Leland Brown Jr. had a thing going, living out of a massive storage unit, saving money for an RV and successfully finding a loophole around the skyrocketing rental prices. However, following a viral video documenting his life as a storage unit tenant, he learned quickly that not everything is for social media.
Brown, from Hatfield, Penn. said in a YouTube video that he and his girlfriend Breanna fell in love back in March 2022. When they briefly broke up, he said he moved back in with his dad but got busted after sneaking Breanna over one night. After spending so much time with her family, his dad kicked him out. Then, after taking refuge with Breanna’s parents, they kicked him and his girlfriend out. For a while, Brown explained that the two struggled on their own, sleeping in a tent in the woods and trying to fund day-to-day survival off minimum wage jobs.
Soon, the two schemed up a seemingly perfect plan to hide out in a storage unit. In his viral TikTok video documenting the deets, he explained how he and his girlfriend lived in there, spending an estimated $300 in ‘rent’ and made it work.
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Leland and his girlfriend, Breanna, had stacked a wall of boxes in front of the unit in an attempt to hide that they were crashing there. The space was filled with a dresser, a bookshelf, storage containers, and a couch that Breanna was sleeping on at the time. It looked similar to a studio apartment, but for less than half the price.
The average monthly rental cost of a large storage unit is $300, according to Forbes, although prices will vary based on the area and company. Leland never shared how much money they were paying for the space, but he was overall pleased with the arrangement. He gave a tour of the public restroom that he used, saying the facility was climate-controlled and always ‘nice and warm.’ Leland also included footage of himself running in the hallway and doing pushups in the unit to show that he could easily exercise there.
“This unit is 24 hours, so I can come here anytime I want, stay here as long as I need to,” he continued. “We can take naps if we need to and go to sleep.”
Whenever they wanted a hot meal, he would take his frying pan and portable camping stove outside and cook in front of the building.
The video gathered over 12.9 million views and over 14,000 comments. Many users applauded the couple for their fight to survive and defy the odds of capitalism. However, many people also criticized them for bending the rules and accused them of living in the unit illegally. Eventually, the noise caught the ears of the higher ups at Life Storage and suddenly the couple’s fantasy came falling apart, Brown said.
“We ended up getting kicked out. Now we’re just trying to figure out where to go and what we’re going to do with our stuff,” Brown said in a follow-up video.
According to Life Storage policy, it’s prohibited on the local and federal level to live in a storage unit.When Brown sought to retreat back into the woods, he said he found his tent was destroyed by snow. At the moment, the couple is still displaced without shelter.
The two launched a GoFundMe, raising up to $3000 toward securing a vehicle and a place of shelter so they can live in stability with his 8-year-old son who is currently under the care of his mother.
At least the TikTok viewers following his life were caring enough to fund his future living situation. However, it is also social media that caused his living situation to be exposed. Take this as a lesson folks. Not everything is for the gram.