For those unaware, PPSR stands for Personal Property Securities Register – it is the register where details of security interests in personal property can be registered and searched; the Insolvency and Trustee Service Australia (ITSA) is the Australian Government agency responsible for administering the PPSR (source: http://www.ppsr.gov.au). To boil it down to it’s basics, it’s a register of persons who have property that has an interest placed upon it.
- John Citizen buys a car for $20,000 using a loan from a finance company.
- John stores that car, which he has not paid off yet, with you.
- John neglects to pay his storage bill & you (the self storage company) sell his stored goods (ie. the car) and get only $7,000 for it at auction.
- You failed to check the PPSR for an interest registered against the car the John was storing with you – which wasn’t technically his car yet – so now the finance company can seek payment from YOU for the value of that car. And not the value of what you sold the car for, but it’s market value.
This is why it is VERY important to check the PPSR immediately before you cut the lock on a storers shed to audit, and eventually sell, the contents of their shed. If the unit contains an item that’s on the PPSR, consult the SSAA’s legal counsel Simone Hill. Furthermore, if the PPSR comes up with “no matches” for your storer, download & save the PPSR certificate into Storman against their file so you have proof!
PPSR & Legal Names: The importance of checking a Storer’s ID
Simone raised an interesting conundrum: What if a storer signed up with the name “Bob Citizen”, but his legal name is actually “Robert Citizen”.
Let’s just say that you, XYZ Storage Company, checked the PPSR for “Bob Citizen”, and there were no records – so you sold his goods only to find out that, some weeks later, the PPSR contained a match for “Robert Citizen” – the same Storer’s legal name.
Technically, you could be liable here – because the Storer’s ID was not checked upon move-in and, as such, the incorrect name was entered on the Self Storage Agreement. Remember that you MUST check a Storer’s official government-issued ID …and the example above is a great reason why! Remember, in Australia, you can legally photocopy or scan a Storer’s drivers license or passport (however, it must be handled as per the Privacy Act). You can also store it in Storman against their file.
Seeking answers or assistance?
SSAA members can find out more about the PPSR, storing a customers ID or other legal issues via your local Self Storage Association.