DCRA Launches Website For Basement Landlords And Tenants | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

: News

DCRA Launches Website For Basement Landlords And Tenants

Play associated audio
Barrett Colombo has lived in his basement apartment in Mt. Pleasant for two years.
Rebecca Sheir
Barrett Colombo has lived in his basement apartment in Mt. Pleasant for two years.

By Rebecca Sheir

The so-called English basement is a widespread rental option in Washington, as row-house buyers often expect to lease their lower level to help with the mortgage. A new website from D.C.s Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs is educating landlords and tenants on how to rent out basement apartments legally.

Features on the website is a note from DCRA that says the agency has uncovered a number of illegal rentals recently, including units filled with carbon monoxide from leaky water heaters.

Certainly because there's less air flow in basement apartments, carbon monoxide and other hazards can be a bigger deal, says Barrett Colombo, who has been living in basement apartments like this cozy and rustic unit in Mt. Pleasant, for about three years.

"This is the main room," says Colombo, as he gives a tour of the place. "As you can see, its a shared space. And so we have a kitchen, a couch, and more of a table space."

Though Colombo hasn't encountered anything as hazardous as carbon monoxide, he says basement living does have its drawbacks.

"We saw some kind of terrestrial mollusk coming up out of the drain the other day," he recounts. "I mean, that's part of living near other animals that live at our same level."

The website offers guidelines and checklists for landlords, and a discussion forum for tenants. So far, users have posted items about licenses, exit points, ceiling heights-- but no mention of mollusks yet.

NPR

'Battle Creek' Tries To Shake Up CBS' Cop Show Formula

CBS' new cop show Battle Creek is based on a 12-year-old script by Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan. It's among three new network shows that aim to reinvent old TV concepts.
NPR

Italian Cheese Lovers Find Their Bovine Match Through 'Adopt A Cow'

The cheeses of the Italian Alps are prized for their flavor. But the tradition of cheese-making here is dying off. Now remaining farmers are banding together around an unusual adoption program.
NPR

How Is Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu's Washington Visit Playing In Israel?

The prime minister is headed to Washington to address Congress despite objections from the White House. Host Arun Rath speaks with NPR's Emily Harris iabout how Israelis regard the controversial trip.
NPR

A Neuroscientist Weighs In: Why Do We Disagree On The Color Of The Dress?

Robert Siegel speaks with Dr. Bevil Conway, a neuroscientist at Wellesley College, about the dress that has the whole Internet asking: What color is it?

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.