Answered by Shaykh Faraz A. Khan
Question: Is it halal to purchase items from storage units in which the person has not paid their bill for one year or more and has had several attempts at contact to inform of the process?
Answer: Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah,
I pray this finds you in the best of health and states.
It would be permissible to purchase such goods, as the owner whose goods are being sold (due to his failure to pay for the storage) had agreed to this stipulation when he signed the lease contract with the storage unit company.
That stipulation is deemed to be an implicit contract of collateral (rahn) with agency (wakala), in that the owner of the goods — in case he fails to pay for the leasing of the unit — agrees to make the storage company his agent in selling his stored goods, which serve as collateral for the money owed.
The jurists explicitly mention that a stipulation of agency is valid in a collateral contract (rahn). [Maydani, Lubab]
And Allah knows best.
Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani