Photo: Nitin Mukul

Dear Neighbor,

It’s raining again, and we know how that went the last time … Hurricane Ida wreaked havoc in the region destroying basement apartments. Herculean cleanup measures were needed to restore and most importantly ensure a safe living environment. Here’s a checklist to help you stay safe in your basement apartment as well as know your rights as a tenant.

Keeping your basement clean:
One of the best ways to keep your basement apartment clean is by maintaining good air quality. To avoid mold and mildew from growing on your walls and resulting in a foul smell, invest in a dehumidifier. This will lower the moisture level in your apartment. See which dehumidifier is best for your space.

You should also ask your landlord to test the air quality in your apartment. You can also consider purchasing an air purifier system. More on which one could be right for you here


Photo: Adam Winger

Avoiding floods and flood damage:
The best way to take care of your belongings in a basement is to be prepared for potential flooding. Some renters were not able to salvage anything from Hurricane Ida. Unfortunately, basement flooding is bound to happen again, so consider protecting your most valuable items. For example, keep important documents or items in waterproof storage bins. Avoid storing things underneath beds and couches etc. Follow these steps to clean out your basement after a flood. 

If your basement gets flooded beyond what you are able to clean up and restore yourself, it is good to have professional companies clean your basement. A.S.A.P. Restoration Inc. and 911 Restoration are some restoration service companies to keep in mind.

You can also ask your landlord to consider waterproofing your basement. 

Urge your landlord to fix any leaks, no matter how small, when you see them appear. It is very easy to put a bucket underneath and call it a day, but you never know if the leak can be a part of a larger issue that could be devastating when heavy rain falls quickly over an extended period. 

Knowing your rights:

Document everything with photos, videos and receipts if you have been making repairs yourself. As a tenant, the best way you can protect yourself is by documenting every issue you have. In case your landlord does not fix the issues, you have an organized list that you can use if you decide to sue for damages in housing court. 

There are many organizations that offer help to tenants and help them understand their rights. Tenants & Neighbors is a great organization with a bounty of resources. The organization highlights your rights as a tenant, provides a blueprint on how to form a tenant’s association, and will help you find legal assistance if needed. Visit their resources page to learn more.

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