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Re: What legally constitutes a bedroom?
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brewster wrote:
Tictaktoe: While that is code for new construction, older nonconforming buildings are grandfathered in. For example few older buildings have 36" wide windows for fire escapes as the code requires, but they're not in violation.


Yes, grandfathered ones seems to be ok and the critical year is 1951. Wondering if Modera Lofts can still list those rooms as 2 BRs..

Posted on: 2017/1/21 5:14
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Re: What legally constitutes a bedroom?
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Tictaktoe: While that is code for new construction, older nonconforming buildings are grandfathered in. For example few older buildings have 36" wide windows for fire escapes as the code requires, but they're not in violation.

Posted on: 2017/1/20 16:45
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Re: What legally constitutes a bedroom?
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jc_dweller wrote:
The window requirement is fire code. There are no ways to "get around" that requirement, as far as I know. As it relates to walking through one room to get to another, I do not believe there is a prohibition against that, but marketing would make it more or less un-viable in this day and age.


(1) There is ... The rooms should open to passage way or a living area NOT inside another Bedroom (See Means of Egress - D &E towards the end)


(2) Regarding the fire code, a lot of condos with central A/C heater have these gas heater closets that opens up right from the bedroom, and they are legal. I know that Windsor at Liberty Rentals have gas heater closets inside Bedroom and they are legal (have had inspection done by the inspectors) so just having a gas heater closet next to den or bedroom should not be a problem (though there seems to be one specific for the basement - read below).


This is from Jersey City, NJ Code of Ordinance, Chapter 254 Article 7

ARTICLE VII - Minimum Space, Use and Egress Requirements

B.Required space in sleeping rooms. Except as required under Subsection C, each room utilized for sleeping purposes shall have a minimum dimension of seven (7) feet and a minimum net floor area of seventy (70) square feet for the initial occupant, fifty (50) square feet for each additional occupant, except that children under one (1) year of age shall not be counted as occupants for the purpose of this section. In existing structures built prior to 1951, if any dwelling has no room at least ten (10) feet by twelve (12) feet in size, two (2) persons will be allowed to sleep in the largest room therein so long as it is nine (9) feet in size at least.

? 254-33. - Ceiling height requirements.
A.Habitable rooms. At least sixty (60) square feet of floor area of every habitable room shall have a ceiling height of at least seven and one-half (7 ?) feet and the floor area of that part of any room where the ceiling height is less than five (5) feet shall not be considered as part of the floor area in computing the total floor area of the room for the purpose of determining the maximum permissible occupancy thereof. Habitable rooms in dwellings legally erected or converted prior to 1951 shall have a ceiling height of at least six and one-half (6 ?) feet.

B.No basement space shall be used as a habitable room or dwelling unit unless:
(1)The floor and walls are impervious to leakage of underground and surface runoff water and are insulated against dampness.
(2)The total of openable window area in each room is equal at least to the minimum as required by? 254-24A(1)(a) and (b) and is located entirely above the grade of the ground adjoining such window area.
(3)The total of openable window area in each room is equal at least to the minimum as required by ? 254-24A(1)(c) of Article V of this chapter.
(4)There are no ducts, pipes or other obstructions less than six (6) feet six (6) inches above floor level.
(5)All furnace or other heating facilities are so located, insulated and separated from living areas by fireproof partitions or walls necessary pursuant to regulations of the Fire Chief to prevent the same from constituting an undue hazard to the safety and health of the occupants.
(6)There is a second means of egress conforming to ? 254-38C of this Article.

? 254-35. - Use of sleeping rooms as passageways.

Except in buildings legally erected for or converted to residential use prior to 1951, no dwelling or dwelling unit containing two (2) or more sleeping rooms shall have such rooms so located that access to a bathroom or water closet compartment intended for use by occupants of more than one (1) sleeping room can be had only by going through another sleeping room; nor shall room arrangements be such that access to a sleeping room can be had only by going through another sleeping room or a bathroom or water closet compartment.

? 254-38. - Means of egress.

A.Primary. Every dwelling unit shall have safe and unobstructed means of egress from every floor at ground level and above leading to safe and open space at ground level and accessible to a street.

B.Secondary. In addition, there shall be a suitable and separate secondary exit from each dwelling unit by means of a doorway, stairway, protected passageway or openable window.

C.Secondary from basement. The second means of egress from any basement dwelling unit may be by a second door located independently from the first means of egress and leading directly to the outside of the premises, or, in the alternative, by an openable window located no more than three (3) feet above floor level.

D.From building three (3) or more stories above grade. In buildings three (3) or more stories above grade that are used as boardinghouses or lodging houses, or contain three (3) or more dwelling units or contain one (1) or more nonresidential uses and two (2) dwelling units, the secondary exit from the third story and from every additional story, if any, shall be by a metal fire escape or an enclosed stairway.

E.From rooming units. Except in single-family dwellings, rooming units shall have a door opening directly into a common hallway or areaway. Any rooming unit located in the basement or at ground level shall be provided with a second means of egress that meets the same requirements as provided in Subsection C of this section. Where there is a rooming unit located above the first story, the common hallways or areaway into which it opens shall have two (2) means of egress remote from each other and one (1) of these shall open to a street of fireproof passage leading to a street and one (1) shall open to a yard or other safe space of sufficient area to accommodate all persons in the building.

