DENVER -- When people lose their homes, self storage is where many put everything they own. During the pandemic, though, Contact Denver7 found that hundreds of storage units are up for auction as people struggle to pay rent.
Contact Denver7 found the auction clock is ticking for hundreds of Colorado storage units as their unemployed owners struggle to pay rent during the pandemic.
"Everything I had, everything I had was in there," said Derek Sklar, who lost everything he owned when his unit was auctioned after he had paid $300 to try to catch up on back rent.
Since Contact Denver7 reported on the issue, we have received hundreds of comments and emails from people on both sides.
Some posting: "This should be like evictions. There needs to be a stop to this." Others side with storage unit owners: "You sign a contract. It's a service."
Contact Denver7 asked Governor Jared Polis if, like some other states, he would consider a moratorium on storage unit auctions. He stopped short of that, saying the focus was on keeping people housed.
"We, of course, want to look at predatory practices across other industries, including storage, to make sure nobody is taking advantage of consumers in their time of need," said Polis.
Contact Denver7 has since learned Denver Human Services does offer some help. They have an emergency assistance program to pay storage fees for Denver County residents experiencing homelessness.
The program is available to those who have been residents of Denver County for a minimum of 30 days. Storage assistance is designed to help homeless individuals maintain their personal items in storage units.
"It goes deeper than just stuff. He took away a part of my my personal life," said Marti Furay, who shared last week that she lost furniture and family heirlooms when her storage unit was auctioned with no notification and after she tried to pay her back rent.
She said that the CEO of the storage company is now offering to pay restitution.
"I am grateful to Channel 7 because you guys really were the catalyst to get them to respond at all. Up until that point, I had gotten nothing from them," said Furay.
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