Tall buildings are plentiful in large cities, and if you are a resident of an older building, you might have noticed that your building doesn't have a 13th floor. There are a lot of cultures out there that foster a healthy (erm, unhealthy) dose of triskaidekaphobia—the fear of the number 13. In certain cultures, it can be seen as an omen of death. Others worry about it being associated with illness, calamity, or even bankruptcy.
Why Don’t Buildings Have a 13th Floor?
Many older buildings don't have a 13th floor because of superstition. Since many people consider the number unlucky, they won't want to live or work on the 13th floor, and landlords and developers will often skip the floor as they know it will be harder to sell and rent apartments on the floor.
Superstition is a real motivator, even if it may not make sense to everyone. Around $800 million is lost every year on Friday the 13th, simply because people don’t want to travel or do business on such an unlucky day. Even renting out a floor or unit with the number 13 can be tricky.
How Do Buildings Hide The 13th Floor?
There are several ways a builder can skirt the fact that 13 is a banned number. The most common include these methods below:
- Omission: You can skip from the 12th to the 14th.
- Relabeling: A lot of architects use the 13th floor as a “mezzanine” floor or as a “ballroom” floor. In other words, the floor will exist, but it’ll have a name label rather than a number label.
- An Extension Of The Last Floor: In some cases, you’ll see the 13th floor get labeled as “12A” or “12B.”
Yes, Selling The 13th Floor Can Be That Difficult
It may seem crazy, but due to the sheer stigma that the number 13 has, people have opted out of having 13th floors and 13th units. Many landlords and architects like to keep things on the lucky side, so sometimes, it’s a personal preference of the building owner.
However, many landlords avoid having a 13th floor because there are a lot of renters and buyers who might refuse to live on the 13th floor. In addition, since these units tend to be hard to move on the market, they are generally sold at a discount price.
Most landlords do not want to deal with having to entice renters into renting a place just because of the number on the elevator. As a result of the struggle that can come with having a 13th floor, you might even find a less suspicious landlord make this call too.
Are There Any Other Numbers That Have A Similar Stigma?
Believe it or not, the number 13 isn’t the only number landlords tend to avoid. There are other specific numbers that tend to be avoided in certain cultures too.
In Japan, the number four is associated with death—primarily because it is pronounced in a similar way. Due to the superstition, most buildings do not have a fourth floor or fourth unit. Japan is also more pronounced about its omissions too.
Obviously, there is no building in the world with a 666th floor. However, hundreds of hotels and office buildings have over 600 rooms on their property. Hearing that you are in “Room 666” doesn’t make for a good night’s sleep. After all, it is considered to be the number of the devil.
Should You Include A 13th Floor In Your Building?
Honestly, this is entirely up to you. The practice of excluding the 13th floor in buildings is starting to become less common simply because we are a society that is becoming less superstitious.
Besides, it can get confusing for people who are new to your building. With that said, there are still plenty of people who might breathe a sigh of relief from not having to work or live on the 13th floor.