this tenant conduct issue and allow for easier termination of the tenant’s occupancy when necessary.

The first of those updates is shortening the time allowed to terminate an occupancy as provided for in the rental agreement. Many rental agreements state that either party may terminate the agreement with notice to the other party at least 10 or even 14 days before the end of the monthly term. Based on what we have heard from operators, we are recommending that the time in the rental agreement termination provision be reduced so that tenants, especially unruly tenants, may be terminated more quickly if it becomes necessary.

Additionally, we recommend adding language to the termination provision and other provisions in the rental agreement to allow for immediate termination of the tenant’s occupancy due to certain actions by the tenant, such as criminal or illegal acts or improper use of the storage space. This update can also include a provision in the rental agreement allowing the facility to deny gate access to the tenant when the tenant’s occupancy has been terminated. This provision will force the tenant into the facility’s office and allow the facility to escort or monitor the tenant during his or her visit to the facility when moving out, which can help to ensure that an unhappy tenant does not do unwanted damage to the facility after being terminated.

Finally, we recommend that the rental agreement be updated to include a provision that specifically addresses the conduct of the tenant and the tenant’s guests and invitees while at the facility. This provision should include language regarding the treatment of other tenants and the facility’s employees (one of the hot button topics we have encountered) and should provide for immediate termination if the tenant or tenant’s guests or invitees fail to comply with the provision.

The start of a new year is a great time to review and update your rental agreement, thus it is a good time to implement these changes (and see what other updates your rental agreement may need). When implemented together, these rental agreement updates can help to deal with troublesome tenants who act in an unwanted way.


Scott Zucker is a partner at Weissmann Zucker Euster & Katz, P.C., a law firm based out of Atlanta, Georgia and is a partner in the Self Storage Legal Network, a legal information service available through the national Self Storage Association. Read more from Scott Zucker and others on our Legal Department Page.