To Protect Personal Possessions During Pandemic, Senator Brad Hoylman and Assembly Member Jeff Dinowitz Introduce Legislation to Halt Storage Unit Auctions During COVID-19 Pandemic

NEW YORK — In light of a report detailing hundreds of storage unit auctions across New York during the pandemic,  State Senator Brad Hoylman (Manhattan-D/WFP), Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and Assembly Member Jeffrey Dinowitz (Bronx-D/WFP), Chair of the Assembly Judiciary Committee, have introduced the Pandemic Self Storage Act  to protect New Yorkers’ personal possessions. The Pandemic Self-Storage Act (attached) imposes a moratorium prohibiting owners of self-service storage facilities from enforcing a lien held upon their customers’ personal property by public or private sale during the COVID-19 covered period.

Roughly 1 in 10 Americans use self-storage, a vital resource for many New Yorkers who live in apartments and need extra space. Currently there are over 1,000 storage unit auctions scheduled in the coming months in NYC alone.

The Pandemic Self-Storage Act complements their Tenant Safe Harbor Act passed on May 27th, which established a moratorium on evictions for those behind on rent during the pandemic, current protections did not extend to New Yorkers’ possessions sitting in storage units.

State Senator Brad Hoylman said: “Many New Yorkers have been hurting for months during COVID-19. There’s no clear end in sight to the pandemic and no guarantee of federal and state relief anytime soon. Our Pandemic Self-Storage Act ensures struggling New Yorkers won’t lose their personal possessions located in self storage units by lien sales because they don’t have the money to keep up with storage fees. There are up to nearly a thousand of these self-storage facilities spanning 50 million square feet in New York City alone, which gives one the potential scope of this problem as the pandemic-induced recession grinds on.”

Assembly Member Jeff Dinowitz said: “During this time of unprecedented upheaval across all aspects of society, nobody should move forward with the seizure and sale of people's personal property. Many New Yorkers are experiencing financial hardship during the pandemic and it may be difficult for them to return to their storage unit to collect their belongings if they can no longer afford the fees. We need to implement a moratorium on liens and sales of these units until after people have been given ample opportunity to get back on their feet. Thank you to State Senator Hoylman for carrying this legislation with me and I urge our colleagues in the legislature to join us in defending the rights of people who are suffering during the COVID-19 pandemic.”