Can You Live In a Storage Unit?

At first glance, living in a storage unit can seem like a safe decision. There is shelter from the outside world, a lock on the door, a clean floor. Some storage units even have air conditioning. This can feel especially true for gated, indoor self-storage units that require a gate code for entry.

Living in a storage unit is usually a last-ditch effort to secure housing. With economic inflation, lots of people have fallen on hard times; students, families, and folks struggling with employment. 

Since the monthly cost for a storage unit is much lower than residential housing, living in one can seem affordable—especially for those who are struggling financially to make ends meet and have families to feed. 

All things considered, taking residence in a storage unit can seem like a fantastic, short-term solution for those enduring hard times.

But it’s not. Not at all. Not even a little bit.

Sorry to burst your bubble… but living in a storage unit is not only illegal but wildly unsafe. Read more to learn why you can’t live in a storage unit. 

Lack of Resources

For sanitation, hygiene, and hydration, human beings need running water. It’s just a fact of life. Washing your hands, drinking water, flushing away urine and feces, and proper hygiene all rely on running water. 

This means that when a person inevitably has to use the restroom, they’ll either have to use a container inside of the storage unit or find other means of relieving themselves outside of the unit. 

The lack of running water also makes it difficult for self-storage dwellers to wash their hands, which can lead to illness.

Bacteria and microorganisms gather on the hands and transfer to the body by touching the eyes, mouth, and nose. This causes diseases like diarrhea and other bacterial infections to spread within the body.

You can imagine how horrible it can be to have diarrhea or suffer from vomiting in a small, contained space that doesn’t have running water. Or air ventilation. And although some self-storage units are ‘climate controlled’, they are rarely cool enough to keep a human comfortable.

Folks who get sick inside storage containers have to get through the sickness while usually being hot and sweaty. Compound that warm room with a fever and you’ve got a recipe for pure misery. 

In addition, self-storage units don’t have windows. Since there are no windows to open and zero natural sunlight to let in, there is no way to see in the dark space. People who try to live in storage units have to utilize headlamps and flashlights to see anything. 

Folks who stumble around inside an unorganized storage unit can fall and get hurt as well. 


Some self-storage units have a bit of space under the door, but not the walls. 

Depending on how many people are living in the storage unit, it can become incredibly hard to breathe. Since storage units lock from the outside, it’s also possible to get locked inside tools.

Folks who seek refuge in storage units will have to keep the door ajar in order to avoid being locked in, but also so they can come and go as they please while they are “home”. However, storage unit staff will see this door open and lock it for you, thinking that you’ve forgotten to lock your unit.

This can result in getting stuck inside the unit and potentially dying.

Let’s say there is an unfortunate disaster that takes place in the unit like a fire has begun or the storage unit dweller has run out of food and water while locked inside. If staff or other storage customers miss the calls for help, a person could be trapped in that unit until they die. 

Deceased people can be left in a storage unit for a long time. It’s usually the smell of a decomposing body that leads staff to break locks and see what’s inside. 

It’s a really bad idea to live in a storage unit. Read more to learn about the criminal charges associated with living in storage units. 

Potential Penalties

Because of the reasons listed above and more, storage units are illegal to live in. If a person is caught living in a storage unit, he or she will be expelled from the unit immediately, as well as all of their belongings.

Since most self-storage units have lots of cameras everywhere, it is almost impossible for a person to live in a storage unit unnoticed. It’s really just a matter of time until that person is discovered and thrown out.

Laws and regulations prohibit living in self-storage units —on the federal and state level. When a person gets a storage unit, they always sign a contract that very clearly states the rules of the renting agreement. Your signature at the bottom of that contract signifies your agreement to never live in the unit.

If you get caught doing so, criminal charges follow.

You Don’t Have To Go Home, but You Can’t Stay Here

Our storage units are safe, clean, and our staff is reliable. Since you know you can’t live here, we’re more than happy to help you store your belongings instead. Contact us today to reserve your storage unit.

Your stuff is safe with us!

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