Is It Illegal To Live In a Storage Unit in California?

Yes, it is illegal to live in a storage unit in California, thanks to stringent federal and state regulations.

The following insights shall explain more about why individuals cannot live in a storage facility in California.

Is It Illegal To Live In a Storage Unit in California? (Discussion)


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Living In a Storage Unit

Various state and federal laws prohibit individuals from living in a storage facility, exposing occupants to various civil and potentially criminal charges.

These storage facilities are required by law to evict anyone who violates these laws.

In addition, it shows that they comply with different insurance regulations.

Law-abiding storage units in California require individuals to sign a contract before handing over the keys.

One essential rule stipulated in these contracts is that individuals cannot live in the facility.

Once caught living in a storage unit in California, individuals are likely to be evicted and may face a civil suit for damages.

This may also result in the loss of the property in the storage unit.

Living with children or other vulnerable individuals could result in neglect, child endangerment charges.

This charge could quickly become a criminal case, exposing the individuals to multiple issues with Child Protective Services.

An individual who accesses their storage unit contrary to the agreements set forth in the contract could also face criminal charges of trespass, conversion, or even disorderly conduct.

Why Is It Unsafe to Live In Storage Units?

Living in a storage unit exposes individuals to various dangers. The following insights illustrate how:

Fire Hazard

Storage units are home to multiple flammable products, making them a fire risk.

Suppose a person decides to cook while in the facility.

This creates a risk of fire in the storage unit, and also increases the likelihood that other units (and the property inside) will be damaged.

Storage facilities often have poor ventilation, meaning the hazardous smoke and heat could also result in injury to the cook.

Doors Lock From Outside

Most storage units are designed to be locked from the outside.

The idea is to ensure that the products inside the unit are safe and inaccessible to third parties.

The doors are often garage-style roll-up, meaning seamless access only happens when the individual is outside.

This feature poses a health and safety risk. Getting out of the facility in case of fire hazards or emergencies could be challenging.

In addition, there is a chance that the resident could be locked inside from the other side, making it impossible to get out without help.

Poor Ventilation

Storage units do not have substantial ventilation, posing various health challenges.

While they are not generally air tight, there’s not much going in and out.

For instance, staying for extended periods in a poorly ventilated space could cause dry eyes and throat, fatigue, headaches, dizziness, drowsiness, and poor concentration.

Minimal Access to Water

There is no running water in storage units.

For this reason, individuals have to depend on other resources for water, or bring all the water they need inside with them.

While there are probably bathrooms on the premises somewhere, it is unlikely that a hidden resident of the storage unit would be able to access them without drawing notice.

Using the storage unit for a bathroom could cause permanent damage to the unit if the products of elimination are not appropriately disposed of.

If the products of elimination are not appropriately disposed of, the hidden resident could also open themselves up to liability (like if they just toss a bucket of human excrement out onto the sidewalk).

Extreme Temperatures

Storage units can get hot unless they are climate controlled, often to a point (like a vehicle) that is unsafe for a human to spend time in.

Combine extreme temperatures with the threat of being locked into a unit without the ability to get free and the risk of serious physical harm or death becomes a substantial consideration.

No Electricity

Whlile there might be a light in the storage unit, there is rarely any electrical plugins.

In addition, you cannot wire your connection since it increases the risk of a fire hazard and it would be contrary to the agreement with the facility.

Poor Lighting

Storage units have no windows that can allow in natural light.

The absence of this light could significantly affect psychological well-being, triggering depression, stress, and anxiety among most people.

What Are the Best Alternatives to Living In a Storage Unit?

While the cost and availability of housing is basically a national crisis, secretly living in a storage unit in a facility is not an option.

Various alternatives could come in handy, including the following.

Transitional Shelters

Transitional shelters provide temporary residence to individuals, ranging from six to 24 months.

Since they are temporary and transitional, they provide supportive services to increase the chances of employability.

Emergency Shelters

This option is suitable when facing sudden economic or financial issues.

Individuals can get enough support to obtain appropriate housing to suit their long-term needs.

Permanent Supportive Housing

This option helps provide enough housing support, particularly for long-term needs.

It was formerly designed for individuals who were often susceptible to homelessness.

It is also suitable for people diagnosed with a disability.

Rapid Re-Housing

It is a temporary solution to ensure that families find their houses within a relatively short time.

In addition, individuals get temporary community support to meet their goals within a short time.

Need Help?

If you have been charged with crimes, or you are worried that you will be, conferring with an attorney early on is recommended.

Even if you don’t think you’ll need a lawyer or be able to afford a retained lawyer in your case, early consultation with an experienced California criminal defense lawyer in your state could prevent you from making your case worse and give you guidance about what to do next.

Wrap Up

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Browse our free legal library guides for more information.

Is It Illegal To Live In a Storage Unit in California