More and more families these days are renting self storage units to store all their extra furniture, clothes, and junk.
But one family recently learned the downside of these storage units, if you don't take the right precautions before you rent.
Mold Ruined Everything
Jennifer Collins showed us the self storage unit that she says ruined all her furniture.
She and her husband had placed their belongings there while preparing to move to a new house.
But she said "when we got the house, my husband came down to get everything, and there was mold up the wall, and everything was saturated."
We could see the mold spots almost everywhere in their unit.
She said "my suede couch is covered in mold spots. And under it, it is actually growing new mold. It's all a total loss, total loss."
No Help From Management
But when the Collins asked management for help, they instead received a certified letter saying essentially that they were out of luck.
She said, "they are not liable for anything lost or stolen, that's for insurance. The water damage, they are not responsible for that, or any mold."
The center's district manager would not appear on camera, but told me the lease states clearly that tenants are responsible for damage, including mold.
And he says the contract suggests tenants buy insurance.
Make Sure Unit is Dry
Melissa Hermes, who manages a different storage center, told me a couple of years ago that dampness is a common problem.
She says never move in on a rainy day, as it it will never dry out, and says make sure the driveway does not drain into your garage when it rains.
Melissa said be sure "it goes away from the unit and into the drain, instead of backing up into your unit."
Jennifer understands the contract, but says the bottom line is her unit leaked after she moved in, and feels the company should help her family out.
She said, "I would never be that way. If I knew my facility caused anyone any harm, I would help them any way I could. Now my kids are out of beds, out of dressers."
Wet Weather Caution
I asked if other units are having mold problems too, but the district manager said under law, they are not allowed to enter any rented units without an owner's permission or court order, so he doesn't know.
But with wet weather, make sure any valuables you put in storage are insured against loss, so you don't waste your money.
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