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What is a basement apartment? Everything you need to know

25/09/2021 J HOUSE 0 Comment

Basement apartment appear in the center of big cities like Hanoi, Da Nang or Ho Chi Minh – where there are high-rise buildings and a dense population. The basement in the building is used by the owner and renovated and rented out, for the purpose of earning more income and adding value to any product.

What is a basement apartment? Advantages – disadvantages when renting an apartment in the basement

Apartments in the basement are quite scarce in the market, but tenants are less popular even though the rent is cheaper than other types of ordinary apartments. If you are considering renting a basement apartment to save costs. Below are guidelines for definitions, features, pros and cons, and important notes you need to know when renting this particular type of apartment.


A basement apartment is an apartment located below street level

What is a basement apartment?

A basement apartment is an apartment located below a street or other structure – usually an apartment building, but it can be a house or an office building.

  • Basement apartment concept in Vietnam

A basement apartment is an apartment located in the basement of a building, which can be an apartment building, a serviced apartment building or an ordinary house. Basement apartments can be designed like a regular apartment but with little or no natural light.

The interpretation and definition may vary depending on the laws governing different countries. Basically, the basement apartment is located below the ground like its name “basement”.

However, do not confuse a basement apartment with an apartment with a basement. So what are the basic features of a basement apartment or what a basement apartment will look like? Keep reading, you will have the answer.

Essential features of a basement apartment

When it comes to basement apartments, we often think of apartments without light, damp, cramped or noisy. Here are the basic characteristics of basement apartments you should know.

  • Basement apartments are located in the basement – ​​below ground level. That means you live underground.
  • There is a separate staircase leading to the basement apartment.
  • Low ceilings
  • No or very little natural light

Additional part: Height standards in the design of apartment basements in Vietnam (according to the law). The height of the apartment basement must be built at least 2.2m. The slope of the entrance to the basement is not allowed to exceed 15% of the depth. At the same time, there must be at least two entrances for vehicles.

With their own characteristics, basement apartments will bring separate living experiences and different benefits not just cost-effective apartments. Besides, apartments in the basement have certain potential risks. If you are a tenant, consider the pros and cons before signing a lease.


Basement apartments are cheaper than other common apartments

Advantages of basement apartments

A basement apartment may not be your first choice when considering renting. But there are a few advantages of basement apartments you can consider.

1. Cheap rent price – save money

Basement apartments often lacks light and have lower ceilings. So the rent price is usually cheaper than ordinary apartments in the same area.

2. Cooler temperatures – less air conditioning costs

The apartment below the ground is usually a few degrees lower than the apartment above. This is good when you are in Vietnam with a hot and sunny climate all year round. The temperature is cooler, which means you use less electricity for the air conditioner and save more money.

3. Have more privacy

Basement apartments are usually very few (1-2 apartments) and have their own entrance/exit. All of this makes the apartment more private and unobtrusive from neighbors.

4. Renovation can be easily accepted

Basement apartments in Vietnam are usually renovated (not newly built) apartments. So the fact that you can request a renovation to make the space inside the apartment more suitable for you is easily accepted by the landlord. It is understandable that the landlord is the beneficiary, especially if the renovation increases the value and amenities of the apartment.

5. Location downtown

Buildings with basements are usually those in the city center, where every square meter of space is fully utilized. Therefore, basement apartments are often located in the center of the city. Makes commuting more convenient and can be closer to where you work.


Basement apartments often have low ceilings and lack of light

Disadvantages of basement apartments

Most of the disadvantages of a basement apartment stem from its special feature – being located below ground level. Let’s explore to find out the disadvantages of basement apartment right below with JHouse:

1. Low ceiling

The first purpose of the basement is the parking space or the storage of the building. Therefore, the design of the ceiling height of the basement is usually lower than the standard ceiling height of a typical apartment. Low ceiling height and no natural light will make the basement apartment become stuffy and lifeless.

2. Lack of light

The apartment is located below ground level so there is no or very little natural light. You need to use more artificial light from lights for the basement apartment. Basement apartments are not an ideal living space for some people who like their space to be open and bright.

3. Expensive lighting costs

Lack of natural light, you need to use artificial light from electric lights. This makes you spend more on electricity costs for lighting each month.

4. Noise

Basements are often used for parking, and basement apartments are often renovated (not built from scratch). Therefore, the soundproofing system is limited and the noise from traffic is limited. Also, the basement is often the place for the pump to suck the septic tank out and the common laundry area of ​​the building, so you will hear the sound coming from them.

5. Flood risk

Although the basements all have drainage systems and water intake channels at the basement entrance to prevent water from entering the interior. However, anything can happen. In the rainy season in Vietnam, the amount of rainwater is high, the basements can be flooded (you can search for photos of basement flooding on google yourself). In addition, the basement will be the end of all sewage pipes from the upper floor. As a result, it is possible that a leak or broken pipe and water overflow into the basement apartment.

6. Many insects

Humidity and lack of light are the ideal environments for insects such as mosquitoes, cockroaches, mice, spiders or other insects. Plus, the basement is often a collection of trash cans – you know what to expect. Insects and odors can affect your health and make you uncomfortable.

7. Mold problems

Cooler temperatures, higher humidity, and lack of light are ideal environments for mold growth. Mold can be found in closets, shoe racks, bathrooms, or cracks in walls and floors.

Who is the apartment in the basement suitable for?

Although basement apartments have more disadvantages than advantages, there are still customers who are suitable for them. It is natural because it is not natural that the basement apartment was born. Here are a few potential tenants of basement apartments:

  • Students near universities who need a downtown location but want low rent
  • People who spend a lot of time working outside (less time at home), only come home to sleep, don’t need much light
  • People who are in financial trouble and want to save money on rent
  • People who like the dark
  • People who need an apartment to stay temporarily
  • And also single people

The basement apartment is different from other apartments. You are forced to accept some disadvantages that you cannot have. But in return you have more affordable prices.

Important notes when renting a basement apartment in Vietnam

You are really interested and have rented a basement apartment. Here are important notes you should refer to have a perfect rental plan:

  • Visit the apartment at the right time

It may sound a bit strange, but you should visit the basement apartment in the afternoon (preferably after 12:00 – 16:00). The simple reason for this is that at this time sunlight is at its greatest and you can see if daylight is enough for you.

  • Look for signs of mold and odors

You should check the apartment by smell and sight. Look for signs of damp, moldy or foul odors inside and outside the apartment. Inspect walls and ceilings for stains or discoloration.

  • Check the safety level

Part of the basement area was converted into an apartment, so the owner may have used unsatisfactory materials or did not care about the safety of the apartment. So you need to check the doors, the door locks, …

  • Noise test

Don’t leave the apartment early, linger and check the entrance and exit levels of other apartments to see if the noise level is right for you. In addition, you can see the area of ​​​​the basement and the number of vehicles that can be accommodated. Do not ignore the septic tank system and the common laundry area of ​​the building (if any).

  • Check for flooding in the area

You can ask the host directly, but the results are often not as expected. Check for flooding by directly observing the apartment at the base of the wall, looking for discoloration or stains. Or you can search for information on google and your friends.

Read more: 11 popular types of apartments for rent in Vietnam


There you have it – everything you need to know about basement apartments. Basic features, advantages – disadvantages and important notes when looking for a basement apartment. Basement apartments not only allow you to save on rental costs but also offer unique advantages compared to apartments on the ground.

Basement apartments aren’t for everyone and there are a lot of things to consider before deciding to move in, but they can make great short-term rental options while you consider a new area or start accumulating some savings towards a nicer place.


JHouse Content Team
The in-depth content development team on housing services for foreigners & Vietnamese in Vietnam. The content is simple, easy to understand, logically arranged to bring readers useful topics and information from real experiences. JHouse welcomes sharing & copying from you – Attach source & quote from JHouse, please!


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