A discussion of Bailments

November 21, 2011 § Leave a comment

In a prior post, I mentioned that the self storage industry arose out of a desire to permit someone to store property without creating a bailment. It occurred to me that many readers may not know what a bailment is.

A bailment is a relationship of trust created at common law where a person (the bailor) gives possession, but not ownership, of goods to another (the bailee) to hold for safekeeping. Think of valet parking or leaving a watch to be repaired or checking your coat at a restaurant. In each case, you entrust your property to another for safekeeping and safe return upon request. Prior to the 1960’s, this was what a warehouse was. A traditional warehouse still is today.

Self storage is different. In this case, a lessor-lessee relationship is created, not a bailment. Your tenant rents a unit,stores property and locks the space. The owner does not take possession of the goods and no liability is created. Care, custody and control remains with the customer.

This simple difference is the cornerstone of self storage.

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