Can You Legally Live In A Storage Unit In New York State?
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?
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?
The answer is no, not legally at least. While people do 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.
New York State Offers These 6 Programs For Low-Income Residents
Here are some of the programs that New York State offers to people who aren't able to work or make less than a livable wage.
1. Heating Assistance
New Yorkers who need help paying their heating bills this winter can get money from the state now. Governor Kathy Hochul announced that the state's heating assistance program is currently accepting applications. The Home Energy Assistance Program, also known as HEAP, opened for the 2022-2023 winter season on Tuesday, November 1, 2022. Low- and middle-income residents and seniors can apply to receive up to $976 in aid. The assistance payments are distributed by the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance. New Yorkers who need help can receive one regular benefit per season. If a household is at risk of losing its heat due to a utility shut-off, it could also be eligible for an emergency benefit. Emergency benefits applications will be accepted starting January 3, 2023. New York residents outside of the City can apply here.
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program provides funds for New Yorkers to buy healthy food. SNAP can provide up to $939 for a family of four to buy bread, dairy products, meats, and produce. In order to apply, recipients must be low-income. A family of four must have an annual gross income of $36,084 or less to qualify. You can check eligibility requirements here.
3. Child Care Cost Assistance
New York State has expanded childcare funding for working and low-income families. The state is distributing $2 billion to help increase the number of families that receive financial support for childcare costs. In August 2022 the eligibility of a family increased from 200 percent to 300 percent, to $83,250 for a family of four. You can get more info about childcare funding from your local Office of Children and Family Services.
4. Discounted Internet Services
Low-income New Yorkers can get discounted internet services through the Affordable Connectivity Program. The program offers residents discounts on internet and broadband services.
- Up to a $30/month discount on your internet service
- Up to a $75/month discount if your household is on qualifying Tribal lands
- A one-time discount of up to $100 for a laptop, tablet, or desktop computer (with a co-payment of more than $10 but less than $50)
- A low cost service plan that may be fully covered through the ACP*
You can see if you're eligible here.
5. Temporary Assistance
Temporary assistance is also known as public assistance. It can help adults who are not employed, unable to work, or who just don't make enough money. There are several types of temporary assistance that are available, including Family Assistance, Safety Net Assistance, and Emergency Assistance. You can find more information about each here.
The Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Program offers assistance to pregnant women, breastfeeding women, postpartum women, and caregivers of infants and children up to age five. Get info on WIC here.