Is Living in a Storage Unit Legal?

Many of the people these days are researching about is it illegal to live in a storage unit in California. And they are finding out that living in a storage unit is not against the law. In Los Angeles County alone, more than 20 residents are moving into storage units to save money on housing costs. At first glance, the idea sounds illegal and dangerous (not to mention uncomfortable), however it turns out there’s nothing wrong with it.

It is true that living in a storage unit is legal, especially if you rent the space from an owner or manager and access through regularly used doors. “There isn’t any law against it,” said Los Angeles Police Department Officer Gregory Baek. The main thing police officers look for is whether or not the unit has a regular entrance and exit.

Benefits of Living in a Storage Unit

Irrespective of other facts, there are some benefits of living in a storage unit. While it is true that the storage units are very, very small with only enough room to stand up straight, some residents are able to make them look like cozy little homes. With tricks such as building walls out of cement blocks or installing a Murphy bed, some are able to fit a living room and kitchen inside their units, while others simply put up shelves.

Some Other Points to Consider for Living in a Storage Unit

If you are one of those people who are finding about is it illegal to live in a storage unit in California, there are some other important things to consider. Although it might be legal, the storage unit is not always the best place for humans to live in. According to Baek, “There’s no electricity or running water.”

It may be legal, but there are some major cons to living in a storage unit: It’s dangerous. There aren’t any special systems installed in the units to keep residents safe from intruders such as smoke alarms or fire extinguishers. People do die while living in these types of homes — and it’s usually because they run out of food during power outages.

A Storage Unit is Not a Permanent Home

According to Baek, if someone decides to live in the storage unit for an extended period of time, they will be cited and fined. By law, people are only allowed to live in storage units overnight — no longer than 72 hours at a time. After three days, police officers have the right to kick you out.

If a Storage Unit is the Only Option

While it may seem like living in a storage unit is illegal — and unsafe for that matter — there are few other options for those who can’t afford housing or live in extreme poverty situations. If you truly need to take shelter in a storage unit to protect yourself and your family, the Los Angeles Police Department is here to help.

A Storage Unit is Unsanitary

It is mandatory to have a regular access to a bathroom and water in order to keep our bodies clean and healthy from all respects. But living in a storage unit means you cannot avail 24/7 access to sanitation or running water. This automatically leads people living there into dirty conditions that will make them more prone than the average person in society for illness such as diarrhea because of bacteria from fecal matter being spread through contact with surfaces where feces may be present.

Storage Unit Locks are Risky

Storage unit doors aren’t designed to be opened from the inside. It’s always a good idea to keep them slightly open so you can get in and out, but staff at storage facilities may close your door or cut off access if they see it unlocked or improperly closed.

Applying for Help

While living in a storage unit may be legal, it is not necessarily safe. If you are concerned about your safety, or feel that your rights have been violated while living in a storage unit, contact the Los Angeles Police Department at (310) 482-6313 or go to the nearest police station near you.

FAQs about Storage Units

  1. What is a storage unit?

A storage unit is a self-storage facility or other lockable area used for the temporary storage of goods and personal property. In essence, it’s a place to keep your things while you don’t have room for them at home, after moving or some other situation where you must store your items.

  • How much does it cost to rent a storage unit?

Rent for a storage unit will vary from one facility to another, and also depends on the size of the space you rent. It can cost $50 to more than $100 per month in most of the states. Also, make sure to check out whether or not there are any additional fees like insurance or administrative charges.

  • Are storage unit rents tax deductible?

Some expenses such as bills, medical premiums and housing costs can be deducted from your income taxes. However, the IRS doesn’t allow you to deduct rent for a storage facility since it’s considered self-storage. It’s also important to note that storing furniture and clothes in units during seasonal changes won’t make it tax deductible.

  • What do I need to get a storage unit?

Typically, you’ll be required to provide a driver’s license and credit card or bank account information when you’re renting a space in a self-storage facility. Almost all the facilities require renters to pay for their rent using one of the two methods. You can also take a look at the self -storage facility’s policy.


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