If you have ever been down on your luck and thought, “Maybe I can live in my storage unit until I get back on my feet,” you need to think again. As tempting as it can be to take this step if you have nowhere to go, it is against our regulations and very unsafe. You are not permitted at any time to live or work out of a storage unit.
Although it’s against our regulations, some people have tried to get away with it. This is not a good decision for many reasons and will cause you more trouble than it is worth to even try it.
Storage units are not designed for habitation. There is no ventilation, no heating or air conditioning, no plumbing and typically no electricity. In addition to that, safety features like fire sprinklers and smoke detectors are not present. A storage unit is basically a metal box, meant only for objects and nothing living. If you take a moment and think about a hot summer day when it is over 90 degrees outside, then think about how hot it will get inside a metal storage unit. You know when you open your car door on a hot day and all that heat pours out? You hear stories all the time of kids and pets that get hurt or sadly die from the excessive heat inside a car in just a couple hours – a storage unit is not much different. Then think of the opposite in the dead of winter when it barely gets out of the teens during the day. That storage unit is turned into an ice box and could easily cause you harm.
For example, a woman in Seattle started living in a storage unit after she was evicted from her home. She eventually got trapped in the unit when she was unable to unlock the door and was ultimately treated for hypothermia. Not smart, and not safe! She could have been killed for her poor choice, but luckily she wasn’t.
If you hear these warnings and decide to attempt to live in your storage unit anyway, you are in for some trouble. When a property manager finds out, you could be given a verbal warning, kicked out on the spot and your rental agreement terminated, or the police could be called and you could be arrested and prosecuted, with fines to follow. If you are on tough times already with no home, the last thing you want is to be arrested and have fines to pay or court and attorney fees.
If you literally have nowhere to go, please reach out to your local shelter, mission or even church. They open their doors to people who are down on their luck and provide them a place to sleep and food to eat. They are also usually set up with transitional programs to help you get back on your feet and find permanent housing. Places like these understand your situation and struggles and have the means to help and keep you safe.
At 140 Mini Storage, we partner with The Shepherd’s Staff in Carroll County, MD who provides clothing, food and financial assistance for those in need, and they will likely be able to help you find a local mission or shelter. You can also check with your local police department or community churches in the area, as they are both good resources in tough times.
Although you may feel desperate to put a roof over your head, doing so in your storage unit is not the way to go. State laws prohibit using a storage unit as a place of residence, your rental agreement that you signed upon move in prohibits it, and it is just not safe. This is an insurance risk that a storage operator is not willing to take, no matter how brief the time.