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The No-Nonsense Guide: Why You Cannot Live In a Storage Unit

Time to read: 6 minutes

Contents
  1. Can you live in a storage unit?
  2. Is it safe to sleep in a storage unit?
  3. Why can’t you live in a storage unit?
  4. Lack of Sanitation and Electricity
  5. Increased Risk of Accidents and Fires
  6. Locked in
  7. Psychological and Emotional Toll
  8. Lease Liability
  9. Issues relating to Proof of Address
  10. Is it legal to live in a storage unit?
  11. Could you get caught living in a storage unit?
  12. Resources and Support for Those Facing Homelessness
  13. Use Self Storage for its Intended Purpose with Ready Steady Store

In today’s climate of skyrocketing rents and economic uncertainty, repurposing a storage unit as a makeshift living space may seem like an ingenious solution for those facing housing insecurity. But people still ask: Can you live in a storage unit? The straight answer is No! Living in a storage unit is against the law and can harm your health and safety.

As the cost of living continues to soar, an increasing number of individuals are finding themselves on the brink of homelessness. Some might think about living in a storage unit because there aren’t many affordable places to live. Yet, this can have severe consequences, both in the short and long term.

In this blog, we’ll discuss the following:

  • Why is it illegal to live in a storage unit
  • Examine the health and safety hazards of living in a storage unit.

Our goal is to help people understand the serious issues with living in a storage unit, guide them towards safer and legal housing options, and protect the integrity of the self storage industry.

Can you live in a storage unit?

Living in a storage unit clearly violates various housing laws, as storage facilities are not designed or zoned for residential use. As a self storage provider, we must legally evict anyone living on the premises to comply with the law.

As The Bank of England holds the base rate at 5.25% for the sixth time in a row, with the average mortgage rates still unaffordable for many at 5.41%, according to the latest stats from Rightmove, people are now desperate and looking at radical alternatives when it comes to housing.

These strict housing regulations are based on the fundamental safety and health concerns associated with using storage units as living spaces. Storage units, no matter how big or spacious, are not designed to accommodate the basic necessities for human occupancy.

Is it safe to sleep in a storage unit?

Living in a storage unit, regardless of the size of the unit, exposes people to a wide range of serious risks that can have severe consequences. These risks include exposure to toxic chemicals and poor air quality, the lack of necessities and the constant threat of accidents or fires. Awareness of these hazards and their potential life-threatening impact is essential.

Why can’t you live in a storage unit?

Affordable housing and income inequality are two major factors contributing to homelessness, as the cost of living continues to outpace the earning potential of many individuals and families. As a result, some people facing housing insecurity may resort to living in storage units as a last-ditch effort. But, there are more viable solutions than this, as it is illegal and poses significant risks and long-term consequences. Living in a storage unit exposes individuals to toxic chemicals, poor air quality, and lacking basic amenities. Additionally, there is a constant risk of accidents and fires, making this practice extremely dangerous.

Lack of Sanitation and Electricity

Living in a storage unit presents a significant challenge due to the absence of essential amenities like running water, toilets, showers, and electricity. This lack of access to proper sanitation facilities affects personal hygiene and raises the risk of infectious diseases and other health-related issues.

Increased Risk of Accidents and Fires

Living in a storage unit presents a significant challenge due to the absence of essential amenities like running water, toilets, showers, and electricity. This lack of access to proper sanitation facilities affects personal hygiene and raises the risk of infectious diseases and other health-related issues.

Locked in

Being accidentally locked inside a self storage unit is a significant concern and a potential danger. If locked inside, an individual could become trapped with no means of escape, posing a severe risk to their safety and well-being.

They would be at risk of being stranded without access to food, water, or restroom facilities. Additionally, the lack of ventilation and limited space within the unit could lead to a rapid decline in air quality and an increased risk of suffocation or heat-related illness, especially in extreme weather conditions.

Psychological and Emotional Toll

Being locked inside a storage unit can also result in psychological distress and panic, especially if the individual is unable to communicate their situation to others or seek help. The isolation and confinement within a small, enclosed space can worsen feelings of fear, anxiety, and claustrophobia, leading to a dangerous impact on one’s mental and emotional well-being.

