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I recently had a storage unit of mine auctioned off by the facility. Is it questionable that they did it illegally & too soon?

Tewksbury, MA |

I rented a unit from a facility for over a year. I was out of town & forgot to pay my bill. I called to see what the balance was, and was told that my unit had been sold. The manager also told me that he was not allowed to release bid info which doesn't make sense since they're supposed to give me the difference.
They sent a certified letter on 7/7 and sold the unit on 8/3, 27 days later. I received no certified letter, but I wasn't home to receive it, yet the law is vaque on what happens with cert. mail. I read the law & my interpretation is that they must wait 30 days (1 for delivery, 14 in demand notice, and 15 while an ad is run), before they can sell it. Am I reading it wrong? I bought $20K in insurance from them to cover the value of my items if something happened. What can I do now

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Attorney answers 2


I agree with your interpretation of the law, except to note that notice only has to be ten days if there is no newspaper or general circulation available. Note that you must demand the return of your balance and that the good faith purchaser is entitled to keep your property, even if the storage facility violated the law. You should hire an attorney to pursue your claim. Good luck!

G.L. c. 105A s. (4) …If there is no newspaper of general circulation in the city or town where the sale is to be held, the advertisement must be posted at least ten days before the sale in not less than six conspicuous places in the neighborhood of the proposed sale.
(9) A purchaser in good faith of goods sold to enforce an operator's lien takes the property free of any rights of persons against whom the lien was valid, despite noncompliance by the operator with the requirements of this section.
(10) The operator may satisfy his lien from the proceeds of any sale pursuant to this section but must hold the balance, if any, for release on demand to the occupant or to any person to whom he would have been bound to release the property.

Gary S. Sinclair is an attorney licensed to practice in Massachusetts. If you wish to contact me or any other attorney on AVVO, just click on the attorney's name and you will find contact information. All of my answers are based on Massachusetts law or a simple reading of the law in your jurisdiction. All answers are for educational purposes and no attorney-client relationship is formed by providing an answer to your question. The information provided should NOT be relied upon for making legal decisions. You will be best served by hiring an attorney in your area who specializes in the field of law pertinent to your question.


Even if you imagine that you had received the letter on 7/7, the letter would need to provide you with a fourteen day grace period for payment (through 7/21.) The advertising could not legally begin until 7/22 (after the fourteen days had expired.) The sale could not legally occur until August 6 (fifteen days after the advertising began.)

It is highly doubtful that there is not at least one newspaper of general circulation in the city or town. The Boston Globe qualifies as such almost everywhere in Massachusetts, and moreover it appears that there is at least one local newspaper in Tewksbury.

Therefore it seems as if you have a strong claim under MGL 105a s4; you are also likely to have a claim under MGL 93A.

Contact an attorney.

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