11 Apr Washington Self Storage Bill Overcomes Political Battle
By Alex Hassel, Storage.com
After getting caught in political crossfire, the Washington state legislature’s SB 6148 has come out on top. The bill allows storage operators in the state to tow any vehicle in the result of a lien rather than go through the auction process. This comes after the state’s House and Senate overrode a veto from Governor Jay Inslee.
The Washington Self Storage Association (WA-SSA) and the Self Storage Association (SSA) have been lobbying for the bill. A similar law was passed in the state last year, although its language hasn’t recognized campers, trailers, or boats on trailers as part of the statute. The WA-SSA and SSA wanted to fix that with SB 6148.
The idea is that allowing storage operators to tow a vehicle rather than going through an auction after a lien makes things a lot easier. Some of the biggest problems storage owners face when auctioning off vehicles is transferring titles. It’s a complicated process that many storage operators want to simplify by just removing the vehicle from their property.
SB 6148 proposed that storage operators could call a towing company to remove any vehicle after providing required notices in compliance with a self storage lien sale. The operator would then notify the defaulted tenant that the vehicle was towed and provide the name and phone number of the towing company.
The bill was moving through the legislature smoothly. It passed unanimously in both the Senate and the House. However, it and 26 other bills found Governor Inslee’s veto stamp at the end of the session. Inslee didn’t have anything against the bills in particular but thought the state’s budget should come first.
At the time, Inslee said, “Given legislators’ inability to complete their number one job, I measured these bills against the importance of the budget and set a very high bar. I recognize this is perhaps the largest single batch of vetoes in history. None of these vetoed bills were as important as the fundamental responsibility of passing a budget.”
Legislators and Washington self storage operators were frustrated. However, a special session immediately followed in order for lawmakers to work on the state’s budget. Washington’s legislature was able to pass a supplemental budget at the end of March and then finished the session by overriding all 27 bills vetoed by Inslee.
Without the override, the WA-SSA and legislators would’ve had to start from scratch in next year’s session. Now, storage operators in the state are relieved that the political roller coaster is over.
Patrick Reilly, President of the WA-SSA, says, “This effort was a great job headed by the WA-SSA legislative committee chaired by Don Arsenault with support and guidance from members of the SSA like General Counsel Carlos Kaslow, President Tim Dietz, and Director of Government Relations Marcus Dunn. I’m very proud of the partnership that the WA-SSA has with the SSA that made it happen. It was a much needed and good bill.
The law goes into effect on June 27, 2016.