Q. What is a Public Warehouse?
A: A public warehouse is defined as any building or part of a building kept and maintained for the storage of goods, wares, and merchandise as a business.
Q: Are there different types of public warehouses?
A: Yes. Eviction warehouses, warehouses where goods, wares, and merchandise are stored as a result of eviction are subject to different rules than other public warehouses. Please see the section below on eviction warehouses.
Q: Do I need a warehouseman license from the OPSI?
A: If you are a person, corporation, partnership, association or trustee engaged in the business of storing goods for hire, then you are a Warehouseman and you must apply for a license from the Department.
Q: What if I am storing goods for someone else, but it is not a business. Do I still need to be licensed?
A: No. You only need a license if you are a warehouseman as described above.
Q: What happens if I operate a public warehouse business without a license?
A: Operating a public warehouse business without a license could result in a fine and/or enjoinment from warehouse operation.
Q: How do I obtain a license?
1. First, please complete the application form. This is a one page form requiring information about you and your business, and may be accessed here. Along with your application, you must submit the following:
a. One copy of a government issued picture identification. A driver's license, for example, will fulfill this requirement. Please be sure that it is a legible copy. The OPSI requires the identification in order to ensure that the information regarding your business and your (Criminal Offender Record Information CORI) are all correct;
b. One copy of your "Articles of Organization" for submission to the OPSI. This is the paperwork that you filled out in order to operate your warehouse as a limited liability business in Massachusetts. It was likely one of your first steps before opening your warehouse. Simply copy these pages, and include them with your application;
c. One copy of your business certificate and proof of zoning approval. These are also papers that you should already have in your records. You need only make a copy to send with your application
d. A completed Bond Form. This form has the heading "Know all Men by these Presents." You will take this form to your insurance company for their approval. Once the form has been completed with your insurance company, you will submit it to the Department with the rest of your application.
e. One copy of your surety bond. You will receive this when you fill out the Bond Form with your insurance company. The surety bond should be payable to the Treasurer of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
f. A completed Notice Form and proof of newspaper publication. You will take the form to a major local newspaper for publication. The newspaper will run this notice of your business for two days. You can request the proof directly from your newspaper company.
2. Complete the "criminal check" or "CORI Request Form." By filling out this form, you will authorize the Department to request a copy of your criminal record from the Criminal History Systems Board (CHSB). You may obtain the CORI Request Form by contacting the Department and requesting one.
3. Submit a check or money order for $250.00 made out to The Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
Q: Where do I send the completed application?
A: Send the completed application to:
Division of Professional Licensure
Office of Public Safety and Inspections - Public Warehouse Licensing
1000 Washington Street, Suite 710
Boston, MA 02118
Q: Can I pay the fee by credit card or with cash?
A: No. We can only accept checks or money orders.
Q: May I fax my application to be a public warehouseman, or other paperwork to the OPSI?
A: No. The OPSI requires original documents unless specifically provided otherwise.
Q: May I drop off applications or other paperwork in person?
A: Yes. However, materials that are submitted in person are not processed the same day. They are not processed any faster than materials submitted by mail. Therefore, you are advised to submit applications and other paperwork by mail.
Q: Is the CORI request form necessary?
A: Yes. All applicants for a public warehousemen license must consent to a criminal background check as a condition of licensure.
Q: How will the Department consider my CORI report?
A: There are three major categories of licensure qualification based on the information found in the CORI report: "no record," "discretionary disqualification," and "presumptive disqualification." "No record" indicates that the applicant has no record of offenses, and is suitable for licensure as far as the CORI requirement. To determine which offenses qualify an applicant for "discretionary disqualification" (the applicant is initially ineligible, but the Department may consider mitigating circumstances), or "presumptive disqualification" (an applicant is illegible for licensure).
Q: Why do I need bond?
A: A bond ensures that a party injured by your action will have access to monitored funds for recovery. The funds will be paid by your insurer. You need the bond to cover your liability in case of such an injury. You are required to establish the bond as part of your application for license.
