General Question

crisedwards's avatar

Is it illegal to live in a parking space?

Asked by crisedwards (329points) November 23rd, 2011

If the owner of the parking lot is OK with it, why couldn’t I build a small house in a rented parking space? Are there laws against that kinda thing?

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17 Answers

john65pennington's avatar

If you are on private property, that is between you and the owner. If you are on public property, it would be a law violation, dealing with health codes. It would also have to be approved by your local zoning officials.

This is the reason the people of Occupy were removed from public parks.

deni's avatar

I’d assume something with zoning would prohibit that.

Coloma's avatar

What would the benefit of that be?

Building on already owned property is not going to be a wise investment.

Even if the owner agreed, he would also have to agree to purchase the dwelling back from you otherwise you’re just wasting your money and labor.

Silly idea.

wilma's avatar

Our small community has certain laws about what are allowable dwellings. For example living in a camper in your friends back yard is illegal. So would living in a parking spot on public or private property. You might get a small home or even a mobile type home approved to live on someones property but certain requirements, concerning water, sewer, and other utilities, would have to be met. Not to mention that there would probably be tax implications. You would have to go to the zoning board of appeals to and then other steps to get approval.
It might be able to be accomplished with time and effort, but you can’t just set up and move in.

gailcalled's avatar

Build a small house (see some beautiful and ingenious choices and you can cart it around and park it where you like.

Or find a spot that is prettier than a parking lot and that also has water and electric hook-ups.

CWOTUS's avatar

Nearly every political jurisdiction in the US – every one that I know of – has adopted building codes that specify minimum requirements for buildings to be used as legal, permanent dwellings. That means that they have to conform to space and size requirements (building lot sizes), and (again, in every case that I know of) they have to have running water and sanitary facilities. This is not to say that they can’t have chemical toilets or holding tanks, for example, in lieu of septic or municipal sewer facilities, but the running water is still a “must have”. (Many temporary encampments are allowed that skirt this requirement, but they also aren’t considered permanent abodes.)

Electricity and heat are not generally required by most building codes, but if they are furnished, then they have to meet strict safety and quality (of construction) guidelines. That means, for example, that you can’t just “run an extension cord” from another building. That would not pass muster and would not be allowed. Likewise, “heat” would require either electricity, a furnace and fuel supply (or woodstove and a pile of wood nearby) and venting of the flue. That, or a pretty elaborate solar system to enable heating of a such a small area.

Surprisingly, perhaps, because others thought that “building on land you don’t own” is a problem, that’s no difficulty at all. You could work out a long term lease for a dollar, and have “rights” to the private property, but it’s very unlikely that you could build anything habitable on it.

In addition to the building codes, a building permit is also a general requirement. If you don’t obtain the building permit and build anyway, even if it is an elaborate (and expensive) two-story home that seems in all respects habitable… you won’t get a certificate of occupancy and you won’t be allowed to stay there. I’ve seen that happen, and I could show you the house – it’s probably worth more than a quarter-million dollars, sitting empty, abandoned and uninhabitable.

YARNLADY's avatar

I’m wondering how you would handle your human waste issues? There are definitely regulations covering it.

I once reported a squatter who parked his travel trailer on our street, and ran a sewage line into the street drain. It says very clearly on the drain that it drains directly into the local streams.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I don’t get why human waste is somehow considered more “dangerous” than animal waste, like dog, cat, mouse, bird, ant, fish, whatever.

YARNLADY's avatar

@Dutchess_III Apparently tests are discovering that the multiple chemicals humans insist on using are passing through the body and into the local waterways

anartist's avatar

where would you crap?

YARNLADY's avatar

@anartist Already asked – in much nicer terms

rooeytoo's avatar

@Dutchess_III – I always figure there are more diseases I could catch from human waste than animal and I think that is a true belief. That said I don’t particularly want to come in close contact with any of regardless of its source!

prioritymail's avatar

Zoning may prohibit. Typically there are laws saying things like you can’t live in a commercial only zone, minimum set back requirements from other structures and property lines, maximum # of structures per parcel area. I don’t get the questions about sewage though. Obviously if you were bldg a house – in a parking lot or elsewhere – you would be required to have a sewer connection. Supposing you were allowed to live in a parking spot, why go through the expense of building a house? Why not just drive a campervan / RV into the stall?

Dutchess_III's avatar

@rooeytoo that is IF someone had a disease. When was the last time we heard of someone having plague or something serious that can be passed on via contact with feces? We walk all over animal poo all the time, but we don’t worry about it because we aren’t even aware of it.

CWOTUS's avatar

Actually, @Dutchess_III, it’s the public health aspect of clean water free from unwanted pathogens (cholera and typhoid are uppermost in my mind) that enable our “first world” lives. These diseases are always current worries anywhere in the world (including the US, Europe and Japan, for example) when infrastructure is broken after floods, earthquakes and tsunamis that take out the water processing facilities (or the water piping itself) and make people reliant on surface water. Obviously, these are always problems where the infrastructure just isn’t present (or doesn’t have the requited reliability or capacity) in some parts of the world.

rooeytoo's avatar

@Dutchess_III – I just googled it and it appears there are many diseases transmitted through human waste. I have been in the dog business for over 35 years and never caught anything from their waste. And if I am walking on it all the time for the last 67 years, I never caught anything that way either, but human poo yukkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkk. Are you telling me you don’t care if next time you go for a walk, you don’t care if you have to step around piles of human poo??

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