Why You Should Never Live in Your Storage Unit
Isabella Blake | July 16, 2020 @ 12:00 AM
Times are tough for many, with unemployment rising, wages stagnating, and the price of rent not getting any lower. In June 2018, CBS ran a story about how minimum wage doesn’t cover the price of rent anywhere in the U.S. anymore.
If you’re struggling to decide between paying rent and eating, it may be tempting to look at your storage unit as a place to sleep. After all, that storage space rents for much less per square foot than any apartment or house.
You may feel desperate, but it doesn’t take a lot of work to see that living in your storage unit is a bad idea. Here are some reasons why.
It’s Uncomfortable and Unsafe
Are you renting a drive-up unit? If so, the temperature in your unit will match the weather outside. In the winter it can be lower than freezing, and in summer, so hot and humid you’re bound to dehydrate. Even if you have an indoor unit with climate control, the temperature will be between about 50 and 80 degrees, uncomfortable in either direction for a person.
Then, there’s the possibility of getting locked in. Storage units lock from the outside because people aren’t meant to stay inside them. You may leave your door unlocked while inside, but it’s the responsibility of staff to protect your belongings. If they come by in the evening and find your unit unlocked, chances are they won’t knock to see if someone’s inside, but will instead put a lock on your unit. Hopefully, your phone will be working and you’ll be able to call them to let you out.
You’ll End Up Spending Money Eating Out
Eating out can cost more per month than rent, especially if you have to do it several times a day. And cooking in your unit is right out as a solution. That’s unsafe and can easily cause a fire that can hurt or kill you and end up burning down a facility. You may decide to have goods you don’t need to cook, like bread and peanut butter, those will likely attract pests into your unit, and you’ll end up sleeping around roaches and worse.
You Could Get Caught
Actually, you almost certainly will get caught. Security is critical in self storage facilities. They have automatic lighting, video surveillance, gated access, on-site management, and alarms. Often those alarms are on individual units. Some facilities keep close tabs on gate codes. If one has been used to enter and not to exit, that’s a red flag that a tenant may still be on the premises.
First, you’ll get in trouble for violating the terms of your lease. At best, you’ll get a couple of warnings before getting evicted. Keep it up, and you will certainly be evicted and lose the privilege of being able to rent a unit there.
You’ll Have Trouble Getting on Your Feet
Staying in a storage unit, you’ll have no permanent address at which to receive mail or to use when applying for a job or getting a bank account. Many services don’t allow you to use a P.O. box for this.
You’ll also need to find a place to bathe and to freshen up, otherwise, you’ll make yourself unpresentable to society. Sadly, there are many reasons why when people become homeless, they have trouble getting out of it. Mental health is one issue, but the difficulties of homelessness itself are another.
You Could Die
We hinted at this before but saved it for last. Yes, this is the direst situation, but it can absolutely happen. We mentioned the possibility of fire or getting locked into your unit. With the heat and no running water, you could die of dehydration. Granted, this is the most extreme possibility, but one well-worth avoiding.
Get Help Instead
If you find yourself possibly losing your housing because you can’t afford your rent, get help immediately. First, call 211. This line will connect you with a local service that can provide you with helpful resources to protect you from full homelessness.
Then, contact the places they recommend, ask what they can do, and sign up for any helpful services. Also, ask them if they have a list of other helpful agencies. You’re sure to find shelters, transitional housing, job training, job search services, food banks, and more. In other words, they can help you earn more money, provide you with supplemental food, and ensure you have a place to stay, and an address.
Use your resources. You can make it if you get the right sort of help.