If you’re someone who has a basement and it’s currently unused, then you may be interested in converting it into a rental unit. Having an extra source of income next to your main income could help make things easier.

Consider the legal implications of renting out your basement before signing any agreements. Health and safety issues, like radon or mold infestation, may also affect your ability to rent the space.

When you start to convert a basement into a viable rental space, it is important to address the basics like finishing or walls and a floor that can be walked on. The right flooring and adequate bathroom space are also key. A kitchenette can be a useful addition, in order to save time and effort when cooking or laundry.

1. Local Authority Permission

To start, you need to find out if renting out your basement is legal in your area. If the area is good to go, the next step is to ask: What are the construction requirements?

It may be possible that there are different regulations you need to take into consideration depending on if you are building or remodeling a home.

The basement in your house might not comply with building regulations. This makes it hard to sell your house at a later date and means that you will need to get sorted for the work being done by the local building authority.

2. Budget Planning

Creating a budget before starting on the basement can help you avoid overspending. You’ll also know how much money to set aside for maintenance. Budgeting for a new basement can reduce the amount of time it will take you to get back what you’ve invested and find out if the project is profitable.

Building a basement results in a lot of expenses, not to mention the upfront costs. Thus, it is important to budget for repairs and maintenance right after the build stage so you can cover any unexpected expenses as they arise.

3. Make It Presentable

There are several ways you can make your basement rental unit look more appealing to tenants.

A basement is often very neglected, so it’s important to find ways of updating and decorating the space. It does not need to be pristinely clean or brand new, but make sure everything is in good repair. If a huge expense is required, you should consider other options as well.

One way to make your basement more appealing is to replace the knobs and handles on your kitchen cabinets or the faucets in your kitchen and bathrooms. You can also make your basement more appealing by installing new floorings such as concrete or tile.

4. Realistic Floor Plan

The basement floor plan will determine your living space. You can’t make major renovations like adding new rooms to the basement, so if you convert an unfinished one, it may be best to build a studio apartment on the upper floor.

If you have an unfinished basement, and there are already rooms in it (like a kitchen, bathroom, living room, and bedroom), consider removing some of the walls in order to make more floor space. Consider integrating storage space and, if possible, installing a laundry room.

There are many factors that go into the floor plan of a basement flat. It should look how you want it to, be based on your existing floor plan, and will also be affected by your budget.

5. Natural Light

Many basement flats don’t get much natural light. In fact, they can feel like a dark dungeon. If this is the case then you might want to keep in mind that potential tenants might not want to live here.

Choosing a window well or an exit that allows sunlight into the room can help a lot with lighting. Installing solar tubes in the basement could be an alternative worth considering due to their ability to provide many benefits such as better illumination.

It’s up to you how the natural light enters the unit – but it’s important that your future tenants are able to get vitamin D without needing to go outside and enjoy the sun.


If you’re considering a basement renter, think about the level of maintenance they need and make sure to tell your potential tenants during conversations. If their potential basement renter has questions about your home, make sure to be upfront about what needs to be done.

Some people might be afraid of taking care of a basement, it’s important to make sure the house is clean before renting it out and that tenants won’t have any problems with tasks like maintaining the garden, taking out the trash, and sweeping the floors, as well as cleaning the toilet.

Also Read:

How To Set Up a Legal Secondary Unit in Your Basement

7 Minimum Requirements When Finishing a Basement

All You Need to Know About Building a Basement