one step up from a squat

amirmg

Senior Member
Farsi
Hi friends,

Could you let me know what one step up from a squat mean?

That loft had a lot to do with my development as a photographer, particularly my use of light and colour, because it was bathed in bright sunlight most of the day. Though it was one step up from a squat, it was one of the important nodes of the creative community of Williamsburg. Many photographers lived there – including Tim Hetherington, Alex Majoli, Stanley Greene and Thomas Dworzak – and all these well-known sculptors and painters. Then it was bought by developers and we were all evicted in 2016. It was the end of an era. Now it’s luxury condos.
Christopher Anderson's best photograph: Marion breastfeeding, Brooklyn
 
  • anthox

    Senior Member
    English - Northeast US
    A "squat" is an abandoned, usually derelict building in which "squatters" stay. These are usually homeless/transient people who inhabit an abandoned place for as long as they can until they decide to leave or are kicked out. So, the place where the photographer was living was just a little bit better ("one step up from") such a place.
     

    amirmg

    Senior Member
    Farsi
    A "squat" is an abandoned, usually derelict building in which "squatters" stay. These are usually homeless/transient people who inhabit an abandoned place for as long as they can until they decide to leave or are kicked out. So, the place where the photographer was living was just a little bit better ("one step up from") such a place.
    Thanks a lot anthox.
     

    kentix

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    But they were apparently paying rent so they were not there illegally. That was the one step up.
     

    Packard

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    I see "squat" in novels set in Britain (notably the Robert Galbraith private eye series). I don't recall hearing it in the USA.

    I think we would just call it "abandoned tenement housing".
     

    amirmg

    Senior Member
    Farsi
    I see "squat" in novels set in Britain (notably the Robert Galbraith private eye series). I don't recall hearing it in the USA.

    I think we would just call it "abandoned tenement housing".
    abandoned tenement. I had not heard it before you use it here. Vocabulary in English seems to be an ocean
     

    kentix

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    It's slang really, or close enough. It's not a word most people would have a need for in their everyday life. Only a certain subset of people would have that direct experience where that word would be useful.
     

    Linkway

    Senior Member
    British English
    The words sqat (n), squat (v), squatting and squatter are widely understood in this part of the world.

    In law, there is even something known as "squatters' rights".
     

    Packard

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    The words sqat (n), squat (v), squatting and squatter are widely understood in this part of the world.

    In law, there is even something known as "squatters' rights".
    We do have "squatter's rights" in New York. If a person lives in a building for 30 days or more the building's owner will have to go through a legal process to get that "resident" evicted.

    And while we have "squatter's rights" I have never heard of one of those buildings called a "squat".

    In one of the Robert Galbraith books she (the author is a "she" but uses a male name), describes the "squat" as a section of a warehouse where various squatters have set up their belongings. Apparently several people live in close proximity in a generally open space. I don't know if all "squats" are set up similarly. I would assume that the squatters look for abandoned spaces where they won't be noticed to setup house.
     

    Packard

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    You make it sound as though if they've lived there for less than 30 days, they can use an illegal process.
    No, if they live there less than 30 days they (the residents) have no legal rights at all. The land owner could call the police and declare all the residents trespassers and they would either be evicted or arrested. Officially it is called "adverse possession" and it can result in the squatter owning the property;

    "Adverse possession" is a legal way of obtaining title to the property of another through occupation of the property without the owner's consent. This occupation must be obvious, hostile, continuous and notorious. This means the squatter must live on the property openly and without permission of the owner. New York law requires that this use must continue uninterrupted for a period of at least 10 years.

    But the provision I was referring to is:

    New York City Squatters

    If a squatter in New York City can prove he's resided in a property for more than 30 days, he has a right to continue living there until the legal owner goes through a court process to obtain a legal eviction. This can be time-consuming, taking up to a year. It is against New York City law to evict anyone immediately, including a squatter.

    Squatters Rights in New York
     

    Hermione Golightly

    Senior Member
    British English
    Calling the buildings occupied by squatters 'abandoned tenement buildings' would not work in the UK. The buildings taken over by squatters can be any sort: large office blocks or any sort of house or empty property. It doesn't have to be 'abandoned', just empty for some reason. 'Tenements' in British English refers to a multi-occupancy multi-level buildings built in the 19th century in the large Scottish cities. I don't know how modern the term is and if blocks of flats ('apartment buildings') are still called 'tenements'. They were not necessarily housing for the poor. As in England, fine properties could become slums.
     

    Packard

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    Calling the buildings occupied by squatters 'abandoned tenement buildings' would not work in the UK. The buildings taken over by squatters can be any sort: large office blocks or any sort of house or empty property. It doesn't have to be 'abandoned', just empty for some reason. 'Tenements' in British English refers to a multi-occupancy multi-level buildings built in the 19th century in the large Scottish cities. I don't know how modern the term is and if blocks of flats ('apartment buildings') are still called 'tenements'. They were not necessarily housing for the poor. As in England, fine properties could become slums.
    Low rent, subsidized housing is often referred to as "tenement housing" in the USA. But historically it is as you said. Here are some images: tenement housing brooklyn - Google Search
     

    Hermione Golightly

    Senior Member
    British English
    Yes thanks, I know what it means in the US context. That's why I wanted to comment on the British differences, even though the OP was about the USA. Here, it could be incorrect to describe 'tenement housing' as low-rent and subsidized.
    We have different terms for that sort of purpose-built housing.
     

    amirmg

    Senior Member
    Farsi
    As a learner who has spent years on English, when it comes to new vocabularies and their different meanings in different context, this can deeply disappoint a learner.
    It was a few days a go when I saw 'as much as' in a context where this word did not mean the meaning I expected. The author used it to convey the meaning of regardless of or despite how much; although which are totally far from what I knew.
    I do not know about other languages, but English to me is not an easy language.
     
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