Cheater Floor

Cheater Floor | Legend | Back in 2011, we told you about Chinatown’s many Cheater Floors: “The story goes that during the construction boom in Chinatown at the beginning of the 20th century, property taxes were levied against building owners using a formula that multiplied the footprint of the building by the number of its floors. The stunted 2nd storeys didn’t count toward this total, and thus provided tax-free storage and ancillary space. The term emerged from the xenophobia of the 1950s and not-so-subtly suggested that Chinese property owners were deliberately hiding a secret floor. The appropriate nomenclature is ‘2nd floor mezzanine’, and there is little to suggest that builders at the time could hide an entire floor from a building inspector, nor were there any discernible property tax incentives to do so.”

Usage: “I told my kids that the Cheater Floor was where they put kids who cheated on their homework…”explore-the-lexicon


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