Can You Live in a Storage Unit?


In this article, we will explore the topic of living in a storage unit and why it is neither legal nor safe. Additionally, we will provide alternative options for affordable housing in New York City.

Section I: It Violates Your Contract

When you sign a contract to rent a storage unit, one of the stipulations is that no one is allowed to live inside the unit. This agreement is in place to ensure the proper use of storage facilities and to comply with local and federal laws, as well as building codes. Violating this contract can have serious consequences, including monetary fines and criminal charges.

Section II: Units Lack Basic Human Necessities

Although storage facilities take pride in maintaining clean and well-organized units, they are not designed for human habitation. For instance, none of the units come equipped with running water or plumbing, making it impossible to maintain personal hygiene. While some storage facilities offer climate-controlled units, the temperature inside can still fluctuate between 55 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit, which may not be comfortable for extended periods. Furthermore, the absence of windows means that natural light is not readily available.

Section III: You Could Get Locked Inside

Unlike houses or apartments, storage units are designed to be locked from the outside only. This poses a significant risk to anyone attempting to live in one. If you were to illegally stay in a storage unit and accidentally get locked inside, you would have no means of escape. Unless you have cell phone reception to call for help or a security staff member doing their rounds happens to hear you, you could be trapped inside for hours or even days without access to food, water, or a bathroom.

Section IV: Alternatives to Living in a Storage Unit

Given the legal and safety issues associated with living in a storage unit, it is crucial to explore alternative options for affordable housing in New York City. Here are some alternatives:

1. Staying with Friends or Family

If possible, reaching out to friends or family members and asking if you can stay with them temporarily can be a viable solution. This would give you time to figure out a more permanent housing plan.

2. Homeless Shelters and Nonprofit Resources

There are various homeless shelters and resources available through organizations such as the YMCA and other local nonprofit groups. These organizations can provide temporary housing options and support for individuals in need.

3. NYC Housing Connect

NYC Housing Connect offers an online portal where you can apply for affordable rental opportunities and housing lotteries in the five boroughs of New York City. This platform can help you find affordable housing options that meet your needs.

4. Camping as a Temporary Option

If you have the means to travel outside of the city, camping in a tent or van can serve as a temporary housing solution. Although not ideal, it could provide a safe and temporary shelter while you search for more permanent options.


Living in a storage unit is both illegal and unsafe due to contractual agreements, lack of basic necessities, and the possibility of getting locked inside. It is essential to explore alternative options for affordable housing, such as staying with friends or family, utilizing homeless shelters and nonprofit resources, applying through NYC Housing Connect, or considering temporary camping outside the city. By seeking out these alternatives, you can find safe and affordable housing solutions in New York City.