Auction Hunters – Myths and Truths about Overdue Storage Auctions in Australia

ABC Self Storage

Auction Hunters – it certainly makes for great TV viewing. A self-storage unit strewn with forgotten treasures and abandoned belongings. Quick scrutiny by the harsh glare of flashing torchlight. Keen bidders squawking, scrabbling and squabbling over the contents like vultures picking over a carcass. Welcome to the weird and wonderful world of overdue storage auctions. Storage auctions are big business in the US, but do we breathe a collective sigh of relief and say only in America? Or are unpaid storage auctions a reality right here in Australia? What will happen to your precious belongings if you can’t meet the ongoing costs of storage? Let’s shed some light on the myths and truths about unpaid storage auctions in Australia.

You’ll be reassured to know that ABC Self Storage understands that you may be facing a myriad of competing financial pressures. For that reason we endeavour to keep our prices low. So low in fact that we’re the cheapest on the Gold Coast. But that doesn’t come at a cost to the quality of our storage options. You can enjoy the peace of mind that comes with storing your precious personal belongings, domestic items or commercial assets in clean, dry, pest-free, and secure storage units.

What will happen if I can’t meet the cost of my self-storage at ABC Self Storage?

The management and disposal of the contents of unpaid self-storage units comes under the Storage Liens Act 1973 (Qld). Click here to read the Act itself.

We understand that it doesn’t make for the most stimulating reading, so we’ll break it down a bit:

Who comes under the Act?

Under the Act, a ‘storer’ is defined as being a person lawfully engaged in the business of storing goods as a bailee for reward’. In other words, a storer is:

• a company, business or individual, who
• runs a business, and
• their business involves them accepting payment in return for the storage of other people’s belongings.

ABC Self Storage is a ‘storer’ for the purpose of the Storage Liens Act 1973 (Qld), so your rights in relation to stored goods are legally protected. This means that your property can’t just be sold off at a whim.

What are your rights in relation to unpaid storage?

Queensland legislation gives us, as a storer, a lien. It’s a legally enforceable interest in the property you store with us. It allows your goods to become security for payment of the costs of their storage. This means if you don’t pay your fees, we have a right to:

• keep the goods in our possession until the costs of storage can be recovered, and
• Auction off your goods BUT only if certain prerequisites are met.

What are the prerequisites that must be met before my things can be sold?

The prerequisites include:

• giving you notice of our intention to sell your goods so you have a chance to pay any outstanding fees or charges
• publicly advertising the fact that we plan to sell your goods via auction to meet the unpaid costs. The advertisements must be carried in not one but two newspapers
• the auction itself must be a public one so that you have a final opportunity to buy back the contents of your unit

The Act sets out strict procedures and time limits for giving notice of our intention to sell your property. The Queensland Office of Fair Trading has created a notice that complies with these requirements. You’ll find it here .
We have to give you at least 30 days to pay the amount overdue. We also have to tell you what will happen to the goods if you don’t pay.

We then have to wait until at least 28 days after the publication of the advertisements in the newspapers before we can go ahead with the auction.

What can I do if my property or belongings are going to auction?

You can attend the auction and bid for your property. Alternatively, the Act also allows you to make an application to a local magistrate to stay (i.e. temporarily stop) the auction.

What happens if the my goods are worth more than the unpaid storage fees?

If the contents of your storage unit are sold off at auction, we can only recoup the unpaid fees, the cost of transporting, insuring and auctioning the items. However, if there’s any money left over, we have to keep accurate records and pay any surplus to the public trustee. This means that you may be able to recover some of the money. After 6 years, this money will become unclaimed moneys.

Why ABC Self Storage?

We don’t enjoy sending the contents of unpaid units to auction. It’s a lengthy, costly and inconvenient process for us too. Our focus on friendly, open helpful service and advice sets us apart the rest. We much prefer to keep channels of communication open with you so that we can all avoid the inevitable distress that follows the loss of treasured possessions.

To be pleasantly surprised and delighted by our personalised and friendly service, call us to discuss your storage needs today on (07) 5598 3355.

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