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  #1  
Old 02-24-2011, 03:32 PM
DCnDC DCnDC is offline
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Can I lease an office space and live there?

I've long wondered the opposite of this question (can I use or rent my condo as an office?). Rather than hijack that thread:

Rent on houses and apartments around here is ridiculous. However there's plenty of office space to be had for well less than half the price of any decent residential place. Could I lease some of this cheap office space and just live there? Because really, if I leased a whole floor of a building, how would anyone ever know?

I would imagine of course the legality of this is going to vary by the local zoning laws, if legal at all. Is it legal anywhere? Even if it isn't legal, what's the worst that could happen to me if I got caught?
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  #2  
Old 02-24-2011, 03:43 PM
friedo friedo is offline
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Good luck getting a shower or kitchen installed without the landlord knowing.

But if you just plan to sleep there and shower somewhere else and order a lot of takeout, I doubt anybody would stop you.
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Old 02-24-2011, 03:50 PM
Machine Elf Machine Elf is offline
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Originally Posted by DCnDC View Post
Could I lease some of this cheap office space and just live there? Because really, if I leased a whole floor of a building, how would anyone ever know?
The landlord, who would stop by once in a while to check on his property, would know. And using the property as a residence would likely violate the terms of the lease.
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Old 02-24-2011, 03:56 PM
stpauler stpauler is offline
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I know a person doing that with his office. It's a huge loft style floor on the edge of St Paul near Minneapolis. He's also a contractor and so he set up the office as a showroom and installed a shower and kitchen and has lived there for two years.
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  #5  
Old 02-24-2011, 04:55 PM
aceplace57 aceplace57 is offline
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I spent a week in my office while my house was getting the hardwood floors redone. Used the break room to keep food in the fridge and reheat. I had a cot in my office, folded up during the day. Sponge off in the restroom.

No one cared. Security is used to me working late anyway. I did enjoy getting home. Camping in the office gets old.

Last edited by aceplace57; 02-24-2011 at 04:57 PM..
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  #6  
Old 02-24-2011, 05:05 PM
needscoffee needscoffee is offline
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It's not unusual to have a small shower in an office. Lots of people bike to work and have to wash off.

Can you get tenants/renters insurance living in an office space?
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Old 02-24-2011, 05:10 PM
phreesh phreesh is offline
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Sounds like a summer movie.

When DC's girlfriend kicks him out of the apartment, he's gotta find somewhere to stay - fast. Using his office as an apartment seemed like a great idea at first, but can he keep it a secret from his boss until the big promotion is decided?!

I'd watch.
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  #8  
Old 02-25-2011, 12:18 AM
Snnipe 70E Snnipe 70E is online now
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Originally Posted by needscoffee View Post
It's not unusual to have a small shower in an office. Lots of people bike to work and have to wash off.

Can you get tenants/renters insurance living in an office space?
I got 10 years of working in different high and low rise office buildings. !0 buildings total. In excess of 4 million sq feet. Never seen a shower in any office. One set of buildings did have a health club with a shower. And at each of the other properties there was a Gym and showers.

I doubt that you could get "renters insurance". You would need a workmans comp policy, and a liabilaty insurance. You would have no problem setting up internet. Cable TV would probably be out. Depending on the building but most would have house cleaning comming in in the middle of the night to clean. Most tenant spaces so have kitchen lunch rooms with a micro wave oven. No cooking that could cause smoke, smoke detectorss and fire alarms.

Most buildings will not have heating or cooling from approx 7:00 PM to 6:00 AM. Nor on Saturday or Sunday and holidays. Also some buildings the lights will be on the Building Management system and all but the emergency lights will go off at night. And you will either have to us a dial up system or go to the light switches every hour or two and turn the lights back on.
Depending on the lease it could be classified as miss use of space.
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  #9  
Old 02-25-2011, 01:27 AM
Little Nemo Little Nemo is offline
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Aren't there insurance issues? I think some policies prohibit a business property from being used as a residence.
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  #10  
Old 02-25-2011, 01:51 AM
Alley Dweller Alley Dweller is online now
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Freshman Congressmen Plan Office Sleepovers.
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  #11  
Old 02-25-2011, 02:10 AM
gazpacho gazpacho is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Snnipe 70E View Post
I got 10 years of working in different high and low rise office buildings. !0 buildings total. In excess of 4 million sq feet. Never seen a shower in any office. One set of buildings did have a health club with a shower. And at each of the other properties there was a Gym and showers.
In twenty years of working for 4 different companies in about 15 different buildings I have never been in an office building that did not have showers in at least one men's room.
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  #12  
Old 02-25-2011, 07:19 AM
Darth Panda Darth Panda is online now
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The building I work in has about a dozen showers. But it's not lease spaced - our company built the building and we're the only ones in it. I jokingly considered living in my office, it probably wouldn't have been very hard (altough not fun either). As to doing it in a rented office - that sounds trickier.
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  #13  
Old 02-25-2011, 09:16 AM
Snnipe 70E Snnipe 70E is online now
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Originally Posted by gazpacho View Post
In twenty years of working for 4 different companies in about 15 different buildings I have never been in an office building that did not have showers in at least one men's room.
That is one shower in the building, not a small shower in most offices.
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  #14  
Old 02-25-2011, 09:23 AM
Rumor_Watkins Rumor_Watkins is offline
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From the renter's perspective, the only insurance you need is premises liability and contents insurance (unless your lease requires you to get insurance for the structure, as well, which would be odd unless you were renting the entire building).

