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Monday, February 06, 2023
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Summer Legal Updates 2022

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Lien Law. Pennsylvania House Bill HB 1103 passed the Pennsylvania House of Representatives in June 2021 by a 200-1 vote. It was unanimously approved by the Senate Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure Committee on April 13, 2022.

If passed by the full Senate and signed by the Governor, the bill would amend the lien law in several ways. First, the bill expressly states that an owner may charge the occupant a reasonable late fee for each month the occupant fails to pay rent or other charges within five (5) days of the due date. The bill further provides that a late fee of $20 per month or 20% of the monthly rent for the leased space, whichever is greater, is deemed reasonable and does not constitute a penalty. Finally, to lawfully impose the fee, an owner must disclose in the rental agreement the amount of the fee and the timing for charging the fee.

House Bill 1103 would also reduce the number of newspaper advertisements that must be published before sale. If passed, Pennsylvania operators would only be required to publish the sale once in a newspaper of general circulation. The amendment would allow the second advertisement to be published on a publicly accessible Internet website that regularly advertises or conducts online sales of personal property. This would result in a 50 percent reduction in advertising expenses.

The bill would also amend the lien law to provide an owner’s right to tow trailers after the occupant is in default for a continuous 60-day period. Existing law permits towing of motor vehicles and watercraft. Finally, the bill would expressly permit owners to conduct lien sales online as opposed to exclusively in-person at the facility.

The SSA is pushing to have the bill considered when the Senate returns to work in September. Please ask your Senator to support this important legislation. 

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Changes to the International Building Code Affect Self Storage - April 2019

With the support of its Code Committee, the Self Storage Association successfully pursued several key changes to the 2021 International Building Code. 

1.       An exception has been added to IBC Section 2902.3.3 to permit an increase in the location (to greater than every other floor) and maximum distance of travel (to greater than 500 ft) for restrooms.  The location and travel distance must be approved by the code official.

2.       The maximum allowable height of sprinklered facilities made of Type IIB materials (unprotected steel) and Type IIIB materials (noncombustible or fire-retardant-treated wood stud exterior walls and any interior construction) has been increased from 3 stories to 4 stories.  The Code continues to have total floor and building square footage limits. 

3.       Pursuant to modified IBC Section 903.2.9, storage facilities are exempt from the automatic sprinkler system requirement if: (1) the total fire area is 12,000 sq. ft. or less; (2) the combined total fire areas are 24,000 sq. ft. or less; (3) the facility is no greater than one story above grade plane; and (4) all storage spaces are accessed directly from the exterior. 

These changes go into effect as they are adopted by local and state governments over the next several years.  Prior to the adoption on the local and state level, storage developers can request that the code official rely on the 2021 changes as acceptable alternative methods of construction pursuant to section 104.11 of the existing International Building Code.

Please email Joe Doherty at the National SSA with any questions or to receive supporting documentation for these changes.

 


In 2018, the Pennsylvania Self Storage Association supported HB 504.

HB504 was signed into law by Governor Wolf and became effective in December 2018.

The law enables self storage operators to sell property insurance to their tenants.  Generally, the insurance covers the loss of or damage to property put into storage by the individual renter or while the property is transit during the rental agreement. The operator has to obtain a limited insurance license to sell this insurance.

The full text of the law, codified as of Act 97 of 2018, is available here

 


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