Q: What is the bond requirement?
A: The Commissioner is authorized to set the bond annually. Currently, you must submit a $10,000 surety bond for every warehouse.
A: Yes. This is why you are required to fill out the Notice Form with your local newspaper and submit proof of publication to the OPSI. The newspaper notice will run for 2 days, and will inform people in your county that you are to be a Public Warehousemen in the area.
Q: How do I fill out the Notice form?
A: You must bring the Notice form to your local newspaper (any major newspaper in your area will generally be deemed acceptable). The newspaper representatives will fill out the form, and you may request proof of publication from them. You must then submit a copy of both the form and the proof of publication to the OPSI.
Q: Is there a charge for publishing the newspaper notice?
A: Generally, yes, you are responsible for paying the expenses for publishing the notice. The cost of the legal advertisement varies depending on the newspaper you select.
Q: If I am notified that part of my application is incomplete, may I just submit the missing or incorrect parts, or must I send an entirely new application?
A: When you are notified, the notification will advise you as to what is missing. You may then submit missing forms, or resubmit forms with corrected information. You do not need to complete a new application.
Q: Why might I be denied a license?
A: You may be denied a license for one of two reasons: 1) failure to produce the required paperwork and fees, or 2) the OPSI has determined that you are not suitable for licensure.
Q: Can my license be revoked?
A: Yes. If your license is revoked, the OPSI will run a notice of revocation in your local newspaper. The notice will include information about your license, qualification, and bond, and will run for 3 consecutive weeks. The newspaper notice will be at your expense.
Q: If my license is revoked, may I appeal the decision?
A: Yes. You may file an appeal in Superior Court.
Q: What is an eviction lot?
A: An eviction lot is a lot in a warehouse used, or reserved for use, to store items placed in storage as the result of an eviction from a place of residence or business.
Q: Are there different requirements for public warehousemen with eviction lots?
A: Yes. In addition to all of the licensing and bond requirements for public warehousemen,, those warehousemen with eviction lots must also comply with the following requirements:
1. You must file current storage rates with the OPSI. Once the rates are filed, you may not change such rates more than once annually without the Commissioner of Public Safety's permission. Permission will only be granted under extraordinary circumstances.
2. You may not impose charges for storage in excess of:
a. rates approved by the Commissioner, which should reflect the fair market rates for storage facilities of similar quality in the warehouse's general locale; or
b. the actual cost for storage of goods including, but not limited to, docking fees, warehouse labor fees, administrative fees, or other similar fees imposed in addition to the storage rates listed with the OPSI during the storage period.
3. Public warehousemen with eviction lots are required to credit any amount paid by the evicting party or third person to the cost of storage.
4. Public warehousemen with eviction lots must notify the evicted party of the amount of advances made and liabilities incurred on which the public warehouseman claims a lien or security interest. Notification must be made monthly and must be sent to the last and best known address (prior to the address of eviction) for the evicted party. 5. Public warehousemen are required to insure the defendant's property against fire and theft in the amount of no less than $10,000.
Q: If I have eviction lots, am I strictly liable for the property stored?
A: While you are liable for any damage that could have reasonably been avoided, but unless otherwise agreed, you are not liable for damages which could not have been avoided by the exercise of reasonable care.
Q: What is the insurance requirement for eviction lots?
A: You must be insured for $10,000 over the bond for every eviction lot.
Q: Do I need additional insurance for each of my eviction lots?
A: Yes. You must have surety bond for $10,000 for the warehouse alone, and then an additional $10,000 for each eviction lot. For example, if you have one eviction lot you will need a bond for $20,000 ($10,000 warehouse bond + $10,000 eviction lot bond = $20,000). If you have five eviction lots, you must be insured in the amount of $10,000 for each lot, for a total of $50,000 ($10,000 warehouse bond + $50,000 eviction lot bond = $60,000).