the point i am trying to make is that most basement and attic units are "illegal" for a reason - namely that some corner was cut and some code not met. it is inferior housing. no offense intended.
All basement apartments are not created equal and some are up to code and habitable while others are not. Research is the key. Check with the Buildings Dept where you live to help you determine your best options. Some people have been very successful in their certificate of occupancy applications (e.g. from doing a few cosmetics to full blown renovations). I know engineer reports can be very expensive, so start with gathering all the free PDFs and guides the Dept of Buildings has to offer you. If it is a matter of having a licensed professional file the plans and sign off on it, it may be well worth it to get the job done right the first time around and enjoy your tax write offs for the home improvement upgrades. At least when you do eventually rent it out, you wont have to worry about being fined by the inspectors. If you eventually decide to sell the property down the road, your certificate of occupancy for your multifamily unit will add $$$ of value to the deal. The basement apartment conversion is not impossible, it just needs to conform to the codes of your jusridiction.
Wishing you the best with your project.
the most "honest of honest" people you know? they are collecting rent from people living in unsafe and illegal apartments. people who do this are slumlords....
This information was collected from a press release at CityofChicago.org:
Departments of Buildings, Zoning Task Force Targets Illegal Conversions
Inspectors Cite Owners of Illegal Apartment Units
An illegal conversion occurs when a building owner constructs additional living space that is not allowed by building or zoning code.
On February 23-25, 2005 a task force of City building and zoning inspectors visited 57 locations in the Archer Heights, Brighton Park and West Lawn neighborhoods, and wrote scores of citations for code violations.
"When landlords illegally convert their single-family homes into multiple dwelling units, they often cause unsafe situations," said Department of Buildings Commissioner Stan Kaderbek. "Our joint task force took immediate action against a serious problem."
The most commonly cited building code violations included: no emergency exits; no ventilation equipment for kitchens or bathrooms in basement and attic apartments; inadequate heating systems for attic apartments; and inadequate light and ventilation for basement apartments.
FYI: Carbon monoxide (CO) is a odorless, colorless gas produced by burning fossel fuels (Fossil fuels shall include natural gas, coal, kerosene, oil, propane and wood etc.) Exposure to lower levels of CO over several hours can be just as dangerous as exposure to higher levels for a few minutes.
Those most at risk are:
3. People with lung or heart disease.
4. Pregnant women.
Signs and symptoms of CO poisoning include:
5. Nausea, Vomiting.
6. Dizziness, Confusion.
7. Trouble breathing.
In NYC, an adult family member may stay in a basement bedroom without penalty, but it is not recommended for a guest (e.g. tenant or anyone else), so I am assuming there is a personal liability / insurance issue in addition to the possible health hazzards. Regards, C.