As many people around New York face rent and housing crises due to rising costs, creative solutions may arise. Storage units offer secure, dry, well-lit spaces, sometimes climate-controlled and with electricity. And people have turned shipping containers into livable, sometimes luxurious dwellings, right? But, is it legal to live in a storage unit temporarily or long-term?

Photo by JOSHUA COLEMAN on Unsplash
Photo by JOSHUA COLEMAN on Unsplash

According to the National Low-Income Housing Coalition,

Across New York, there is a shortage of rental homes affordable and available to extremely low income households (ELI), whose incomes are at or below the poverty guideline or 30% of their area median income (AMI). Many of these households are severely cost burdened, spending more than half of their income on housing. Severely cost burdened poor households are more likely than other renters to sacrifice other necessities like healthy food and healthcare to pay the rent, and to experience unstable housing situations like evictions.

While Governor Kathy Hochul has been dedicating money to rebuilding and revitalizing affordable housing developments around the state, there is still a major issue. And it doesn't help that the cost of everything else is rising also.

Is It Illegal To Rent A Storage Unit To Live In New York?

Photo by Adam Winger on Unsplash
Photo by Adam Winger on Unsplash

The answer is no, not legally at least. While people still live in storage units, mostly out of desperation and a lack of affordable housing, it is actually illegal. Attorney David Clark, a trial lawyer and partner at The Clark Law Office, told Apartment Therapy,

It’s highly illegal and unsafe to live in a storage unit. It is prohibited by both local- and federal-level housing laws. Aside from this, storage facilities make their tenants sign a contract, which includes a clause that states the tenant’s inability to live in the unit, which follows a city ordinance.


Man Lives In Storage Unit With Fridge, Oven, Bar, Running Water, And More

This man literally has everything a tiny home has, outside of a bathroom, in his storage unit. It's insane how much stuff he has built into the unit, including a bar, surround sound, a sink, a TV with wifi and so much more. Check out the video below.

Credit: 007craft via Youtube

The bottom line is that it is illegal to live in a storage unit. Most storage unit companies also say it is unsafe. If you choose to do it anyway, understand that you are breaking housing laws and potentially putting yourself in danger.

***This article is not intended to provide legal advice or counsel.

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