Can You Live in Your Storage Unit?
If you find yourself with no other choice but to set up shop in your storage unit, you aren’t alone. But there are things you need to know before deciding to live there. As Express Storage of Santa Fe, which provides Santa Fe storage units, points out, you should be aware of whether it’s legal, safe, sanitary, or humane to do so first.
So, can you live in your storage unit? Legally, no, you are not allowed to live in a storage building. But people sometimes attempt to do so for several reasons.
Reasons You May Be Inclined to Move into Your Storage Unit
Moving into your storage unit can seem tempting for many reasons, especially if you find yourself with nowhere to go. Here are some reasons someone would be inclined to live in a storage unit:
- Your things may already be in it. You may already have a bed, couch, and other necessities for a dwelling inside your storage building. A little rearranging and straightening up and you could feel right at home.
- It is a shelter. If you have nowhere else to go, a storage building can be used as a shelter from the elements and for protection.
- It is cheap. You can rent a storage building for as cheap as $40 and up to $200. Sounds great compared to up to $2,000 a month for an apartment, right?
- If you are homeless, it would seem very appealing to rent a storage building for $20 and spend nights in it rather than sleeping on the street.
Legal Issues to Consider
There are legal issues to consider as well. Storage facilities are not zoned for residency and this makes it illegal to live there. If you are caught living in a storage unit, you can face serious fines and penalties. If you can’t pay, you may end up spending a few nights in jail.
The laws vary from state to state, as with anything, but in no state is it legal to live in your storage unit because of building regulations and planning permissions.
Reasons to Think Twice Before Moving into Your Storage Unit
Some other things you need to think about are safety, sanitation, your health, and more.
It is not safe: It is in no way safe to stay in your storage unit. They are unventilated, cold, damp, and uninsulated. On cold nights, you would be freezing and probably end up sick. Likewise, on hot nights, you would be burning up. It has poor air quality because there is no chance for fresh air circulation.
They do not follow fire codes, which is an added risk. There are also many cases where people have robbed storage facilities and even set them on fire. If someone goes there to rob the place, they aren’t going to be expecting to see anyone when they open the door. This could get you hurt or even killed.
You will get caught: Almost all storage facilities have some form of surveillance. Some have security guards, while others have security cameras. Either way, if you do it for long enough, you will eventually get caught, no matter how good you are. It would be unfortunate to get caught and then have to pay a large fine that will put you even further behind and maybe even behind bars.
No bathroom: To get to the bathroom, you would have to leave your storage room, and likely walk a long way to the on-site bathroom (if there is one). If not, you may have to walk off-site and go to a gas station, which will increase your chances of getting caught. Let’s face it, having a bathroom nearby is a very important thing when it comes to your living quarters.
What to Do If You Find Yourself in This Dilemma
Even if you feel your only option is moving into your storage unit, there are other things you can do. Most cities have homeless shelters. Here are some awesome resources that could help you.
- National Coalition for the Homeless is a great resource for finding reputable shelters in your area. It gives you the contact information for each shelter.
- Homeless Shelter Directory is another useful resource. You click on the state you live in and it will show you a list of shelters in your state.
- ShelterListings.org is a resource for halfway houses, low-income housing, homeless shelters, transitional houses, and more.
If a homeless shelter isn’t an option, you could reach out to family and friends for help. It’s often hard to swallow your pride and ask for help, but it’s better than ending up in jail because you decided to live in your storage unit.
Living in your storage unit can seem tempting on the surface, but in reality, it is unsafe, unsanitary, and illegal. Take proper precautions when you find yourself in this situation, as it could have many negative outcomes.