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Old 04-22-2008, 11:12 PM
 
Location: Toronto
215 posts, read 1,594,607 times
Reputation: 142

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I'm curious if anyone here lives in / has lived in a basement apartment? I've been looking at a few and am wondering what I should be aware of? Are there any issues that I should keep an eye open for?
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Old 04-23-2008, 05:26 AM
 
203 posts, read 858,482 times
Reputation: 141
Quote:
Originally Posted by nickjbor View Post
I'm curious if anyone here lives in / has lived in a basement apartment? I've been looking at a few and am wondering what I should be aware of? Are there any issues that I should keep an eye open for?
Last apartment i lived in..........imagine this?!..........3am to get up to take a leak............stepping in 2ft of sewage water!...........look for water damage and stay long enough to hear if the neighbours are noisy(and nosey)
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Old 04-23-2008, 07:21 AM
 
Location: Sometimes Maryland, sometimes NoVA. Depends on the day of the week
1,501 posts, read 11,069,764 times
Reputation: 1100
One of the biggest issues in a means of egress in case of a fire. This means the windows are all properly sized for a person the get through. The Internatioinal Residential Code (IRC) says an egress window needs to be at least 20" wide, at least 24" high, no more than 44" off the floor, and should have at surface area of at least 5.7 sq ft (note that a 20x24" windows does not give you 5.7 sq ft). Also, if there are security bars on the window, they need to be the to be the kind that can be removed in case of a fire.

I know fires are rare, but the last thing you want is to be on the new for being trapped in a basement when the house burnt down
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Old 04-23-2008, 10:22 AM
 
27,256 posts, read 55,725,951 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rubytue View Post
One of the biggest issues in a means of egress in case of a fire. This means the windows are all properly sized for a person the get through. The Internatioinal Residential Code (IRC) says an egress window needs to be at least 20" wide, at least 24" high, no more than 44" off the floor, and should have at surface area of at least 5.7 sq ft (note that a 20x24" windows does not give you 5.7 sq ft). Also, if there are security bars on the window, they need to be the to be the kind that can be removed in case of a fire.

I know fires are rare, but the last thing you want is to be on the new for being trapped in a basement when the house burnt down
Good points... I would want to verify the apartment is indeed a legal unit before investing any time or money on it.
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Old 04-23-2008, 10:54 PM
 
Location: Bronx, NY
2,806 posts, read 15,494,018 times
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In my area most basement apartments are usually illegal, but tolerated by the authorities.

Problems that I would be aware of: flooding, insect infestations, mold, and just general dampness.
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Old 05-09-2009, 04:26 PM
 
Location: South Carolina
14,632 posts, read 20,446,895 times
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yes make sure it is legal . believe me you dont want to get tied up in that kind of mess !!! good luck in finding something suitable .
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Old 05-09-2009, 04:44 PM
 
Location: Austin, TX
16,779 posts, read 43,294,121 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rubytue View Post
One of the biggest issues in a means of egress in case of a fire. This means the windows are all properly sized for a person the get through. The Internatioinal Residential Code (IRC) says an egress window needs to be at least 20" wide, at least 24" high, no more than 44" off the floor, and should have at surface area of at least 5.7 sq ft (note that a 20x24" windows does not give you 5.7 sq ft). Also, if there are security bars on the window, they need to be the to be the kind that can be removed in case of a fire.

I know fires are rare, but the last thing you want is to be on the new for being trapped in a basement when the house burnt down
The most important thing here is for you to make sure you can get out in a fire, regardless of it meeting a code requirement.

Older structures are not going to be subject to modern building codes and probably won't comply. They are not retroactive. Chances are that any residence that has had part of it turned into an apartment, whether its an attic, upstairs, or basement, there is a good chance its not fully legal. i.e. most residential property is zoned single family, so you are not supposed to subdivide it and rent part of it out to someone who is not family.

Regardless most communities probably have a good number of these, they are tolerated unless some kind of problem develops, and can be good economical places to live.

It would be more important to me to make sure flooding and moisture seeping thru the walls is not a problem, make sure it has good heating and ventilation, and the sounds of someone walking across the floor overhead isn't going to wake you up repeatedly during the night. Put in your own smoke detector if there isn't already one, they are inexpensive at any home improvement store, check the batteries once per year.
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Old 05-10-2009, 04:21 PM
 
Location: Knoxville, TN
179 posts, read 502,411 times
Reputation: 107
I live in my future in-laws basement with my fiance, not exactly the same situation, but I can say that my experience is not very pleasant. I have almost no control over the temperature and it is always freezing. Also, I need way more light than my current living situation is providing, I feel depressed because of it (esp. in Michigan winter) with little light. Also I obviously can't have any houseplants because of the lack of light. Otherwise it's not so bad.
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Old 05-10-2009, 08:26 PM
 
Location: Austin, TX
16,779 posts, read 43,294,121 times
Reputation: 9356
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pearl14256 View Post
I live in my future in-laws basement with my fiance, not exactly the same situation, but I can say that my experience is not very pleasant. I have almost no control over the temperature and it is always freezing. Also, I need way more light than my current living situation is providing, I feel depressed because of it (esp. in Michigan winter) with little light. Also I obviously can't have any houseplants because of the lack of light. Otherwise it's not so bad.
*criticism

@ Pearl,

Yes, the lack of day light can be a real downer. Please, go out and walk or sit in the sun each day. Turn your face up to the sunshine and remember these lyrics by the beatles. Aren't they wonderful? * ....

*
Quote:
Good day sunshine

I need to laugh, and when the sun is out

Good day sunshine

We take a walk, the sun is shining down
Burns my feet as they touch the ground

Good day sunshine

Then we lie beneath a shady tree
I love her and she's loving me
She feels good, she know she's looking fine
I'm so proud to know that she is mine

Good day sunshine
*criticism is a "fair use" of copyrighted material.
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