Liability and renting a 2bdrm unit duplexed to basement

Asked by Alicat_0211, Illinois Tue May 5, 2009

We own a 2 flat building, live on the bottom floor and rent the top floor. We are hoping to move to a new home soon, and would then rent both units to cover the mortgage in the 2 flat building. Here is my concern: we finished the basement and duplexed our (1st floor) unit into the basement. We have a living room and bedroom down there for our use. I am sure the bedroom is not legal, since the windows are small. This was done for extra space for us after our 3rd child was born, but now that we are thinking of renting our unit to tenants, I am concerned about liability. Would we be ok if we rent it as a 2bedroom (both on 1st floor) unit with extra living space in basement (living room and OFFICE) and state on the lease that the basement room is NOT to be used as a bedroom? I would hate for something to happen and then we lose everything in a lawsuit! There are 2 exits (front and back) from the basement and 7 windows down there- but small. Is the basement itself a liability regardless?

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