To that end, if you are not actually using the office as an office, and don't invite anyone onto your premises, all you really stand to lose by not having insurance is the loss of the stuff in your office/home. Which may not be a big deal. So, insurance doesn't seem to be an issue. However, keep in mind that while your insurance policies may be irrelevant, the landlord's insurance policies may run the risk of rescission if something were to happen to the structure and the landlord was found to be in violation of his insurance contract (say, for example, by allowing people to live there). There's probably a very minuscule probability that that will come back to bite the renter in terms of a lawsuit for the landlord's losses if the insurance company didn't pay out because the renter was causing the landlord to not be in compliance with his insurance contract, but it is another consideration.

It probably violates the lease - or it violates it in a roundabout way such as a clause in the lease in which you agree not to do anything with your space that is against local laws or ordinances. Zoning restrictions would be one such ordinance. So, if you got found out, you should be prepared to get kicked out.

As has been mentioned, there aren't really nice bathing and cooking facilities in most offices. If you're a member of a gym, part one is taken care of, and depending on your financial resources or your willingness to go to a soup kitchen, part two can be too.

In all, it's probably feasible, but probably not enjoyable, and you should be prepared to be homeless at any time.

Last edited by Rumor_Watkins; 02-25-2011 at 09:26 AM..
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  #15  
Old 02-25-2011, 10:03 AM
Yarster Yarster is offline
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I had a friend who used to run a hobby shop for radio controlled toys. Above the office was a very large loft area that could be used as storage and the bathroom included a shower. It also had a breakroom/kitchen where he kept a hotplate and microwave. Since he had everything he needed at the shop, he just decided to live there at one point in the loft area to drastically cut his expenses. It wasn't insulated, but we live in San Diego so it didn't need to be. He lived there about a year until the hobby business went bust, but he really enjoyed not having to keep an apartment and he liked the idea that he was effectively his own security for the store. Indeed, one night someone did try to break in and he heard it and scared them off when he turned the lights on.
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  #16  
Old 02-25-2011, 10:10 AM
Peremensoe Peremensoe is offline
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Originally Posted by Rumor_Watkins View Post
Zoning restrictions would be one such ordinance.
Yet another area where separation-of-uses zoning hurts us.

Office districts would be safer and more pleasant places if there were some residents mixed in.
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  #17  
Old 02-25-2011, 10:17 AM
Markxxx Markxxx is offline
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I've seen them in Chicago but only in the central city and older suburbs. I think it may have something to do with the "old days" when the bosses actually had an executive washroom that was only used by them. I worked in two hotels and the GM's office actually had a restroom (incl shower) off the main office.

Of course in the old days, hotels had resident managers. I have also seen it in non hotel space. But like I said, it's always been in conjucntion with the boss's office.
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  #18  
Old 02-25-2011, 02:37 PM
butler1850 butler1850 is offline
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Many years ago, I did some work for a company that was located in what, from the outside, looked like standard condo units. It's my firm belief that they were originally built from residential condo plans, or were plan was to be standard residential condos, that somehow converted to an office park. They had full kitchens (with appliances), and a full bathroom (shower only, but room for tubs).

As I was just starting my career, and was still young and dumb, I thought it would have been a great place to live. No neighbor to bother when I had friends over late into the night/weekends, and it was in a great location. Lots of parking available at night as well. Rent was in line with what they were charging for similar residential units elsewhere.

