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Real Estate Tips

5 Factors to Consider Before Renting a Basement Apartment

Posted on Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Look at light and humidity levels when you choose a basement apartment. 

"Basement apartments for rent" signs might be alluring, but are you ready to live in a basement suite? Like apartment living, basement suites come with their own specific challenges and opportunities. Consider these factors before you rent a basement apartment.

1. Ask Whether the Suite is Legal 

In some areas, basement suites must be registered to be legal. This also allows the government to regulate issues like safety and parking. Make sure that the basement suite is legal before you rent it, so that you do not end up having to move for legal reasons.

2. Look At Safety When You Look at Basement Apartments for Rent 

Basement apartments have unique safety concerns. According to SF Gates Home Guides, "ground-floor dwellings have a higher likelihood of break-ins, so (you should) ask the landlord about security measures for the apartment." Since the basement apartment is underground, you need to look closely at the emergency exits to make sure that you would feel comfortable getting out of the apartment in case of fire. Check to make sure that smoke and carbon monoxide alarms are working. 

Another concern in basement apartments is water ingress into the apartment. A good summer downpour may be a disaster for a basement apartment, depending on how water flows in the area. Look for well-maintained drainage channels that move flowing water away from the suite into drains. Look for signs of past water damage and signs of mold, and ask about it as well. 

Look into temperature control as well. Who controls the temperature of the home? Basements tend to be colder than the upstairs, so if your upstairs neighbors control the temperature, you may not be perfectly comfortable.

3. Are You Comfortable Sharing Space? 

In an apartment building, you are surrounded by neighbors. Everyone needs to respect other people's spaces. In the basement suite, you will be primarily connecting with those upstairs, and you need to be comfortable with this relationship. In fact, the people upstairs may even be your landlords. You will likely have shared laundry and storage. You also have to negotiate parking. It is possible that those upstairs may have children, and you will need to live with some level of noise. As you decide on the basement apartments for rent, decide whether you are comfortable having this kind of relationship with one other family.

4. What Kind of Outdoor Access Do You Want? 

While apartment buildings have common outdoor spaces, in basement suites, your access to the outdoors can vary. You may have access to and use of a yard. You may be able to walk through a yard, but have no use of it if the owners lives upstairs and use the space. Some basement apartments have very little outdoor space. You will need to decide if the outdoor access for your basement suite works well for your lifestyle. 

Basement apartments located in college neighborhoods are perfect for students.

5. What Amenities Does a Basement Apartment Bring? 

A basement apartment brings different amenities than an apartment in a complex. In an apartment building, you may have a storage locker. Storage varies in the basement suite. If you are lucky, you will have access to a shed or a storage area. However, you may only have the storage that is available inside your apartment.

Basement apartments can be in a different neighborhood then a multi-family building. If you love to live in single-family homes in the suburbs, renting a basement apartment can give you access to these neighborhoods. They can also be closer to neighborhood amenities such as colleges.

Depending on the apartment, you may have plenty of windows and access to the outdoors. However, basement apartments can also be dark. When you are looking for a basement apartment for rent, make sure that you are getting the best of the amenities the basement suites have to offer.

At Open for Homes, we are here to help you find the right home. Learn more about the wide variety of rental units available. Check out the blog at Open For Homes today.