Storage locker, lost keys, and authorized access
July 28, 2017 11:08 AM   Subscribe

Our Relative had a storage locker, and granted authorized access to siblings. Relative died and we cannot find the keys. Are authorized users allowed to request that the lock is cut off and a new lock put in place? We have not yet informed Public Storage that our relative has died. We have online access to account and have been paying rent. Is there anyone with California experience with Public Storage and with requesting the lock is cut off?
posted by anonymous to Law & Government (7 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I'd say there's a good chance that they won't let you cut it off without hearing from the owner, and that if they find out the owner died they might freeze the account until they see the will. Here's a thing I found:

“Our policy is that once we are notified that one of our customers has passed away, we immediately deny access to all parties authorized on the account by over-locking the unit,” Steven Glick, chief legal officer at Public Storage, told The Oregonian. Public Storage then asks to see the dead tenant’s death certificate, along with a copy of the will or trust.

I'd look for that key some more, or if you're going to leave the stuff in there anyway, go ahead and tell them and let them lock it up until you get whatever paperwork they need. If you absolutely need the stuff right away, you might look into cutting the lock off yourself, but you'll be responsible for any damage to the unit. A locksmith can open it, but Public Storage would want to be present for that, and might want to talk to the actual owner first.
posted by Huck500 at 11:43 AM on July 28, 2017 [2 favorites]

If it were me, I would cut the lock myself. Big bolt cutters will do it in about 11 seconds.

But if you are not like me, get letters testamentary, show Public Storage you are authorized and go through their process.
posted by AugustWest at 12:13 PM on July 28, 2017

If you're an authorized unlocked, call anonymously and ask what documentation you'd need to bring. A death certificate will frequently do the job.
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 12:21 PM on July 28, 2017

IS this a "self installed" lock, or their lock that they provide keys to? If it's self-install, just show up with a bolt cutters and work quickly. If it's their lock, see if you can get them to mail you a spare.
posted by cosmicbandito at 9:24 PM on July 28, 2017

I had a Public Storage unit in Northern California until recently. I had my own lock (that I bought from them) but I have the keys and took it with me when I left.

The lock belongs to the tenant. Do with it what you will. Public Storage has denied responsibility for the security of your belongings. You have no obligation to them except the monthly rental fee. Likewise, they have no obligation to you.
posted by bendy at 10:51 PM on July 28, 2017

Also, in my PS facility the office wasn't open 24/7 but I had an access code for the security gate. There's no possible way they can monitor the inputs and outputs for any unit. Plus they don't care.

Remember Heisenberg's storage unit full of cash?
posted by bendy at 10:54 PM on July 28, 2017

I think PS has settled on a single lock design that they accept - one of those round ones where the shank is pretty well covered up by the sliding hasp on the door. I had one of those circular locks, which they said I could use, but what do you shank was too big for the holes in the hasp. Of course, the one they sell fits perfectly - for >$20.
posted by DandyRandy at 9:47 PM on August 7, 2017

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