I didn't follow up on it, but I still think about it once in a while.
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Old 02-25-2011, 03:22 PM
Acsenray Acsenray is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Snnipe 70E View Post
I got 10 years of working in different high and low rise office buildings. !0 buildings total. In excess of 4 million sq feet. Never seen a shower in any office. One set of buildings did have a health club with a shower. And at each of the other properties there was a Gym and showers.
Quote:
Originally Posted by gazpacho View Post
In twenty years of working for 4 different companies in about 15 different buildings I have never been in an office building that did not have showers in at least one men's room.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Snnipe 70E View Post
That is one shower in the building, not a small shower in most offices.
How's that a problem? The tenant would still have access to it, presumably. Almost all the buildings I've worked in has had a shower, some with a workout room, some without. Whether the building was single-tenant or multiple-tenant, all tenants had access to the shower.
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  #20  
Old 04-02-2012, 01:39 AM
Tick Tick is offline
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6+ months living in the office....

I had to reply...I had a hellish landlord experience and was able to get out of the house lease, with 1 week to find a place and move me and my business. I found a little office space for 1/5 the rent I had been paying. Got a gym membership to a 24 hours chain (private showers). Bought a big mini fridge. Moved in me and my business. Got a futon, etc on Craigslist. It has been a renaissance for me. My finances are stronger, I'm building my business. I'm going after deep life / career goals that might have been dropped. I'm being intentionally vague - Ill be world famous in the arts one day, not just making my living at it, as I am now, which ain't bad either. This has given me the breathing room to develop my art. Theres been a lot of luck...a next door neighbor that's never here, a building thats kept up enough to be reasonable but no security cameras, etc. A property manager that doesn't care, for a company that's going broke...I recently was offered a tiny rental house that I could easily afford and It blows my mind but I don't want to move. Chicks come over and say they could never live like this but they still come over! It sucks to have to lie to my clients that I have a home, and to sneak around here but it's worth it. I'm saving a grand a month on rent. The worst is first thing when I wake up, getting to the shared bathroom and trying to avoid people...still it's fine....raw vegan foods in the blender are great in this environment...still I can cook (hot plate, toaster oven)...it's a great neighborhood...f@ck landlords and pricey rentals. I hope to be here 2 more years till I can buy a place for cash. I have to get better at conquering my fears...relaxing...I can be a little neurotic here sometimes, lol...it goes in phases...sometimes I'm totally chill...there is always some uncertainty...I can do my art here which is just freakin awesome (wouldn't work in an apartment). I have a few windows and a air purifier (old building). The place is climate controlled. I have a vehicle I can sleep in if it gets weird. I hope / plan to be traveling a lot more as time goes on, so I'm not here much anyways and it becomes an inexpensive place to store my stuff and come back and regroup...Life is a daring adventure....
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  #21  
Old 04-02-2012, 03:04 AM
grude grude is offline
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Its not a shower in an officer per say BUT......

Two one story industrial buildings I've worked at did have a shower inside the building in the toilets. Also two industrial buildings my father worked in also had a shower, it may have been intended as a emergency chemical shower but the employess used it all the same.

And a high rise office suite building I've been in(that housed the regional offices of Social Security at the time) had a shower in the men's room at least(dunno about the women's )

So its not that rare.
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  #22  
Old 04-02-2012, 08:34 AM
Annie-Xmas Annie-Xmas is offline
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If the City's Code Enforcement Office does catch up with you, expect a buttload of fines.
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  #23  
Old 04-02-2012, 09:57 AM
Pixel_Dent Pixel_Dent is online now
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Originally Posted by gazpacho View Post
In twenty years of working for 4 different companies in about 15 different buildings I have never been in an office building that did not have showers in at least one men's room.
In a couple areas I've lived the local building code actually said that all office buildings of more than mumble mumble had to have a shower. The law was passed specifically to encourage commuting via bike. A quick google shows NY City has similar laws which give the building owners some sort of credit if they have showers for bikers.
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  #24  
Old 04-02-2012, 11:02 AM
The Other Waldo Pepper The Other Waldo Pepper is online now
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Originally Posted by Rumor_Watkins View Post
To that end, if you are not actually using the office as an office, and don't invite anyone onto your premises,
Yeah, but what if you do invite folks onto your premises while using the office as an office? Say you hang out your shingle as an attorney -- or, if you don't have a license to practice law, as a wedding planner, or a language tutor, or a website designer, or something, anything.

