English basement

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An English basement is an apartment on the lowest floor of a building, generally a townhouse or brownstone, which is partially below and partially above ground level and which has its own separate entrance from the rest of the building.

Realty[edit]

English basements are often rented out separately from the main dwelling, either by a single landlord who owns both portions of the building or by a tenant of the building who sub-lets the English basement. English basements are most common in larger, older cities like London, New York City, Boston, and Washington, D.C..

Phrase[edit]

In other cities, such as Chicago and San Francisco, this space is referred to as a "garden apartment".[citation needed]. The phrase "English basement" is an Americanism. In the United Kingdom, this style of apartment is known as a "garden flat". The origin of the term "English basement" dates back to at least the mid-19th century. The earliest cite in the OED is 1853 ("1853 N.Y. Daily Times 8 July 5/3 (advt.) House for sale... A new three-story English basement house."). Some people refer to it as the "garden level". Building codes in most cities betray both phrases, stating that any floor partly below grade-level is simply a "basement" and a floor more than 50% below grade-level is a "cellar".[citation needed]