Single Family
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Single Family (by Bop [DC]) Jun 23, 2009 8:56 PM
       Single Family (by RR [WA]) Jun 24, 2009 12:44 AM
       Single Family (by Steve [MA]) Jun 24, 2009 4:14 AM
       Single Family (by billy [MA]) Jun 24, 2009 7:13 AM
       Single Family (by Virden [OH]) Jun 24, 2009 9:01 AM
       Single Family (by AllyM [NJ]) Jun 24, 2009 6:04 PM

Single Family (by Bop [DC]) Posted on: Jun 23, 2009 8:56 PM

State Specific Question About: DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA (DC)

I own a 3 level rowhouse with an above ground enlish basement. The english basement has a front and back door and has a full bath and kitchen. There is no way to get to the basement from inside the house. The basement has ceiling height of 6'9" at the front half, and 7' ceiling height in the back half. All utilities are on one meter. I was told that I could not rent the upper 2 levels ONLY because they do not have access to the basement. I also was told that I cannot rent the English basement because the ceiling height is too low. Was this a bad investment? Have you heard this before? I was told that it HAD to be classified as a Two Family Unit even if I rent just the upstairs, or I will have to add stairs. I contacted a stuctural engineer and architect and paid for a consultation. In order to build stairs I will have to one the steps through the twelve inch brick wall which separates the first half of basement from the second half which was dugged out in approx. 1920. I have several questions and concerns but I am unable to get a business license because the house does not meet the requirements of a single family rental nor a two family rental unless a make some very costly modifications from what I have been told. Has anyone experienced anthing like this?

Single Family (by RR [WA]) Posted on: Jun 24, 2009 12:44 AM

You will need to talk to someone who is very familiar with the local rules that you are talking about. Many of these things may be grandfathered unless you are making major changes to the building. Sometimes it's better to beg for forgiveness instead of asking for permission, some city agencies can be very hard to deal with and you can quickly open a can of worms.

Single Family (by Steve [MA]) Posted on: Jun 24, 2009 4:14 AM

Why did you buy this property?

How long have you owned this property?

Did you do any research before buying it?

What are the adjoining row houses used as?

Do they have similar utility & basement height issues?

Who has been giving you this info?

What is it that you actually want to do? Rent this out as 2 units, 1 unit or perhaps sell.

How did you pick this architect & engineer? Have they modified similar row houses?

Do your tax bills show this as a single unit or as 2 units?

Does your building department show this as a single unit or as 2 units?

This are the type of questions that you need to get answered before deciding what to do with this property?

In order to make an informed decision on this building I would get pricing on the following;

1. dividing the utilities up

2. adding stairs from basement to 1st floor consider a spiral stair vs a straight stair

3. moving upper floor utilities up to 1st floor if this eliminates having to provide basement access

4. lowering existing basement floors to gain head room

Single Family (by billy [MA]) Posted on: Jun 24, 2009 7:13 AM

no way to get into the basement fromn inside the house.u have a winner there. --208.58.x.xx

Single Family (by Virden [OH]) Posted on: Jun 24, 2009 9:01 AM

You have to take it all apart and build it to building code post WW1, below 7ft not habitable space, just storage for mechanical equipment - this is the tall crawl space. That may get you a single family rental, keep it locked just like a storm cellar. This would be a good place to live in but not for rental.

Single Family (by AllyM [NJ]) Posted on: Jun 24, 2009 6:04 PM

I had to shut down a basement apt. due to ceiling height also.

Every tenant needs to be able to get to the breaker box if a breaker goes off.

I'm wondering if you could install breakers on the first floor in a hallway accessible to floor one and two? That would solve that problem and you would then have two units to rent. That is the only reason I can think of why tenants need basement access.

Subject: RE: Single Family
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