Here's what K-shaped recovery looks like: New Yorkers, out of money and options, move into smaller quarters with their families, putting their treasures into storage, only to discover they can't afford the storage fees - and now they're facing a wave of storage evictions.


The evictions are driven by a second wave of storage-rentals, as middle class people lose their homes or evacuate NYC and go shopping for storage space; self-storage owners want their nonpaying customers out so they can grab some of this business.



The storage eviction process has some formal requirements that make it hard for the company owners to just throw people's stuff out or auction it off, so they're offering deals to their tenants-in-arrears, like waiving some back rent in exchange for immediate departure.

Though the law puts limits on throwing away or auctioning off lockers, there's little regulation otherwise: locker companies are free to hike rents, levy late-payment surchages, etc, almost without limit.


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In its coverage, The City gets at the human cost of this: widows who want to retrieve their wedding photos before their locker contents are auctioned off for pennies are told they have to come up with $940 in fees and penalties first.

Today, these lockers are full of the worldly goods of people in shelters, people in housing precarity. Tomorrow, they'll house the possessions of the formerly affluent, who are sliding down the same slope.


If you are or know someone facing a locker eviction, try Legal Aid’s Access to Benefits Helpline (888-663-6880), or visit your borough's Human Resources Administration to apply for an emergency storage grant.

Self Storage



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