This is a common problem for storage facility operators, who are usually extraordinarily vigilant when it comes to catching tenants illegally living in self-storage units. That’s why we were shocked to come across the following video, from YouTube and Reddit user 007craft, detailing how he lived inside of a 10×10 self-storage unit for two months.
“If you are going to live in a storage unit you’re going to need to be as invisbile as you possibly can be,” the man says, “You basically need to be a ghost.”
According to his post, the man just returned from hiking the Pacific Crest trail and had no place to live. Instead of unloading his belongings from a storage unit into a new apartment, the man decided to rent an even bigger unit and just move in. The man spent $100 outfitting the unit, and paid $205 a month in rent, including insurance. (Although we’re not sure why he bothered to get insurance, since the policy would be voided due to his illegal habitation.)
“I have all the amenities of an apartment, just in a very tiny space,” the man says during the video:
While we are impressed by his ingenuity, this guy certainly endangered himself and the belongings of other tenants by occupying a self-storage unit illegally.
How Did He Get Away With It?
In this case, the storage managers seemed to have turned a blind eye to what should have been an obvious violation of their rules. The man says in a Reddit post about his “project”:
They knew I hung around there all day. I built up my car in their lot and I told them I was sleeping in my car. They said no sleeping in the unit as per policy, I said ok, and that was that. We were all friendly and saw each other daily. I had 24 hour access so me being there at any time was not a problem with them.
He also said the staff noticed the power cord and charged him $5 extra a month.
Here are just a few of the “hacks” the man employed to make his storage squatting experience possible:
- Ran extension cord to unit, zip-tied to conduit running along the hallway.
- Antennae for cell phone reception.
- Magnetic lock to make it look like his unit was padlocked from the outside.
- Screwed a latch on the inside of the door to lock it while sleeping.
- Toaster oven and electric range for cooking meals and boiling water.
- 25-liter water container connected to slop sink, with a drainage bucket for washing dishes and cleaning up.
- A liquor bar headboard!
- Mounted 2x4s to ceiling to support hanging shelves.
- Refill water tanks using water fountains in the hallway.
Thankfully, the man finally moved into his own apartment soon after, which we are thrilled to learn. What will he do with all that extra space? Build a rock climbing wall, he says.
Why Is This a Bad Idea?
Did you see that bundle of electrical cables? The hot plate? The toaster oven? These create major fire risks that shouldn’t exist at a storage facility at all. Not only would the man go up in flames, but so would many of his neighbors belongings as well.
Other Reddit users made some good points as to how his living arrangement could have gone horribly wrong:
There’s so much wrong with what he was doing. A small room full of flammable, with homemade wiring, no light, blocked exit… honestly the sprinklers wouldn’t do him any good if he lit those paper towels on fire with his hot plate. There’s a reason why we require metal hoods over a cooktop, not paper and wooden junk.
If there was an electrical fire, the breaker would trip and he’d be trapped in a pile of burning crap in the dark. Reddit user Spidersinmypants
One user, who said he works in the storage industry, pointed out the risk of getting locked in:
That happens. People have died. You are supposed to bang on the door and then raise the door up and look inside before you do that but it happens. One of my bosses has been with my company for 20 years and back in the 90s he locked a man in the unit for 5 days. He survived on a half of loaf of bread and a bottle of water. When he asked, hey man I banged really hard on the door before I locked it why didn’t you answer. He was a homeless vet who didn’t want to be disturbed. Reddit user joezeto187
The bottom line? No matter how cool this guy makes it look (or Donald Glover for that matter), living in a storage unit is dangerous and illegal. Don’t do it!
It has been reported that the facility was a U-Haul in Vancouver, BC. A U-Haul spokesperson told local media that the man was evicted immediately upon discovery.