For one reason or another, sometimes an individual will consider living in a storage unit for a period of time. Many of us would assume that is a little dangerous, but did you know it’s illegal, too? Here are some reasons why it is illegal and unsafe to reside in a storage unit.
1. The Law Prohibits It
First of all, the law prohibits people from living in storage units. This includes both local and federal level laws that mandate storage facilities evict anyone trying to live in their units. Any law-abiding storage facility makes its tenants sign a contract that includes the inability to live in their units. Most facilities now also have surveillance cameras so people can get caught quickly, which can lead to criminal charges or civil penalties. Of course, living in a storage unit for $100-$200 a month can save people rent money, but the civil fines they may face if they get caught could be much more than that.
2. Natural Hazards
Many storage units present various hazards, including natural hazards like fires, floods, and tornadoes. If a unit catches on fire or is hit by flash flooding or a tornado, someone inside a unit may not be able to escape in time. Storage units also lack windows in the majority of cases, so this leads to a lack of natural ventilation. There have even been reports of people cooking within storage units, which can cause a fire because of the lack of open air and minimal ventilation.
3. Building Codes
Building codes for regular homes vary greatly from those of storage units. Homes are required to have protections such as smoke and fire protections as well as different points of entry and exit that may be needed in an emergency. Homes (and commercial buildings) are built with many additional safeguards and have to follow more rules for obvious reasons. Storage units are not made to be lived in, so building codes aren’t as strict.
4. Lack of Water
Running water is a necessity for our well-being, but storage units do not have them. Without water, we cannot carry out basic hygiene routines, so health issues may come up if we don’t have it. Without baths or showers, we can contract illnesses that can have dire long-term effects. Additionally, people living in storage units have to stash their waste in them, which can also make them sick as well as cause damage to the units themselves.
5. Lack of Heat and Air Conditioning
Another major red flag that arises when someone is living in a storage unit is the lack of heating and cooling in them. Of course, many climate-controlled storage units are available, but these are normally in higher-end units where there is also more security. Note, also, that these are still kept around 55 degrees in the winter because it is warm enough to preserve items yet also cut down on the facilities’ electric bills. The temperature in units without climate-control technology can easily drop below freezing or reach temperatures in the 100s, which can be extremely dangerous.
6. Potentially Getting Locked In
Storage units understandably lock from the outside, so getting locked in could pose a major problem. Higher-end storage facilities typically send staff on walkthroughs throughout the facility – including both indoor units and outdoor ones – but other facilities don’t implement set walkthrough procedures. Individuals who get locked into storage units literally have no way out, as their only point of entry cannot be opened from the inside.
7. Lack of Light
The majority of storage units have little to no light, which can be detrimental to humans. Many, if not most, storage units either have a single light bulb and some do not have any electricity at all. If you’ve ever slept in a room with “blackout” curtains and woken up later than usual, it may have been a surprise to see what time it was. The same normally applies every day to people living in storage units because their body’s internal clock gets off track and leads to other issues like depression and mental fogginess.
Ultimately, it is both against the law and unsafe to reside in a storage unit and it is highly advised against.