is it illegal to sleep in a storage unit
Kristina Davis

Is it illegal to sleep in a storage unit? Perhaps you find yourself in some unfortunate situation or natural disaster with no place to go. In that case, are you allowed to sleep in a storage unit?

When a natural disaster hits, it may mean going to stay with a friend or relative. For others, it may mean squatting at a storage facility.

A storage container may seem like a good idea at the time, but the truth is that it is not practical or secure in the long run.

So, no, you are not allowed to sleep in a storage unit because various federal and local housing laws prohibit it.  

Can You Live in a Storage Unit or Not?

live in storage unit

Many states and the federal government have passed legislation making it illegal to use a storage facility as your primary residence.

In order to follow the rules and the terms of most insurance policies, storage facilities must remove any occupants they discover living on the property.

This limitation is in place for a reason. In 2019, a storage facility fire resulted in the death of a guy who was inside a unit.

In another case, police were called to remove several people from a storage facility because of safety concerns.

The authorities have reiterated that it is against the law to occupy a location not designated as suitable for human habitation

What is the Real Purpose of Storage Units?

purpose of storage unit

Self-storage, often known as the storage unit, is a convenient and affordable way to store your belongings for a limited period of time.

People who are moving and need a place to put their excess belongings might benefit greatly from the availability of storage facilities.

Once you have finished packing, you can carefully move it to your new home’s location.

In addition, storage facilities offer a range of unit sizes to accommodate a variety of storage requirements.

Interestingly, you can find a storage unit as small as a walk-in closet or as large as a master bedroom.

Fact: Self-storage is not a new concept, as the idea dates back to 6,000 years when ancient Chinese used to store their belongings in storage units. 

Why Do People May Sleep in a Storage Unit?

sleep in storage unit

You should never try to do something just after watching a YouTube video where someone “incorrectly” glamorizes living in a storage unit.

Such videos misrepresent reality and give the impression that residing in a storage unit is a sign of sophistication and originality. We guarantee it to be neither.

Most individuals do not want to live in storage units even if they are cheaper than renting an apartment.

Those who try to make storage lockers their permanent homes are usually very poor or homeless.

It is not typical for people to choose to live on-site, but it does occur when there are no other viable alternatives.

But not all storage companies would allow that, which is another important factor to consider.  

Why Should You Not Think of Living in a Storage Unit?

living in storage unit

While access is available, you are welcome to stay, which is usually Monday through Saturday (excluding Sundays and federal holidays).

The time can also vary between storage facility locations.

Still, there are fundamental reasons why people cannot remain in their storage units for longer periods of time. A few of the explanations are as follows:

Fact: Towards the end of 2014, the United States had over 48,000 self-storage, which outnumbered McDonald's locations. 

Storage Units Are Not Suitable For Living

To begin, there is no power in most of the storage area. Imagine the heat and the suffocation if you had to stay inside that.

Second, this location lacks basic amenities like running water and a kitchen. 

not suitable

Storage Units Are Only For Storing Purposes

Self-storage facilities are not designed for living in and should only be used for storage purposes. Do not even think of trying to sleep in that storage locker.

You need to vacate the storage unit before 10 p.m., as the door will be locked once access hours have ended.

It would be much more humiliating if the supervisor saw you waiting in a corner for someone to open the door for you. 

Storage Units Have Policies

The majority of storage facility management teams have a no-living-in-the-unit policy in place to discourage customers from doing just that.

If you do not follow the rules, the management will take immediate action, which may include asking you to leave.

And you may even lose your storage unit contract as well. 

Storage Units are Prone to Accidents

It is unsafe to sleep or stay in a storage unit for extended periods because of the significant risk of collapse.

many items and prone to accidents

It is also not a good idea because of the high density of items stored there, the presence of flammable objects, and the presence of dangerous materials.

Fact: When it comes to renting out self-storage spaces, Americans are the world's biggest spenders, with costs accounting for $38 billion in 2015 spending. 

Why Is It Considered Dangerous to Sleep in a Storage Unit?

No one wants to sleep in a storage unit, but if you are in a tough situation and are contemplating living there, don’t.

Safety issues are one of many reasons why living in a storage facility is against the law.

dangerous sleeping inside

Here is what to bear in mind. 

You Will Be Locked Inside

Doors to storage units typically roll up and lock from the outside, like a garage.

It is common practice for storage facility managers to conduct many rounds of door checks during the course of their shifts.

This is done to ensure the security of renters’ goods, but it also increases the risk of being locked inside if you happen to be a tenant.

This may leave you feeling a little cramped all night at best. This situation has the potential to be fatal. 

You Will Be Without Natural Air And Light

The presence of natural light has been linked to improved mental health.

Those living in a storage unit may experience depression, fatigue, and claustrophobia due to their living situation.

The lack of ventilation and lighting can cause all sorts of problems, which is why living in a storage unit is never a good idea. 

no access to natural air or light

You Won’t Have Running Water

Remember, it is against the law to occupy a storage unit as a permanent residence.

So, you will need to spend most of your time either outside the container or sitting silently and stealthily within it.

There will not be a lot of flexibility when it comes to taking a shower or using the restroom.

Lack of access to clean, flowing water can lead to poor personal hygiene and health problems. 

You Cannot Cook Inside

If you do decide to live in a storage unit, know that you will not be able to cook your food.

flammable items and risk of fire

A fire could start in a storage unit because of many different things. People attempting to cook on burners or grills without adequate ventilation is a common risk.

Unfortunately, individuals who live in storage units are often at fault when fires start. 

You May Face Criminal Charges

Most likely, you will be instantly evicted if you are found to be occupying a storage unit as your primary residence.

What this means is that you and all your belongings will be thrown out the door.

If you keep your family in a storage unit, you risk criminal penalties because such spaces are not designed for human habitation. 

may face criminal charges


Never, ever make a storage locker your permanent residence. 

The severity of this issue varies considerably from one location to the next, making it difficult to provide an accurate estimate.

But, it is better to avoid considering it as an option when you have no other place to live.

Fact: It is now possible to find climate-controlled storage units mainly for documents, books, and musical instruments. 


Is it illegal to sleep in a storage unit? Can you sleep in a storage unit when you have no place to go?

Well, the answer to these questions is a resounding “no.”

There are different types of homeless persons, and some of them may try to make storage containers in their home.

But it comes with serious health consequences, which is why you should avoid taking that risk.

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