10:06 AM 04/25/2012
We are trying to decide how to configure our house. I think there are pros and cons to both scenarios - rental on the top floor and rental on the garden level. My preference is for top floor rental because I am pushing to make the cellar usuable space - underpin if necessary - it will give us space for a rec room/laundry/home office so we will have 3 floors. I know we will lose space on the parlour floor because we will have to create separate entrances but I feel that is offset by the space we would gain in the cellar.
My husband isn't keen to have people overhead but I think we will get better rent if we do a top floor rental. Ceilings are higher and the light is better, and the question of sharing the garden becomes moot. (I don't want to share). We can soundproof during the reno, whichever scenario we decide on.
I would love to hear your thoughts.
It depends on the configuration of the house and your particular needs.
I find original one families often function better with a ground floor rental, while original two families are so much better with a top floor rental. We have a top floor rental and have not had a problem with noise, but we require a carpet over our bedroom and our tenant is very considerate.
10:28 AM 04/25/2012 | 0 Votes
Having lived in a parlor/garden floor duplex for years before buying a house, we were determined to have a ground floor rental, just because there was so much more light living on the parlor and third floors. If you have a top floor rental, the configuration tends to be bedrooms on the parlor floor and living space on the garden, which means you spend most of your time on the darkest floor.
We set up a ground floor rental with a shared hallway, so we can get to the basement without going through the tenant's space. We also fenced off a small area of the yard just outside the tenant's apartment, so they get outdoor space, yet we have exclusive access to the vast majority of the yard. On the other hand, it is more convenient to have the tenant above you (and have them worry about making too much noise) than you above them with the same worry. But the light made the difference for us.
10:52 AM 04/25/2012 | 0 Votes
plenty of people rent garden apartments without yard access. that's the terms of the rental and so be it. also some people do a yard share--tenant gets a small patio space under the deck usually if that's the case. if you're on top floors, you'll have some kind of deck anyway, which is where you'll do outdoor cooking and eating, so the garden is really more for actual gardening.
I'd urge you to consider the same construction dollars that would go to a basement dig out could go to a top floor add on, if you have the FAR to build.... and I think a garden rental is the most privacy for everyone and best light and ceilings for landlords. We have tenants above us and it's fine. since we're in a three family, that's the way it has to be. But I do notice them coming and going whenever I'm on the parlor floor, even if noise is otherwise not an issue.
You should definitely talk to a realtor and look at rental ads before you decide a garden rental is necessarily worth less rent than a top floor. Give the tenants a washing machine in the basement and I think it's easily a draw. If you allow dogs too, that's appealing for a tenant and easy for them to walk the dog out the basement gate (even without the yard).
I grew up in a brownstone sleeping on the top floor and I do think the differences between ground floor and parlor floor living (where we are now) versus the top, is huge. It makes a big, big difference in the winter especially. That 3rd and 4th floor sunshine is heavenly on a cold day.
11:22 AM 04/25/2012 | 0 Votes
Exact same dilema : i pondered a lot last few months! fianlly dicided on bed rooms in basement, parlor floor as living + kitchen and top rental. our big reason was that i added extension for master bed on basement and craeted HUGE deck out the dining. its nice to go out t o garden from bedrooms.Though took me a while to convinced my hubby.
Also If its currently set up as top rental, changing it may need ALt- 1 filing with DOB and i would avoid it if i could (i am in the proffession) we are finishing up our Gut reno. welcome to ask more more -
1:29 PM 04/25/2012 | 0 Votes
For what it's worth, as a renter, I would rather rent a top floor with higher ceilings and better light than a basement with shared garden access. I imagine you could get a higher rent that way too, than with a basement unit with shared or no garden access.