Lease Liability

Living in a storage unit would constitute a breach of contract with one’s self storage provider. Self storage facilities explicitly prohibit using units as living spaces in their rental agreements. Tenants would be violating the terms of the lease agreement and could face serious consequences.
Consequences of living in a storage unit may include immediate eviction from the facility. Additionally, as a self storage provider, we can take legal action against the tenant for violating the lease agreement. This could result in fines, legal fees, and potentially being held liable for any damages caused to the property.
It’s important to carefully review and abide by the terms of the lease agreement to avoid any legal issues and ensure a positive rental experience.

Issues relating to Proof of Address

It’s important to note that a storage unit cannot be registered as a legal address. This means tenants cannot use the storage unit address for official purposes such as registering for a bank account, enrolling with a GP, or any other official documentation requiring a legal address.

However, while a storage unit cannot be used as a legal address, it can be utilised to run a business for those looking to run their small business. Although the storage unit can be used for business purposes, it cannot be an official business address.

Is it legal to live in a storage unit?

Living in a storage unit is not legal in the UK. The “Fitness for Human Habitation Act 2018” is relevant legislation that outlines the standards for residential properties, emphasising the requirements for a property to be fit for human habitation. This act does not include storage units as permissible living spaces. It is important to explore alternative housing options that comply with the legal standards for human habitation.

Could you get caught living in a storage unit?

Living in a storage unit is illegal and impossible to conceal from the authorities. Our security operators are trained to identify the telltale signs of unauthorised occupancy and will take measures to enforce the law and protect the safety of their tenants.

In addition to odd frequent sightings of tenants, several vital indicators can tip off storage facility staff to the presence of an unauthorised resident:

  • Increased Utility Usage: A sudden surge in electrical consumption or the depletion of restroom supplies indicates that the unit is being used for more than just storage.
  • Accumulation of Trash: An unusual buildup of household waste in the facility’s dumpsters, such as food wrappers and beverage containers, suggests someone is living on-site.
  • Security Footage: Many storage facilities have surveillance cameras that easily detect attempts to conceal unauthorised occupancy.

Living in a storage unit can have serious consequences. If caught, you could be evicted immediately and face criminal charges, fines, legal fees, and even imprisonment. You could also lose access to your stored belongings, which would be especially devastating if you’re already dealing with housing insecurity.

Resources and Support for Those Facing Homelessness

Living in a storage unit is never recommended or legal. People who find themselves in this situation often face complex and challenging circumstances. Instead of criticising this practice, guiding them to legitimate resources and support systems that provide safe and sustainable housing options is essential.
If you or someone you know is facing homelessness, some organisations and programs can help, including:

  • Local Homeless Shelters: Many communities have emergency shelters providing temporary housing, meals, and essential services.
  • Transitional Housing Programs: These programs offer long-term housing solutions, often with case management and support services, to help individuals recover.
  • Homelessness Prevention Programs: Some organisations and government agencies provide financial assistance, counselling, and other resources to help individuals and families avoid losing their homes.
  • Supportive/ Council Housing: This type of housing combines affordable units with supportive services, such as case management, mental health support, and job training.

Connecting individuals in need with these resources can help them access safe and legal living arrangements while addressing the underlying causes of their housing insecurity. This approach is crucial in breaking the cycle of homelessness and providing a path towards stability and self-sufficiency.

Use Self Storage for its Intended Purpose with Ready Steady Store

Repurposing a storage unit as a makeshift home may seem innovative, but it can devastate an individual’s physical and mental well-being. Getting caught can lead to fines, eviction, and potential criminal charges, worsening an already dire situation.

Individuals facing housing insecurity must seek legitimate resources and support systems for safe, legal, and sustainable living arrangements. Addressing the root causes of homelessness, such as the affordable housing crisis and income inequality, is crucial for preventing extreme and dangerous measures.

If you’re looking to declutter or downsize your current home, we recommend looking into self storage as an option for storing your belongings. Use our store finder to help you find a store closest to you.

Self Storage for Everyone