Can You Live in a Storage Unit? (No, and Here’s Why You Shouldn’t!)
Why living in a self storage unit is prohibited
Homelessness has long been an issue for most people living in the US – and while many of them are easy to spot, some have managed to live with their families and friends, in their cars, or even shelters. If you’re facing a financial crisis or housing insecurity, finding yourself in a self storage unit may seem like a good alternative. Why not? The monthly rent is affordable and it has the privacy protection you need to live your days like you’re actually at home. To top it off, it’s considerably cheaper than renting an apartment so it only makes sense if you’re struggling to stay afloat.
However, the question is, is it sustainable to live in a self storage unit? Is it even legal to begin with?
The short answer is NO. Living in cheap storage units is strongly prohibited by federal housing laws. However, it doesn’t mean it has never happened before or even now. In fact, with around 600,000 homeless people in the US, it’s not surprising to see some of them resort to cheap storage units as their primary home. A YouTuber even got viral for uploading a video of himself living in the facility and making the act seem like a glamorous thing to do – but the truth is, it isn’t.
So what happens if you get caught?
Anyone who doesn’t comply with the law and insurance policy will be evicted from the premises right away – the same fate that the YouTuber had – no matter how stealthy or ninja-like you are. All self storage units have security measures in place such as security cameras, coded gates, and management procedures to ensure all units are secure.
If you get caught, other than violating the terms of your lease, you’ll definitely be guilty of a civil offense.
What is it like living in a self storage unit?
One thing is certain, it is super uncomfortable. If you live in a drive-up storage unit, you will be freezing cold in the winter and will be frying hot in the summer. Even if you say your unit is climate controlled, the claustrophobic effect and the lack of natural light will tear you apart if you live too long in the unit. What’s even worse is if your facility doesn’t offer 24-hour access, you’ll have to be smart about staying “invisible” and planning your days around getting in and out of the property. Commodities like electricity, water, and bathroom usage will be rare. Additionally, you won’t have a permanent address, so getting mails, signing up for a job, or registering for bank accounts will be much harder for you. You could die due to the lack of air and start accidents like fire or some unexpected disasters!
So why can’t you live in a self storage unit? Here’s a checklist.
- No running water
- No natural light. No windows.
- No electricity.
- Fire hazards.
- No proper ventilation.
- Risk of getting caught.
What’s the key takeaway here?
Under no circumstances should you consider living in a self storage unit, even if it’s just cheap storage. Homelessness comes in many forms, and by that, it’s not surprising to say that a lot have been trying to live in storage units. It is not legal nor is it safe. The truth is, you will only be accumulating more problems than solving your issue with housing. The decision to move into a storage unit, may it be a drive-up storage or climate controlled, is more of an act of desperation and should not be encouraged at any cost.
Secretly living in the cold, dark, and unventilated area is a lot of times worse than being homeless. If you happen to come across this dilemma, communicating with the staff at your chosen facility can be helpful. Most of the staff aren’t there to take you out or toss you and your stuff out. Most of them are connected to resources that can help you with your problems such as shelters, charities, food banks or anything that could ease you up as you struggle on the brink of homelessness.