What to do if the owner of my storage unit says that I have not paid, but I have?

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What to do if the owner of my storage unit says that I have not paid, but I have?

It is February now and the owner of my storage unit called today and said that he has not received a payment since October. He said that he was going to auction off my things tonight unless I could come up with what I owe. Which he says is $180. The thing is I have been paying every month. Sometimes I am a couple days late so I pay the $20 late fee. Which I have no problem with. My issue is that I usually pay in cash and put it in the envelope in the drop box at the storage unit site. I have never received any type of receipt. I don’t want my things to get sold. I’m having to borrow the $180 from a relative to get my things. Is there any way I can get the money that I have paid back? I feel like I just lost out on about $400 including this $180. My unit is only $60. Also, is there a time limit that he is supposed to let me know about this supposed shortage of payment. Why would he wait so long and not lock up my unit. This is the first I am hearing of him not receiving any payment.

Asked on February 9, 2011 under Real Estate Law, New York

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

In theory, you could sue to recover the money you claim you will have overpaid. In practice, if you don't have any payment receipt, it will be almost impossible--as the party suing, the burden would be on you to produce evidence to prove your case. In the future, *never* pay in cash without receiving a receipt; always pay by credit card, by check, by money order, or by some other means that you can prove receipt. In this case, since you simply placed cash in a drop box, it's possible the owner is not lying--someone could have stolen the money, for example, in which case even if you dropped it in, the owner has not been paid. You may have to pay this time to retain your belongings, but don't pay in cash again.


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