Can You Sleep in a Storage Unit? (We Checked the laws)

Can You Sleep in a Storage Unit

Maybe you’re in the process of moving, and all of your things are in a storage unit.  If your bed is already there, it’s pretty tempting to just sleep there for a couple of nights until your new place is ready.  But can you sleep in a storage unit?

It is illegal to sleep in a storage unit throughout the United States.  Most storage facilities have contracts and rules prohibiting persons from sleeping there and will call the police if they find someone sleeping or living within their storage areas. 

In this article, we’re discussing why trying to sleep in a storage unit is a bad idea and what you can do instead.  We’ll also talk about why you can’t live and work out of a storage unit and why it’s illegal. So don’t sleep on this one!

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Here’s a Quick Pro Tip!

Sleeping in a storage unit isn’t just frowned upon; it’s illegal.  Instead of choosing to sleep in your storage unit, we recommend staying in a hotel for a couple of nights if necessary.  

Here are a few things you’ll want to make your next hotel stay the best and most comfortable it can be:

1. White Noise Machine – Hotels are always noisy; make sure you can sleep!

2. Toiletry Kit – Make sure you have everything you need to stay fresh and clean.

3. Weighted Blanket – Does anyone actually like hotel blankets?  Bring your own instead!

Sleeping in a storage unit

If you can’t sleep at home for a couple of days, it can be tempting to try and save money by sleeping in your storage unit.  After all, you pay for it, right? But unfortunately, sleeping in a storage unit isn’t safe or legal.  Let’s discuss why.

Is It Okay to Sleep in a Storage Unit?

It is never okay to sleep in a storage unit.  Most units have signed agreements prohibiting residency.  In addition, storage units are missing bathrooms, running water, and heat and air conditioning, making the units inhabitable.

Storage unit owners and operators will kick you out immediately upon finding you sleeping or residing in the storage areas. In addition, their insurance prohibits their renters from sleeping there, and they will face large fines if they break the rules.

Can I Get Away With Sleeping in a Storage Unit?

You will not get away with sleeping in a storage unit for more than a day or two. Most units have guards and security cameras to prevent squatting.  In addition, these units aren’t designed for sleeping in.

While certain storage units offer temperature control, most do not, rendering the area inhabitable.  Additionally, most units do not have ventilation or airflow, making it dangerous to try and sleep there.

Can I Sleep in My Self-Storage Unit?

Self-storage units are designed to be a safe place to store household items you don’t currently have any use for.  They are not designed to facilitate someone sleeping. In addition, they are typically not climate controlled and do not have proper ventilation.

Therefore, it is not advised for anyone to try and sleep in a self-storage unit.  Most likely, you also signed an agreement that you would not sleep or live in the storage unit.  Most companies require you to sign this contract as part of their insurance. 

What Happens if You Sleep in a Storage Unit?

You’ll be kicked out immediately if you are found sleeping in a storage unit.  You may also be forced to remove all your belongings from the unit, or the self-storage facility owners may be forced to call the authorities. 

There are plenty of laws surrounding what is allowed in storage units, including that storage units are for people’s things, not as a rental property for people to sleep and live in.

Do People Really Sleep in Storage Units?

Unfortunately, people with few other options may resort to sleeping in their storage unit for a few nights to save money. However, this practice is illegal, not to mention dangerous.  Storage units are not considered fit for sleeping.

If found sleeping in your storage unit, the faculty will immediately remove you from the premises.  The owners may also tell you that you have to remove your things from the unit, or you may have charged pressed against you.

Why Can’t I Sleep in My Storage Unit?

Sleeping in storage units is dangerous and uncomfortable.  Most companies lock up their storage units overnight, so you cannot leave if an emergency occurs.  In addition, most lack plumbing and electricity.

Storage facilities often have renters sign contracts stating they will not reside in their storage units.  These facilities require this contract to be able to keep their insurance rates low, and if you violate your contract, they will terminate your agreement immediately.  You may also face criminal charges for trespassing or squatting.

Living in a storage unit

Since you pay rent for your stuff to live at the storage unit, it makes sense that you could stay there, too, in theory. But unfortunately, storage companies cannot allow civilians to live in their storage units. Let’s talk about why.

Is It Illegal to Live in a Storage Unit?

Storage units are designed to store your personal possessions, and it is illegal to take up residence in one. These facilities often lack electricity, plumbing, and more, making them uninhabitable.

In addition, most states, for example, Illinois, have a statute that states using a storage unit as a permanent address or for residential purposes is unlawful.  This is done to protect the owners and potential residents, as storage units require the necessary amenities to be habitable.

Why Can’t People Live in Storage Units?

People can’t live in storage units because they are not built to be inhabited. As a result, most facilities lack plumbing, including clean water. Additionally, they may not have proper ventilation or electricity.

Most self-storage facilities have posted hours when you can access the facility.  After these hours, the facility is locked down until the following open hours.  This means you’ll be locked into your storage unit at least overnight, which can be incredibly dangerous in case of emergency. 

Can You Technically Live in a Storage Unit?

There are no circumstances where you can legally live in your storage unit.  They are not considered habitable structures by law due to their consistent lack of plumbing and electricity. 

