Two things you can’t do with storage containers

portable shipping container storage

2 things you can’t do with storage containers or storage facilities.

Recently the CBC reported a guy who was evicted for living in a storage unit in Vancouver. While he certainly showed how creative and clever one could make use of a tiny space for cheap rent, nothing he did was legal.

So, as Vancouver storage providers (with secured facility container storage), it got us thinking. What else is illegal to do with storage units? I mean, we see good-guy-bad-guy TV shows using storage units in plot lines all the time. Does that happen in real life?

Below are some illegal things you can’t do with storage containers or storage facilities – whether in Vancouver or not!

Keep in mind, there is a difference between storage lockers and storage containers! That is explained in this article.

You can’t live in a storage unit; not in Vancouver, not anywhere

Above we mentioned the guy who lived in a storage unit in Vancouver for about two months. That was not ok. But he says he only broke the rule of sleeping there at night. Afterall, he wasn’t showering there. And he paid for the power he used via a long extension cord.

But…he was posing other problems, as presented in this article. Apparently, people trying to live in storage units is not uncommon or new. But it’s illegal because:

Storage facilities are not zoned for residential use. Cities have bylaws for housing, in case you haven’t noticed. It’s not ok to have people living without sewage or running water. Those medieval days are far behind us in the Western world.

Storage facilities are not safe for long-term human living conditions. Think about this: what if there was a fire in the storage facility? No one would suspect they need to go in and safe a human. Also, air quality and ventilation are concerns if you’re going to be cooking or using any kind of heat in there, which the above video shows the illegal storage unit tenant doing. Also think about the amount of custom building work that guy had to do. What if his stuff collapsed on him? Sure, maybe he would have only suffered a knock on the head by his shoes or skateboard. But if there’s no way to regulate those units for liveability, they can result in accidents.

People living in storage units poses security risk for other legitimate renters. Storage facilities usually do have security cameras and guards present. Some may be controlled by access codes, and no 24-hour staff at all. But if you rent from a storage facility that has illegal live-ins, would you really feel safe about your belongings? What if there are valuables in storage? It makes it all the more easy for theft, and it can also make it hard to identify who did it, if there are too many people to watch. And we’re not even talking about live-ins having ‘visitors’ over, which is more of a problem to security.

We will mention that in this article on our blog, we did say you can repurpose a storage container into a tiny home. However, please note the difference here: buying a storage container and legally ‘parking’ it somewhere to build (and modify) a legal structure (with permits) could be ok. But using a storage unit in a facility that is zoned for that purpose, to then be turned into a home…that’s not ok.

You can’t run a business in a storage unit

Now, you may have read the above and thought, ok, I can’t live in a storage unit, but that doesn’t mean I can’t use it as an office! No, wrong.

Storage units are for storage, not activities. It has been reported that one storage facility in Florida turned into an artists’ haven, where people were glass blowing, and eventually building septic tanks! Now, it must be hard to build a septic tank, so how true this story is, we don’t know.

But the article makes a point: storage units are not for running a business. They are not built to be offices, or anything resembling an environment for living things.

Another story in the link above claims a doctor tried to run a shady practice out of a storage unit. And people tried working on cars in self storage. All of this is not allowed. No dance classes, no lawyer desks, no computer hacking, no art studio space – nothing. It’s not allowed. Use storage for storage, people.

Stay tuned for more things you can’t do in a storage unit or storage locker

We have a list of more things you can’t store in storage or at a storage facility. Stay tuned and we’ll cover more things you may not have thought of…or that weren’t obvious to some.

If you’re moving your office or need storage space, call on the services of our Ferguson Moving and Storage a call at 604-922-2212 or request a quote online through our website!

Moving Resources

Moving Checklist

Follow this comprehensive moving checklist to ease your relocation stress and stay organized.

Learn More

Moving Company Comparison Guide

This comparison guide helps you evaluate and select the perfect moving company for your needs.

Learn More
Scroll to Top


We have moving supplies.