Basement Conversion to Rental Unit

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Topic: Basement Conversion to Rental Unit

Real Estate September 17, 2013 at 3:01 pm

Basement Conversion to Rental Unit

A few questions (1) Does zoning have an impact on the rights to legally rent a basement unit apartment? If so, what does the zoning code have to be in order to legally rent? (2) If not separately metered, what is the process to go about doing that, and what is the cost?

Any information would be greatly appreciated!

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There is some good information from DCRA at rentmydcbasement[dot]wordpress[dot]com.

The R-4 and R-5 zoning overlays allow basement conversions by right (I think; I am not a lawyer). Otherwise you might have to the BZA to get a variance, with open comment period, letters from your neighbors, etc. etc. There is a link to the zoning overlay map at the DCOZ web site.

As far as being separately metered, it is not required but you might be adding service from PEPCO anyway if you go through the whole CofO route. At which point you might as well get separately metered. I would guess the cost at $5-7k if service is being added. But I am not an electrician either.

As long as a bedroom has a window and is up to code, it is a bedroom.
Our former landlord tried to rent a 3 br./2 ba basement apt. w/o a window in one and no fire escape and that was a code violation on top of not fixing repairs and no heat on the cold winter months for 3 yrs straight.
A fine was imposed but was disregarded. So we all went and took him to L&T (landlord tenant) court.
And won.

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