It’s a thought that crosses the minds of many people who visit a self storage facility – “I wonder if you could live in one of these things”. While most people laugh the idea off after imagining the massive inconvenience, some people have turned it into a reality.

All across the world there have been instances where storage facility staff have been tipped off or stumbled across people living in their storage unit. For example, a man in the US managed to live in a storage unit for two months before being evicted, documenting his intricate setup on his YouTube channel. 

While it may make for interesting viewing, it’s definitely not something we’d recommend at Flexible Storage Solutions. Not only is living in a storage unit illegal, it clearly compromises the security of the storage facility, as well as presents serious health and safety risks.

Can you sleep in a storage unit?

Of course, you CAN sleep in a storage unit but it doesn’t mean you should start living in one.

Many people spend a lot of time in their storage units; running businesses, organising their belongings, working on their artwork, and countless other reasons. While we’re not saying you can’t have a well-earned rest after a hard day’s work, we (and the law) draw the line at actually living in your unit, i.e. staying in your unit overnight is not allowed.

Some people may argue that because they’re renting the unit, surely they can do what they please with the space? Unfortunately, that’s not how storage facilities or the law works. Your rental contract will specify what you can and cannot use your storage unit for, including what items are forbidden, plus that most important of caveats – NO SLEEPING OR LIVING IN YOUR STORAGE UNIT.

The bottom line is that the storage facility is liable for any injuries or damage that may occur on its premises. A person living in a storage unit therefore puts the storage company at risk of legal action, not to mention the person at risk of injury or worse.      

So, let’s take a closer look at the legal side of it…

Is living in a storage unit legal in the UK?

The simple answer is no – it is illegal to live in a storage unit in the UK. The Fitness for Human Habitation Act 2018 is just the latest in a long line of UK laws that specify the legal requirements a building must have in order for it to be inhabitable by humans.

These requirements relate to many aspects of a building, such as its structure and integrity, pests and vermin, and damp and mould growth. When it comes to living in a storage unit, the most relevant aspects of these laws pertain to:

  •     Natural light availability
  •     Ventilation
  •     Hot and cold water supply
  •     Drainage and sanitary facilities

While some storage units may have ventilation systems, the vast majority of units will not meet any of the other legal requirements in order to qualify for human habitation. 

In most cases, a storage unit will be a single room or container and will most probably have an adequate electrical supply. No windows, no water supply, no toilets, no heating. In other words, not fit for a person to live in.

How storage facilities can prevent people living in their storage units

While we understand that some people may think about moving into a storage facility out of desperation, as we’ve explained above, it really isn’t a safe or suitable place for a person to live.

There are several things that a storage facility can do to both deter people from living in a unit as well as offering help at the same time:

  •     Make it clear in your rental contract – it should be crystal clear in your agreement that living in storage facilities is strictly forbidden. Emphasise the consequences if this stipulation is not adhered to and get the renter to initial the caveat so that they are fully aware of the expectation.
  •     Use CCTV to keep a watchful eye on your facility – camera surveillance should be used to monitor the entirety of your facility 24/7. Only having cameras monitoring the perimeter of your premises will leave you blind to what’s going on inside.
  •     Conduct regular premises checks – having staff perform regular checks on all storage areas may help pick up on smaller things that a security camera can’t, such as suspicious wiring running out of a unit. Training should be provided so all staff know what to look out for.
  •     Keep leaflets for local shelters/homeless charities in the office – helpful literature such as this may be able to point someone considering moving into their storage in the right direction. Just because it’s illegal doesn’t mean businesses should be insensitive to the unfortunate circumstances of some of its customers.

So, there you have it – now you know the reasons why you can’t live in a storage unit and the precautions that storage facilities can take to prevent it.

At Flexible Storage, we take the safety and security of our facility – and all belongings and people within it – incredibly seriously. With secure water and fireproof steel storage units, 24/7 CCTV surveillance and highly trained staff, you can rest assured that your storage items are in the safest possible hands.

Get in touch with the Flexible Storage team today to learn more about our professional storage facility, or even discuss what tailored storage services will work best for you. 

September 19, 2019

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