Basement Apartment Pros and Cons
Generally landlords will create an apartment in the basement area to help pay their mortgage or help with other bills. Landlords in most cases will take the time to create living space that accommodates modern technology to allow comfortable living. On the other hand landlords that rent houses will sometimes try to build a small apartment in the basement area of that house to create more revenue. With all things considered,the proper permits and inspections are required when building a basement apartment. Those who refuse to do this have built an illegal basement apartment which in some cases are not fit for human living.
Why Mold is Common in Basement Apartments
Mold is a common problem in basement apartments. Generally if properly inspected, the causes can be determined before construction is completed and not after everything is covered up. If the problems are not corrected before the construction begins, all that will be done is called a cover-up. When everything is brand new and looks nice we feel it is acceptable. However, the causes of the growing mold was not rectified, and now the mold is growing under the floating floor or behind the new gyproc and within' months you notice a funky smell (mold) or see the black fungus growing in the corners or in the bathrooms. You simply cannot slap up a few walls and call it an apartment. It is best to hire a trusting professional to ensure that all permits and construction is done properly in a professional manner.
Failure to Provide Proper Heat to the Basement Unit
In most cases control of the heat for the basement unit is controlled by the upstairs tenants. The problem with this is that the temperatures are different between units. If you noticed that basements are usually cool, well this is usually the case. On those damp days where you could use some warm it doesn't happen because the upstairs where the thermostat and control is, it is comfortable and the heat is never turned on making it damp and eligible for mold growth. On the flip side, in the warm summer months the basement apartments generally stay warmer because of the cement foundations. Thus, when the climate is comfortable in the upper unit and there is no need for air conditioning, the basement apartments are moist and sticky and in dire need of air circulation. This is the case in all below ground apartments that have no control of the thermostat.
Legally and for the prices that are charged for these apartments, each unit should have control of the apartments climate and should not have to rely on another tenant in another apartment to turn on the heat or the air conditioning.
Failures to Provide Peaceful and Quiet Living
Basement Apartments and Peaceful Living
If the basement apartment is insulated to code and was not a hack job built just because of the thought of easy money, then there should be no problem with noise. However, If the ceilings were not soundproofed properly, (or at all) then there is simply no peace and quiet. This is generally the case in illegal apartments. It's all about the money.
Sometimes there are no "Fire Escapes" in basement apartments.
It is a good idea when looking at basement apartments to make sure you can get out in case of an emergency. In unit buildings where there is more than one family living, the chances of disaster grows. Make sure that if you are renting a basement apartment, or any apartment, that there is a way out other than the front or back door. Most basement apartments have only one way in and one way out. Think about this... What if that way is blocked?
If a Firefighter wearing "All His Gear" cannot Easily Access Lower Apartments through the windows then it is an illegal apartment and human safety is put at risk. Fire Escapes are crucial to lower units due to limited window space.
Did You Know?
In some (most) areas the landlord is required to put your last months rent payment and security deposit in to a separate holding account and by law (check the laws in your area) is required to give you the interest accumulated from your money once a year. (Even though the landlord holds the money, it is still yours.)