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What you need to know before renting a Basement Suite

Updated: Jan 20


open concept kitchen and living room in a basement suite

A basement suite is a secondary suite that is quite literally underground or below ground level. These suites can have shared, semi-private or private entrances. Basement suites must have their own living, cooking, sleeping and sanitary facilities. How do you know if living in a basement suite is for you? Well let's look at the advantages and disadvantages of living here as a student renter.


Advantages

The advantages of living in a basement suite are:

  • The rent is cheaper and can give you savings of more than 20% on your rent. Compare this basement room and this main floor room with utilities included to see the difference.

  • It maintains your privacy because the entire suite is rented by you and has its own private entrance.

  • It can be more spacious than an apartment. Filter for basement units here to view available off campus basement suites!


Disadvantages include:

  • Basement suites and rooms will have a cooler temperature because they're quite literally underground, which can be a lead to higher utility bills during the winter months.

  • Less privacy for you if you've rented a room. This is due to shared areas like the laundry room. Other shared areas include the backyard, parking areas/garage and storage. Extra fees may be added for parking.

  • Less access to sunlight due to smaller and fewer windows.

  • Media depiction of unsafe basements may lead you to be more concerned about your security, but this is a sincere concern to have due to the accessibility of basement-level windows.


What should you ask your host before deciding to move into a basement suite?

When viewing the basement unit or room, make sure to ask the host about:

  1. If safety measures such as fire alarms and carbon monoxide detectors are up to date;

  2. Security of the neighborhood you'll be living in;

  3. If you have access to the thermostat to control the temperature and what temperatures to expect;

  4. How much the shared entrance is used, if there is one;

  5. If you should expect to see any pests and who's responsibility(landlord's or yours) it is to take care of that;


In conclusion, a basement room or suite is ideal for students who:

  • may have a smaller budget for rent and utilities

  • have a quieter social life

  • want to be near people but still maintain their privacy

  • do their best work at night to take advantage of less access to sunlight

  • enjoy cooler temperatures

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