While it may be tempting to store a mattress and other living accessories in your storage space, then sleep there when necessary, it can be very dangerous.  Additionally, it’ll be uncomfortable, as most facilities lack running water and electricity. 

Has Anyone Ever Lived in a Storage Unit?

When people run out of options, they may choose to attempt to live out of a storage unit.  While this is illegal and ill-advised, it does happen when people have nowhere else to go.  If they are caught, they are evicted. 

Attempting to live in a storage unit will result in the renters being removed from the premises if caught.  They may also receive notice of termination of their contract and will have 30 days to remove their belongings from the unit. 

Can You Live in a Storage Unit?

It is not legal to live in a storage unit.  In most instances, storage facilities lack access to running water, electricity, and proper ventilation. Therefore, it is not considered a habitable facility.

If you are looking for a place to stay for a couple of nights, maybe while your home is being renovated, you are much better off staying in a hotel.  While it may cost a little more, it is much safer. 

Why Can’t You Live in a Storage Unit?

You cannot live in a storage unit because they are not coded for residency. In addition, most places do not have electricity or running water in the unit.  As such, they cannot support people living in them.

Additionally, most facilities lock up at night. This means you’ll be locked in the unit with no running water, electricity, or escape route in case of emergency. Obviously, this is incredibly dangerous and illegal.

Laws and Other Concerns

Now that we’ve discussed sleeping and living in a storage unit and why it’s a bad idea, let’s talk about other potential questions you might have.

Can I Work Out of a Storage Unit?

It’s not recommended you try and work from a storage unit.  Most are not equipped for long-term stays.  They don’t have electricity, wifi, or running water.  In addition, it’s illegal to live in a storage unit, and it cannot be your principal address.

Attempting to start a business in your storage unit will be difficult to accomplish.  To start with, you can’t list the business’s address as the storage facility.  Additionally, most storage facilities do not have outlets in the individual units, so most work will be impossible to accomplish in those conditions.

What Happens if You Get Locked in a Storage Unit?

If you are accidentally locked in a storage unit after hours and have your cell phone, start by calling the office of the storage unit.  They will typically have a security guard on-site who can come let you out.  If they don’t answer, call the police.

If you do not have your cell phone and are unable to reach anyone, you can attempt to break the lock yourself.  You may want to have a hammer or lock-picking tools accessible in case of emergency.  

Can You Suffocate in a Storage Unit?

Some storage units lock air-tight, meaning if you are locked in there for an extended period of time, you are in danger of suffocation.  However, this is pretty unlikely.  Many storage units now offer climate control options, which means they have to have some ventilation.

However, even if they have ventilation, it doesn’t mean they are safe.  Even temperature-controlled units can have high or low-temperature thresholds, and those temperatures may be unsafe for humans.

How Long Can I Stay In My Storage Unit?

Most storage units have strict hours of operation, typically sun-up to sundown or from 6 AM to 10 PM, so something similar.  As long as you follow their posted rules, you are allowed there for their open hours. 

Under no circumstances are individuals allowed to remain in their storage unit after hours.  Storage units are not designed to be inhabitable and often lack electricity and running water. 

Are There Any Storage Unit Renters’ Rights?

Each state has statutes covering storage unit renters’ rights, but generally, renters have rights concerning how their property is cared for while in the storage unit.  In addition, they have rights concerning liens on their stored items.

You should check your state statutes for a full list.  For example, Pennsylvania has Act 325, an 18-section Act that outlines all legalities surrounding regulations of self-service storage and owners’ liens. 

You might also enjoy our post on Can You Have Packages Delivered to a Hotel?

Related Questions

What Shouldn’t I Put in a Storage Unit?

There are a number of things that you should not store in your storage unit, even if the unit has locks.  First, don’t store documents like marriage certificates, birth certificates, or social security cards. 

Here are some other things that you should never store in a self-storage unit:

  • Chemicals, especially hazardous materials
  • Radioactive material
  • Currency
  • Food and other perishable items
  • Electronics
  • Firearms and ammunition
  • Living or once-living things (pets, plants, etc.)
  • Illegal or stolen goods

Why Are Storage Units So Popular?

Storage units are a great place to be able to store things that you want to have but don’t currently have room for.  For example, some people choose to make their storage units into workout areas.  It’s cheaper than a gym and provides privacy.

Another reason people enjoy having a storage unit is they can store bigger items, such as a fancy car or an ATV, they can’t use during the off-season.  This also offers them space to work on these vehicles, but use caution; chemicals aren’t typically allowed on-site.

What Are the Signs Someone May Be Living in a Storage Unit?

If you own a storage unit and are concerned that someone may be living in a unit, there are a few tell-tale signs.  The most obvious is you see the tenant arriving in the morning but not leaving at night.

You may also notice a rise in food wrappers in your trash and more toiletries being used if your facility has bathrooms open to the public.  You may also notice a specific tenant asking about electricity and other amenities.

Final Thoughts

While sleeping in your storage unit for a couple of days may seem like a convenient way to get out of paying for a hotel, it’s not worth the risk.  Not only is it illegal, but it can also be dangerous if you’re locked in an unventilated room overnight. We hope this article helps persuade you that better sleeping options are available.

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