For students or people living on their own, renting a basement apartment makes a lot of sense. Financially, they tend to be cheaper than a normal apartment or a studio apartment. This is great, especially if you work or go to school in a city where rent is normally too high to afford on your own. Also, basement apartments usually have more square footage than a regular apartment too. Before signing off to a lease, make sure to do your homework so you don’t end up in a world of trouble. Ask these questions before you lease your new basement apartment!
Is It Legal?
While you are being shown your new potential basement apartment, make sure that it has been approved by the proper authorities. The local laws of the city dictate whether or not that single family home had the approval to turn into a multi-family home. Landlords who have not received approval to do so, probably do not follow other rules and regulations including those for heating and plumbing. If you ever get into a dispute with the landlord, you could lose for occupying an illegal dwelling.
Is My Health at Risk?
A definite question to ask is whether or not the basement had ever incurred flooding. Basements are always the first to incur flood damage from bad weather and burst pipes. When you’re being shown the apartment, look for symptoms of water damage such as wet walls, mold and mildew, rust, rotting wood, & mineral deposits. If you notice any of these symptoms chances are the basement has incurred some type of water damage.
Also ask about pest problems such as rodents and insects, which are prevalent in basements. If there was a problem in the past make sure to follow up by asking about the current measures they are taking to keep the basement pest free.
What Do I Share with Other Tenants?
If the basement is not completely finished, meaning you have your own bathroom, laundry room, kitchen, etc., then chances are you will have to share some space with the people upstairs. Ask about what common areas are being shared and what the rules are between tenants.
If you drive a vehicle, ask about parking and whether the driveway is shared or if there is only street parking available. The last thing you want is to get towed by your own neighbors!
If utilities are not included in the rent, ask how they are split up among the tenants. You don’t want to pay for more than you have to!
How Safe Is This Apartment?
Apartments on the first floor or in the basement are more likely to be broken into. Ask your land lord if there are locks on all of the doors or even cameras around the property if you’re moving into a questionable neighborhood. While you are viewing the apartment, make sure that all the windows have locks and that they are in working order!
If you have a basement apartment and would like to inquire about waterproofing it, give us a call at (978) 262-1405 or visit our website today!