Family’s belongings sold after falling behind on rent

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A family of six had all of their household belongings sold off after they fell behind on their rent at Public Storage in Cheektowaga.

The law is clear. If you put your belongings in storage and fall behind on the rent, the owner can take everything and sell it. But Brandon and Brittney Holliday, who have four small children, including an 8-month-old, say it isn’t fair.

All the Hollidays have left are clothes that were inside plastic laundry bins. They had placed all of their belongings after moving in with Brandon’s family when he was laid off.

“Anything that you would have in a household with kids. Our plates, washer, dryer, stove…our life is in there,” Brandon said.

Then they fell behind on the rent. Brandon says  he kept Public Storage officials updated on the family’s money situation but fell behind by two months.

When he went to the company’s website to pay the back rent, he says, “We actually went to pay the entire balance in full, the website booted us off of it.”

The Hollidays would soon learn all of their belongings in the storage unit were gone. They had been sold early this week, after Brandon says he tried to pay by phone.

“That’s when I received the phone call, then I tried to call them and pay them over the phone right then and there, and they had auctioned it off at 9:30,” he said.

Brittney added, “Everything that we owned is in there. Every memory, every first smile, every first step, videos, everything…it’s just gone now.”

Brandon says they didn’t even get prior notice of the sale.

He said, “It was a big surprise to hear that they actually had auctioned it off, especially noting I hadn’t had any notice of it whatsoever, not over the phone, not through e-mail, not through the regular U.S. postage, nothing.”

State law says a self-storage company must give a renter a certain amount of notice before selling off their belongings. The district manager for Public Storage referred me to their corporate headquarters in California and we are still waiting to hear from a company spokesman.

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