Pick It Up, Pack It Up, Put It Away Turning Space Into Storage

In a city where living and business space alike are hard to come by, wildly expensive, and constantly needing to be revamped, the question of where tenants should store their belongings begs to be asked. No one wants to give up livable space for storage closets, so creative alternatives are necessary to maximize usable dwelling areas while at the same time providing storage that's safe, clean and convenient for all residents. The placement of these areas can range from basements to in-unit facilities; it's up to residents and boards to decide which kind is right for their particular building.

Are You the Keymaster?

Depending on tenants' needs, containers range from wire cages with padlocks to entire built-in units side by side in a designated storage area complete with keyed access doors. Bicycles, camping equipment, holiday ornaments and luggage are among the most commonly stored items. For this reason, some buildings offer different kinds of spaces for their tenants to use, and charge according to the amount of space used.

Generally, the security of residents' belongings is monitored by the building's super or doorman, but it's important to establish who will have access to individual storage units themselves. According to Joshua Goldman, President of Manhattan-based Bargold Storage, "Only the tenant should have access and keys to their storage facility. Once a storage company has access to a tenant's unit, they're going beyond storage rental and must also take responsibility for what's inside."

An important aside is that it is actually illegal for a storage company to have keys to a tenant's unit. Alan Edelstein of A & D Steel in Long Island City says that they need an authorization letter from a tenant in order for his company to make a master key for the super or the board to hold on to - but that request is the exception rather than the rule.

Cages and Crates

If you can think it, it can be built. A residential storage company can compose a survey of a building's tenants, assess the responses, and install the type of storage units deemed most popular or useful. Some companies go so far as to build and install a free trial unit in the decided area so tenants will have an opportunity to see how it works and make decisions based on the actual model. Once the decision is made, the installation process is relatively quick. From the initial consultation, new storage space can usually be available in a few weeks.


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  • What happens if there were storage lockers and at the time they were either given free to the shareholders or they were 'sold' for a set fee i.e. $500. Once a shareholder left, then the unit reverted back to the coop. Now there are new storage lockers and the coop wants to charge a fee per month only to those new storage locker holders, not to those shareholders already in possession of lockers. Is this fair? How does one argue that either everyone pay something or no one pay?