This Probably Never Happened to You, but ….

Last Updated: March 7, 2024By

The tenant from #3 called to report that personal items were missing from the storage locker above her car. She said that the hasp assembly had been pried out of the wood, thus making entry possible. The tone of her call was quite pleasant, but she made it clear that she expected us to “make good” her losses, and that she would be submitting an itemized list of the items lost.

Understanding the emotional state she must be in, just as any of us would be, I tried to talk her through the situation rather than out-right refusing her request.

My first question was whether she had called the police. I had to ask, as (believe it or not) some people will make claims for losses that did not actually occur. She said that she had not yet called the police, but said that she would. I suggested that a call to the police would be a good idea, as her personal property insurance carrier would expect a police report in order to process her claim.

This observation took her back a bit, as she said that she had no personal property insurance. I then reminded her that having Renters’ Insurance, on her personal possessions was required under her lease with us.


She then repeated her intent to submit a claim to us, and to ask for reimbursement. Her feeling was that as we had provided the storage locker, and therefore it should have been more secure.

I then asked her if she still had a copy of her lease. She said that she did, and she asked me to wait a minute until she could get it. Once she had the lease, I asked her to look at paragraph 6, which reads: “… STORAGE LOCKERS in garages/carports are not secure and may not be watertight. These lockers should not be used for storage of valuable possessions.”

I knew that this conversation was not going make her happy, but she did admit that we had done everything we could to warn her of the potential risks inherent in leaving valuable possession in a locker that is only protected by ½” of plywood, and hinges held on by ½” screws. Our lease is designed to protect us, but it is also written to help tenants avoid foreseeable harm. If they will just read and follow.

Please keep in mind that under current California law, if a tenant fails to get or maintain the renters insurance, this may not be grounds for an eviction-related complaint against a tenant. Courts may not view this as a “substantial breach”, enough to warrant an eviction. Check with your attorney for confirmation on this. This approach has worked well for us.

Dear Readers: This article is the 246th in a series based on the lessons we have learned the hard way. The contents of these articles are merely opinions of the writer. They are not intended as specific legal advice and should not be relied upon for that purpose. Our practice is in constant refinement as we adjust the way we operate to an ever- changing market. I appreciate your questions, comments, suggestions, and solutions. Contact C. Finley Beven, JD, CPM, CCAM, 99 S. Lake Avenue, Pasadena. (626) 243-4145.


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