Every once in a while, the police or any other law enforcement may come to your self-storage facility for various reasons. In most cases, they are interested in drug supplies and equipment, property in dispute or stolen property. Sometimes, this situation tends to scare storage managers, and they don´t have a clue how to handle this kind of actions. Most managers are afraid of getting in trouble for refusing to help. Also, most of them don´t know whether they should ask for search warrants or not, and should they let the police in a unit or not.
Of course, these concerns are justifiable. It may be very upsetting for managers to find out that something illegal is going on their property. As a storage warehouse and distribution owner, you´ll have to know how to properly deal with the police and investigation process. The following guidelines must be considered if law enforcement approaches your facility.
Act cooperative and friendly
Even though the situation might be unnerving for you, keep in mind that you haven’t done anything wrong, so there´s not a reason to be impolite and to refuse to help. The best case scenario is to build a good relationship with the local police or law enforcement. For example, you can ask them to drive through your facility from time to time, which will help them to spot potential criminal activity. It´s a blessing if you don’t have to be involved in the process of investigation.
Don´t be afraid to ask for warrants
Building a case against a person requires a lot of information. If law enforcement officials think they might get new clues from, it´s important for you to know what to do and how to behave. They´ll most likely ask you to open a unit for them, to take a look at a tenant´s file. You need to be very careful in this situation since you don´t want to be uncooperative, but you also don´t want to lose the loyalty of your customers. So feel free to ask for search warrant or subpoena, and even make a copy for yourself, which is something many will strongly advise. Also, you have the right to ask for their ID. Nowadays, most law enforcement officers have business cards, which will be enough.
You have the right to provide the Rent Roll
If a law enforcement officer asks you about a particular person that happens to be your tenant, you have the right to provide them such information. But, at the same time, you have the right to ask for subpoena before giving any information. So the choice is yours.
There are exceptions
You won´t be in the position to ask for a search warrant if the tenant law enforcement officers are asking about is delinquent. In this situation, you should allow access to the tenant´s unit. Also, you shouldn´t argue about warrantless searches in case your tenant is on probation. As you know, citizens on probation cannot enjoy the same privacy as ordinary citizens. In case the search was not proper, this is an issue between law enforcement agency and tenant. You won´t suffer any consequences.