From The MSM Archive: Do I Have To Provide These Services? By Jeffery Greenberger

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    QUESTION: This month’s question is from a manager whose facility’s entry gate is broken and the original installers appear to be out of business. Because she is having trouble locating parts or finding someone to service it, the gate is now left open during access hours and closed manually at night. Many of her occupants contend that an automatic gate is part of the “security package” they paid for when signing the rental agreement. In addition, 24-hour access tenants are upset because they no longer have such access. Her question is: Do I have to provide all of the security services that were in place at the time these occupants leased from me? If not, how do I terminate the service?

    ANSWER: The answer depends greatly on the language in your rental agreement. The rental agreement normally states that someone is renting a particular unit or space for the purpose of self-service storage. Generally, the agreement does not provide that, included with the rental, is an automatic gate, video cameras, etc. These are, in my view, amenities you are providing that are ancillary to the actual rental of space. In the best of all possible worlds, your rental agreement will state that security features or other amenities may break or may not be available at all times, and that this does not constitute a breach of the rental agreement. Working from the assumption that you don’t have a lease provision excusing you from the allegation of default, however, we must look at whether or not you have promised or offered these features as a condition of the rental, which would mean that occupants are entitled to rely on the existence of these amenities in exchange for rent.

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