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Can You Go to Jail for a Cutting Lock off Storage Unit

If you don’t have enough space in your house for your belongings and don’t know where else to put them, storing them in storage units is a good option. Rather than renovating your home or building or renting out an extra room, storage units are a better alternative for storing your assets and belongings in a secure environment.

Unfortunately, people can sometimes forget where they put their keys for their storage units. And it can be a hassle finding them, especially when you need something right away. If that happens, can you go to jail for cutting the lock of your storage unit?

Is It Okay to Cut the Locks Off Your Storage Unit?

The short answer is no. While it is legal to cut your locks, no one recommends it. This is typically true for most storage facilities in the US, UK, Canada, Australia, and other parts of the world. And some of the reasons why are:

  • There may be rules and regulations in the storage facility that renters must follow to protect the storage unit.
  • You can accidentally damage the storage unit’s door, which could cost thousands of dollars (depending on the damage you make).
  • There are on-site personnel in the storage facility ready to assist you if you can’t open your storage unit.

So, if you can’t open the lock of your storage unit, don’t just come to the storage facility with a pair of bolt cutters or a saw.

What Can You Do If You Can’t Open Your Storage Unit?

It can be frustrating and aggravating when you can’t access your storage unit, especially if you are rushing to get something. But again, cutting your lock open is not the first thing you should do. You’ll need to find a better solution. And below are some of the things you can do if you can’t open your storage unit.

Ask a Self-Storage Staff

As tempting as it is to do things on your own, ask a self-storage staff first. Attempting to open the locks on your own could get you into trouble or damage the storage facility’s property. Your situation isn’t exactly rare. So there may be on-site personnel with the right skills to help you.

Try a Locksmith before Considering Cutting Your Lock Off

Okay, there can be times when the staff cannot assist you, especially if they have a busy day. If you are in a hurry to get into your storage unit, the best alternative would be to call your local locksmith. Most of them can come to your aid within an hour or two. So you can get going faster.

But it will cost you more than asking an on-site manager to help you. However, if you don’t have the time to wait around, a local locksmith is your best bet.

Make Sure the Lock is Working Correctly

There can be times when you do have your keys, but the lock still won’t open. This can be a frustrating situation. But there’s no reason to panic. In some cases, a quick Google search can help you out. Try searching for the brand and lock type and see if there are any common issues you can try to solve.

If nothing comes up, asking a locksmith to help you out may be the best option. So, you don’t have to buy another lock. But of course, you still must pay the locksmith for their services.

Make Sure You Are at the Right Unit

This sounds a bit silly, but there are cases of people not being able to open their storage unit because they are opening the wrong one. There can be plenty of storage units in one facility. And if you’ve been on a long day at work, people can make the mistake of making the wrong turn and trying to open the wrong unit. Again, it sounds silly. But it has happened before.

So before you try anything, ensure you are standing in front of the right storage unit.

Want To Cut The Lock Of Your Storage Unit? Ask the Manager First

Okay, you have tried all the solutions. You asked the staff, but they don’t know what to do. You have tried calling the local locksmith, but he’s unavailable. So can you try cutting your locks on your own?

Unfortunately, that is still not the right answer to your problem. Again, you could get into trouble if you forcefully open your storage unit, which could get you a hefty fine.

If there’s nothing else you can do, try asking the manager. They can help assess the situation, ensure everything is in order, and help you with your problem faster. Plus, they can identify if you are the renter of the storage unit.

What Can Happen If You Ignore Your Storage Unit?

So, you can’t open your storage unit. But you can’t be bothered because you know it’s in safe hands. If you continue to pay up your rental fee, the storage facility will keep your unit intact.

However, if you forget to pay your rental fee for a couple of months, the facility can threaten to discard or sell your possessions, often via auction. If you are asking if this is legal, most often than not, it is. So long as the storage facility follows the contract both parties agreed on.

If this worries you, now would be the time to research your state’s laws for storage facilities. It might have certain mandates they must follow, like notifying you via email or phone or making a public announcement.


Storage units are a great alternative if you run out of space in your home. But bad days can happen, and you might not be able to access your possessions when you need them the most. If that ever happens, be sure to contact the manager first before you do anything. And don’t try cutting up the locks on your own., or you could get into trouble.



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