Storage Terms Defined

Like any industry, the storage industry has its own terminology. Here are many commonly used terms and a short definition of each. We hope this helps you better understand what you hear and read about self storage. We hope it will help you make a good decision in solving your storage needs. Feel free to call us if you have further questions.

1st of Month Billing

A way of billing storage where rent is always due on the 1st of each month. This makes billing simple for the bulk of your stay. First and last months rents may be pro-rated.

Access Controlled Gate

An electronic security gate that allows access to the storage facility only by entry a personal access code. This ensures that only tenants have access to the storage property. There is also a peace of mind in knowing that all comings and goings on the property are monitored.

Access Hours

The hours tenants can access their storage space. Access may be limited (e.g. to office hours) to Gate Hours.

Anniversary Billing

A way of billing storage where rent is due each month on the day of the month when you leased the space(your anniversary day). This complex method produces bills throughout the month.

Auto Bill Pay

This service automatically deducts your storage payment from a designated source each month. It saves you time, stamps, and worrying about missed payments and late fees.

Climate Control

The facility uses reasonable efforts to avoid temperature extremes in these units. Units are considered Climate Controlled when kept warmer than the outside temperature in cold weather and cooler than the outside temperature in hot weather.

Courtesy Hold

A temporary (1-7 days) hold on the space when availability allows. See also Reservation.

Cylinder Lock

A hardened metal cylinder key lock that is inserted into, and becomes part of, the unit door locking mechanism. Considered best protection against theft, breakage or rust. Also called a Disk Lock.

Drive-Up Unit

A storage unit that gives you the ability to load your belongings directly from a vehicle or truck.

Gate Access Code

A personal access code used with a security access system allowing only authorized individuals to open the gate/door and enter the storage property. It’s important to keep your code private.

Hazardous Materials

Hazardous materials are items that are potentially dangerous and unsafe to store. A few examples would be flammable or explosive materials like; chemicals, fireworks, and gasoline.

Indoor Storage

Refers to storage units that are located inside a building. Access to Indoor Units may be Drive-Up or from an indoor hallway.


Self-storage facilities are generally not responsible for the contents of your unit. Self-storage insurance is available from most insurance agents and some storage facilities. Before buying insurance, check if your homeowner’s or renter’s policy will cover you at no extra cost.


A data entry device tied into an access entry control system. It allows easy entry of a gate access code for entry/exit of the storage facility.


A keyed security device placed on your storage unit door. Only you have the key to open your storage unit.

Long Term Storage

Storing for more than 12 months is typically considered to be long term storage.

Mini Storage

Mini storage is an interchangeable term for self-storage. It is a shortening of an earlier term “Mini Self Storage”.

Month To Month Lease

A storage lease which continues only as long as rental payments made, or ended with advance tenant notice. The tenant pays monthly for as long as they need storage. This type of lease does not lock a tenant into a long term commitment.

Non-Climate Control

A storage unit that is subject to normal temperature variation. This type of storage is ideal for items that are not sensitive to humidity and temperature swings. Sometimes called Cold Storage.

Office Hours

The hours which storage office is available for customer service or other assistance.

On-Site Manager

A facility manager that lives on/or next to the storage facility and is available to aid tenants, monitor the facility, and handle emergencies. Also know as Resident Manager..

Outdoor Storage

A term sometimes used to describe a drive-up storage unit where other units are only accessible from a hallway.

Outside Storage

An individual exterior parking space, within the secured property. Used for car storage, boat storage or RV storage. Also called Outdoor Parking.

Perishable Materials

Any material that will spoil or decay over time. Perishable materials may not be stored in a self-storage unit. Examples of perishable items are food, live plants, and animals.

Property Lien

A public notice attached to property that announces that the facility is owed money. This is done if a rental lease falls into default. This is the start of the auction process.

Pro-Rated Payment

This is paying a portion of a full payment for a partial month. This may apply when you lease storage on any day other than the 1st of the month. A pro-rated payment for the 15th of the month would be ½ the full amount.


A term to is used for both the amount due and payment made by the tenant for storage. Be careful to note when the rent payment is due each month.

Rental Lease / Rental Agreement

A legal contract for storage rental that specifies all terms and conditions. Most-every storage facility. requires a lease, signed by the tenant, to rent storage.


A temporary hold on a space, backed by payment, that guarantees the space will be available on moving day. Subject to availability, a reservation may transferable to any sized unit.

Resident Manager

A facility manager that lives on/or next to the storage facility and is available to aid tenants, monitor the facility, and handle emergencies. Also referred to as On-site Manager.

Roll-Up Door

Roll-up doors are wide doors that are easy to lift and very space efficient. As the door rises, it rolls itself into a roll taking up little storage space.

Security Deposit

A refundable amount held to offset damage or outstanding charges after move-out.


A storage service where the tenant is responsible for physically moving all belongings in to and out of the space rented.

Short Term Storage

Storing for less than 12 months is typically considered to be short term storage.

Storage Tax

A tax, usually a sales tax collected on storage rentals as required by some states and local governments.

Transfer Fee

A processing charge incurred when moving (transfer) from one unit to another unit at the same facility.


The storage space a person rents. Also called: Locker, Space, Store Room, or Storage Unit.

Video Surveillance

A system of security cameras, visible or hidden, to monitor the property, promote security and deter theft or vandalism.