LEGAL UPDATES - SUMMER 2022
Newspaper advertising. The SSA and NJ-SSA are pursuing a bill during the 2022 legislative session to eliminate the costly and ineffective newspaper advertising requirement in the state. Current New Jersey law requires two advertisements in the newspaper before an operator may proceed to sale. The proposed amendments would permit storage operators to bypass the newspaper advertising requirement. Instead, owners would be permitted to advertise in a commercially reasonable manner. An advertisement is deemed commercially reasonable if at least three (3) independent bidders attend the sale in person or online at the time and place advertised.
Lien Law Threat. In response to biased media coverage of storm damage at a facility in New Jersey, S. 213 was introduced. If passed, the bill would negatively affect an owner’s ability to deny occupant access to personal property under certain circumstances. NJ-SSA and SSA are working to stop the bill.
The national SSA has many resources and webinars available focused on COVID-19 and our industry. Click here to access news about COVID-19 and self storage. Invitations to register for the webinars are being sent to state and national members, specifically, the primary contact's email address.
For the latest information from New Jersey on the COVID-19 pandemic, visit the governor’s office website and your state’s department of health here. Be sure to carefully monitor the situation and check on updates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) www.cdc.gov, regulatory agencies as well as local health officials.
Please also read the letter from Tim Dietz, SSA President and CEO, that provides resources and information related to states of emergency and pricing restrictions here.
The New Jersey Warehousemen & Movers Association recently launched a public awareness campaign to highlight the dangers of using an unlicensed moving company. NJSSA members should ensure that they are only doing business with licensed movers.
NJSSA members log in HERE to view the list of licensed movers and a column from the Self Storage Legal Network provides insightful analysis on how and whether to do with movers asking to store their clients’ property.
Not a NJSSA member, join HERE to access critical information and member only resources.
BUILDING CODES UPDATE
Changes to the International Building Code Affect Self Storage
With the support of its Code Committee, the Self Storage Association successfully pursued several key changes to the 2021 International Building Code.
- An exception has been added to IBC Section 2902.3.3 to permit an increase in the location (to greater than every other floor) and maximum distance of travel (to greater than 500 ft) for restrooms. The location and travel distance must be approved by the code official.
- The maximum allowable height of sprinklered facilities made of Type IIB materials (unprotected steel) and Type IIIB materials (noncombustible or fire-retardant-treated wood stud exterior walls and any interior construction) has been increased from 3 stories to 4 stories. The Code continues to have total floor and building square footage limits.
- Pursuant to modified IBC Section 903.2.9, storage facilities are exempt from the automatic sprinkler system requirement if: (1) the total fire area is 12,000 sq. ft. or less; (2) the combined total fire areas are 24,000 sq. ft. or less; (3) the facility is no greater than one story above grade plane; and (4) all storage spaces are accessed directly from the exterior.
These changes go into effect as they are adopted by local and state governments over the next several years. Prior to the adoption on the local and state level, storage developers can request that the code official rely on the 2021 changes as acceptable alternative methods of construction pursuant to section 104.11 of the existing International Building Code.
Please email Joe Doherty with any questions or to receive supporting documentation for these changes.
August 6, 2020
Disaster Readiness Resources
As an NJSSA member you have access to a large library of information, resources and legal help related to preparing and navigating through disasters.
Click here to access the complete library on the national SSA website. Topics include:
- Price Gouging Laws
- Emergency Preparedness
- Water and Humidity
- Legal Help, Self Storage Legal Network , Affiliate Plan
- Communication Plan and More!
Click here for your state’s emergency management agency.
Click here for the complete communication that was sent to members.
April 10, 2020
New Jersey Storage Operators May Remain Open Under New Executive Order
On April 8, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy issued an order, imposing additional mitigation requirements on essential retail businesses and industries that are permitted to remain open. The new order also extends many of the requirements imposed by the March 21 order that directed all residents to stay at home except for certain exceptions, such as traveling to and working at certain businesses. The orders collectively close several nonessential retail, recreational, and entertainment businesses as well as nonessential construction sites.
The new order permits self storage operators to remain open, but telework or work-from-home arrangements must be implemented wherever practicable. The order imposes additional mandates on owners of buildings used for commercial, industrial, or other enterprises, including self storage. Operators must adopt policies that, at minimum, implement the following cleaning protocols:
(1) Clean and disinfect high-touch areas routinely in accordance with CDC guidelines, particularly in spaces that are accessible to staff, customers, tenants, or other individuals, and ensure cleaning procedures following a known or potential exposure in a facility are in compliance with CDC recommendations;
(2) Otherwise maintain cleaning procedures in all other areas of the facility; and,
(3) Ensure that the facility has a sufficient number of workers to perform the above protocols effectively and in a manner that ensures the safety of occupants, visitors, and workers.
We have prepared a sample letter, click here, explaining why self storage is permitted to remain open, consistent with the Governor’s orders. We encourage you to put this letter on your company letterhead and provide copies to all employees to have at your facilities and while traveling to work.
April 1, 2020
New Leave Law to Impact Storage Industry, Effective April 1
As reported last week, the new federal leave law takes effect on April 1. Employers must provide notice to their employees immediately if they have not done so already. The notice can be found here.
SSA’s updated FAQs can be found here. The updated FAQs answer questions on issues such as the posting requirements for the notice and the limited exemption available to employers with fewer than 50 employees. The Department of Labor’s complete FAQs can be found here.
Employers are strongly encouraged to discuss the new law with their legal counsel. Please email Joe Doherty, firstname.lastname@example.org, with any questions.
March 23, 2020 - NJ Governor Allows Storage Businesses to Remain Open During State of Emergency
By this time, you have probably heard of Governor Murphy’s order requiring all non-essential retail businesses to close. This order does not apply to self storage.
Self storage is not a retail business under either of the prevailing industry classification systems, NAICS and SIC. Self storage is a commercial business that rents real property. A separate explanation accompanying the Governor’s order states that commercial businesses are allowed to remain open.
Importantly, paragraphs 10 and 11 of the Governor’s order apply to all businesses. All businesses must accommodate their workforce, wherever practicable, for telework or work-from-home arrangements. Also, all businesses should make best efforts to reduce staff on site to the minimal number necessary to ensure that essential operations can continue.
The Governor issued a separate order prohibiting local governments from imposing additional or stricter requirements on any business. For example, the stricter order from the Bergen County Executive is unenforceable.
Please email Joe Doherty, email@example.com, with any questions.