2:27 PM 04/25/2012 | 0 Votes
when I went looking for rentals, I looked at a lot of garden apartments, and always passed them by as well, as they were always too dark for me, too. Yes, some people prefer garden level, usually because they like having garden access for pets and/or gardening....that is the real draw of a garden rental. some like, as mentioned above, having a wd in the basement....but if you are renovating, and have room, you could theoretically give a tenant a wd in the apartment on any level, if you wanted to. so, I do not like garden level living. too dark for me, even for bedrooms. maybe for a kitchen off a garden, but not for my main living room either. do not love it for dining or office either. maybe for a guest room in front. I have lived in top floor and parlor floor brownstone apartments....by far, I prefer sleeping on the top floor. I was always awakened by neighbors above me if I was not on top, though I never could enforce a rug and padding rule on those above me, not as a tenant or as coop owner. even with a rug, I think I would have been woken up. so definitely soundproof your ceiling if you go with tenants above, though you will lose ceiling height to do so. were I you, I would live on top and rent the garden out, even if you do not give garden access and get a bit less rent...there are renters who do not care for stairs and are always at work and so do not care about light. I would keep that wonderful light and undisturbed sleep for myself. If I wanted to use the basement, I would leave myself access via a locked stairway from the hall...this is what most owners do. If you want to give your tenant access to a portion of the basement and/or for storage, basement storage being another amenity some tenants like and need, you can carve out space, otherwise keep it to yourself. It is still useful space to you, even if not directly connected to your main living space. but then, I cannot see living in a cellar...it would be worse than garden level to me. all I would put in a cellar would be a gym and storage. i do not like carrying laundry, so my wd would be on a bedroom floor. But if you like spending time in a cellar, and do not crave light, and are not disturbed by noise above you when sleeping, go with your plan...we are all different.
3:16 PM 04/25/2012 | 0 Votes
From my perspective the big advantage of the ground floor rental is that you have the feel of a house on the top floors - internal staircase rather than having to share access at parlor level. This is slightly different as we have an upper triplex but we also have a finished basement with access via a corridor we can share or not - the rental loses some space this way but we have full access.
5:22 PM 04/25/2012 | 0 Votes
I would also suggest that the garden level rental is the way to go. Particularly if you are doing a gut reno (which I am gettings hints of from your posting), the space and light you will gain by eliminating the common hallway, putting in a skylight and creating an opening down to the parlor will be worth more in daily quality of life that the few extra dollars from a rental with "high" ceilings.
Going forward, it will also be much easier to combine that rental unit into a one-family configuration if that is what you want to do down the road. If you want private access to the cellar, create a simple corridor on the garden level at the base of your (private) stair to the cellar door, and move the tenant door to the front room near the lower entrance.
A new deck at the parlor level with a stair down to the garden gives you the best of both worlds, and the tenant can have limited "garden" access to the area underneath. To most tenants, this alone is already a huge perk and counts for much more than higher ceilings. With the rental market as hot as it is, I really don't think you will have trouble getting a solid rent with this configuration.
10:31 PM 04/25/2012 | 0 Votes
Having lived in a parlor/garden floor duplex for years before buying a house, we were determined to have a ground floor rental, just because there was http://www.mbchief.com so much more light living on the parlor and third floors. If you have a top floor rental, the configuration tends to be bedrooms on the parlor floor and living space on the garden, which means you spend most of your time on the darkest floor.
11:32 PM 04/25/2012 | -1 Votes
This is a no brainer. Why would you want to share the stairs on your parlour level with someone living above when you could have them live below and enter under the stoop? And yes, typically the ceilings are lower on the garden level and you probably have grates over the windows.
Build yourself a parlour deck though.
8:01 AM 04/26/2012 | 0 Votes
I opted to take the top floors and rent the garden floor with shared access to Byard. I'm not a gardner at this point so it made sense for the premium associated with garden access for the rental unit to be more valuable. I'm with your husband, in terms of noise beneath being preferrable to noise above. We have an office and washroom in the basement, little bit of a pain carting clothes up and down, but I prefer potential water issues with the Washer to happen in the basement and not upstairs.
12:08 PM 04/26/2012 | 0 Votes
You mention the loss of space. Keep in mind that having the third floor rental means you now need your own set of stairs internal to your apartment. You must be able to get from one floor of your apartment to the other without entering the shared space. The effort and expense of putting in another staircase would be quite significant, and it takes up more room, which is now at a premium because you're giving over the stair hall to the tenant.
You can still retain access to the cellar by keeping the stair hall in the basement (garden level) as part of the entry hall.
1:50 PM 04/26/2012 | 0 Votes
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4:53 AM 01/24/2013 | 0 Votes