When is a bedroom a bedroom?

When is a bedroom a bedroom?

This is a question asked time and time again by both sellers & buyers. In the question & answer section of The Inman News I found the following:

DEAR BARRY: I am looking for the legal definition of a bedroom. I bought a house that was listed as a four-bedroom home. Two bedrooms are in the remodeled attic, with short, doorless alcoves for closets. And I'm not sure if these rooms are large enough to qualify as bedrooms. Can you help me to figure this out?

DEAR CHRISTINE: Here are the basic requirements for a bedroom:
1) A bedroom must be at least 70 square feet in area, with no dimension less than 7 feet.
2) The ceiling must be at least 7 feet high above the finished floor. If the ceiling is sloped, 50 percent of it can be less than 7 feet, but no part of it should be less than 5 feet.
3) There must be an openable window for light, ventilation, and fire escape. For light, the window size must be at least 8 percent of the floor area. For ventilation, the openable portion of the window must be at least 4 percent of the floor area. For fire escape, the window must be at least 5.7 square feet in area. The opening must have a minimum height of 24 inches, a minimum width of 20 inches, and a maximum sill height of 44 inches. (Note: There are additional window requirements for basement bedrooms, but this has been discussed in previous articles.)
4) Contrary to popular belief, no closet is required in a bedroom.

To write to Barry Stone, please visit him on the Web at www.housedetective.com.

In this area it’s been commonplace to also add that a bedroom also has it’s own door. Often I find when showing properties that sometimes you have to go through 1 bedroom to get to the next. This is a huge area of confusion to buyers. There are many times when we’ve been looking at homes and been amazed at what is considered a bedroom. I’ve always found that it’s best to consult with local building departments to find out their requirements for minimum standards. Private sewerage systems are typically sized based upon the number of bedrooms, I haven’t found any in Medford but this is an area to pay attention to in areas where private sewerage is common.


angelo h said…
A lot of information you have shared in here about a bedroom. Thanks! :)

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