Looking at Basement Flats

In my quest for a new place to live, I went to visit a split-level flat yesterday that would be described either as a basement, garden, or lower-ground-floor flat, depending on your point of view and which description you prefer.

I’ve never really explored many of these flats before; not for any particular reasons, but because I’ve never particularly needed to; a couple of friends used to live in split-level basement flats (separately, I should add, and at different times) in Ramsgate, and they seemed perfectly serviceable, but I certainly never contemplated one for myself to live in. I suppose because I always had other flats available to consider.

But this particular flat was intriguing enough for me to consider, so off I trundled to get the guided tour by the agent; a fortunately lovely lady who was able to show me what the flat was like. It was one of those with its entrance down on the basement level, with exterior stairs leading down and then interior stairs leading back up when you got past the bedrooms and bathroom. All fair enough, I suppose, given the fact that it was basement level; a bit difficult for kids, perhaps, having to negotiate the stairs, etc, but that’s the nature of the beast.

The interior, it has to be said, was very nice; well-presented, clearly well-decorated, and a decent size. I liked the style and the design, and it felt warm and welcoming. All that said, there was a musty smell to the environment that I couldn’t entirely place – there was a rabbit cage in the second bedroom that made me uncomfortable seeing a pet n such an enclosed environment – and the fact that the stairs were awkward.

Speaking to people afterwards, it surprised me how split they become on the subject of basement flats. Some don’t mind them, some are incredibly anti-them. It hadn’t occurred to me to be anti-basement flats purely on the basis of being a basement flat; I didn’t – and still don’t – have a problem with them on that basis. I can understand concerns about damp and having at least half the flat under ground level, but if the flats are well-maintained and well-protected, then I don’t necessarily worry about anything else.

But I’m surprised at the determination with which some people dislike that style of flat, and so I want some views on basement-style flat in order to see whether or not I’m being so open-minded that my brain threatens to leak out through my ears, or whether they are perfectly serviceable homes. Thoughts?

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