Sure, as it happens you don't get a lot of walk-in business -- but your front office is ready just in case anyone ever shows up looking to pay for your services as a travel agent or a yoga instructor or a private eye or whatever. You also happen to have a back room with a shower (and a little fridge, and a PC with an internet connection, and half-a-dozen other nifty little things), but that's not illegal, right?
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  #25  
Old 04-02-2012, 11:05 AM
TruCelt TruCelt is offline
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This is the first building I've worked in that doesn't have shower facilities. (20+ years in work force - probably 8-9 buildings?) Only once did I have a privte bathroom with shower, but there's usually some sort of gym and a shower in the basement. even my daughter's school has that for the teachers.

That said, I'm sure if I'd ever tried it I'd have been snagged by the parking attendants. They get very interested anytime a car stays overnight.

Mixed-use areas do exist though. A dream of mine has always been to own a bookstore/cafe and live over top of it. :: sigh ::

Last edited by TruCelt; 04-02-2012 at 11:06 AM..
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  #26  
Old 04-02-2012, 11:17 AM
TriPolar TriPolar is online now
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I know someone who did this. The problem was that he couldn't overtly say the office was his residence. He claimed he lived at his brother's house, and that was his official residence. The landlord didn't care as long as he had some other place that was his official residence. He put a free standing shower in the bathroom, put in a little kitchenette out in the big common area, and slept on the couch in his office. But he rarely cooked anything there, and washed his clothes at the coin-op. He did it for about 2 years, then moved in with his GF. His employees thought he was an oddball at first, but he was successful and they all did well in the end. I think it would be a good idea for a young, single entrepreneur during a start up operation.
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  #27  
Old 04-02-2012, 11:33 AM
Corcaigh Corcaigh is offline
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Originally Posted by phreesh View Post
Sounds like a summer movie.

When DC's girlfriend kicks him out of the apartment, he's gotta find somewhere to stay - fast. Using his office as an apartment seemed like a great idea at first, but can he keep it a secret from his boss until the big promotion is decided?!

I'd watch.
*is standing outside the cinema checking the start times*


Not quite the same thing as the OP, but I knew a guy who rented a flat in town, and opened a shop elsewhere in the town. The shop had an upstairs that wasn't being used for anything, so he thought he'd do himself a favour, and pay the rent for the shop, and live in the space above it.

The shop landlord quickly found out what he was doing, and although they didn't have a leg to stand on, as there was nothing in the lease forbidding him doing this, they waited till he'd gone out one day, came in, and dumped a load of furniture and other household stuff upstairs so that he couldn't use the space to live in.
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  #28  
Old 04-05-2013, 11:52 PM
indigo1955 indigo1955 is offline
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office by the beach

It is a great solution when in a jam.

Last edited by indigo1955; 04-05-2013 at 11:56 PM..
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  #29  
Old 04-07-2013, 10:37 PM
t-bonham@scc.net t-bonham@scc.net is offline
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Originally Posted by Corcaigh View Post
Not quite the same thing as the OP, but I knew a guy who rented a flat in town, and opened a shop elsewhere in the town. The shop had an upstairs that wasn't being used for anything, so he thought he'd do himself a favour, and pay the rent for the shop, and live in the space above it.

The shop landlord quickly found out what he was doing, and although they didn't have a leg to stand on, as there was nothing in the lease forbidding him doing this, they waited till he'd gone out one day, came in, and dumped a load of furniture and other household stuff upstairs so that he couldn't use the space to live in.
Sounds like a way to foolishly chase away a good paying tenant.
Wonder how long that landlord stayed in business?
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  #30  
Old 04-09-2013, 04:06 PM
Peremensoe Peremensoe is offline
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Originally Posted by Corcaigh View Post
*is standing outside the cinema checking the start times*


Not quite the same thing as the OP, but I knew a guy who rented a flat in town, and opened a shop elsewhere in the town. The shop had an upstairs that wasn't being used for anything, so he thought he'd do himself a favour, and pay the rent for the shop, and live in the space above it.

The shop landlord quickly found out what he was doing, and although they didn't have a leg to stand on, as there was nothing in the lease forbidding him doing this, they waited till he'd gone out one day, came in, and dumped a load of furniture and other household stuff upstairs so that he couldn't use the space to live in.
Was the upstairs space defined in the lease as part of the rented space or not? If so, how could the owners put things into it? If not, how did they not have a basis for a violation?
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  #31  
Old 04-09-2013, 04:14 PM
Dewey Finn Dewey Finn is offline
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Corcaigh hasn't posted since before Christmas, so I doubt you'll get an answer.
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