F.Access to exit. Access to any exit required by Subsections A through D of this section shall not necessitate passage through any other dwelling unit or part thereof nor shall any exit be subject to locking by any device which impedes or prevents ready egress.

G.Door in path of egress. Any door in the path of egress shall be at least thirty (30) inches in width with a minimum height of six (6) feet six (6) inches, shall be free from obstruction and accessible from common hallways or areaways and shall open in the direction of travel if it leads to a fire escape or if it is located in a tenement house erected after 1904 or in any building erected as, or converted into, a dwelling after 1951.

H.Openable window in path of egress. Where a window forms a part of egress from a dwelling unit or rooming unit or from a common areaway or hallway to a fire escape, the window opening shall be at least thirty-six (36) inches in width and thirty-four (34) inches in height, whether the window is double hung or single hung. The bottom of the opening or the sill height shall not be more than three (3) feet six (6) inches above the floor. Said window shall be easy to open and shall lead directly to the fire escape or to the immediately adjacent outside ground area with maximum drop of three (3) feet six (6) inches thereto. Screens, storm windows and other barriers to the outside shall be readily opened or removed so as not to form any obstruction to occupants seeking egress in cases of emergency.

I.Location and number of exits. Where two (2) or more exits are required, each exit shall be as remote as practicable from the other exit or exits. All the exits shall be of such number and so located that the distance of travel from the door of each rooming unit or dwelling unit on each floor shall not exceed fifty (50) feet except in buildings of fireproof construction or in buildings equipped with automatic sprinkler systems throughout where the maximum distance of travel from the door of any unit to the nearest exit shall not exceed one hundred (100) feet, provided that two (2) of the exits shall be at least fifty (50) feet apart.

Posted on: 2017/1/20 6:56
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Re: What legally constitutes a bedroom?
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The window requirement is fire code. There are no ways to "get around" that requirement, as far as I know. As it relates to walking through one room to get to another, I do not believe there is a prohibition against that, but marketing would make it more or less un-viable in this day and age.

Posted on: 2017/1/19 15:03
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Re: What legally constitutes a bedroom?
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brewster wrote:
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bodhipooh wrote:
About new construction, as evidenced by the previous Modera Lofts, I do think they have been playing fast and loose with the definition of bedroom for a long time now. I wonder how they got COs for all those units and if any current resident has ever pushed back on what is being leased to them. Perhaps the long, storied tradition of stuffed envelopes may still be alive in Jc.


The only thing that occurred to me is they get a variance due to being way more fireproof than old construction and thus not needing a 2nd egress. But probably not, and they're advertising 1BR as 2BR.


I found the NJ state regulations regarding a bedroom see pg 5, 5:25-1-9 and pg 6, 5:28-1-11. There may be more in the document but I didn't have time to read the entire document.

http://www.nj.gov/dca/divisions/codes ... eg/pdf_regs/njac_5_28.pdf

Posted on: 2017/1/19 14:19
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Re: What legally constitutes a bedroom?
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bodhipooh wrote:
About new construction, as evidenced by the previous Modera Lofts, I do think they have been playing fast and loose with the definition of bedroom for a long time now. I wonder how they got COs for all those units and if any current resident has ever pushed back on what is being leased to them. Perhaps the long, storied tradition of stuffed envelopes may still be alive in Jc.


The only thing that occurred to me is they get a variance due to being way more fireproof than old construction and thus not needing a 2nd egress. But probably not, and they're advertising 1BR as 2BR.

Posted on: 2017/1/19 2:16
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Re: What legally constitutes a bedroom?
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bodhipooh wrote:
is there something that stipulates or deals with the implications of "bedrooms" that must be traversed to reach another area or room?


I think it depends on who you're asking. NJDCA grandfathers in railroads, but I don't think you could build one today. Same for the city CoO. Section 8 is fine with calling railroads multibedrooms too. But advertising is different, and I guess like the window thing, YMMV.


That makes sense. Thanks for the reply/follow-up.

About new construction, as evidenced by the previous Modera Lofts, I do think they have been playing fast and loose with the definition of bedroom for a long time now. I wonder how they got COs for all those units and if any current resident has ever pushed back on what is being leased to them. Perhaps the long, storied tradition of stuffed envelopes may still be alive in JC.

Posted on: 2017/1/19 2:05
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Re: What legally constitutes a bedroom?
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bodhipooh wrote:
is there something that stipulates or deals with the implications of "bedrooms" that must be traversed to reach another area or room?


I think it depends on who you're asking. NJDCA grandfathers in railroads, but I don't think you could build one today. Same for the city CoO. Section 8 is fine with calling railroads multibedrooms too. But advertising is different, and I guess like the window thing, YMMV.

Posted on: 2017/1/18 23:15
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Re: What legally constitutes a bedroom?
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brewster wrote:
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bodhipooh wrote:
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jc_dweller wrote:
Bedrooms are required to have windows. Modera lofts could get themselves into hot water by calling those bedrooms. They are dens.


I always thought so, and yet they are doing brisk business. I wonder what the deal is, really.


I had thought realtors & other pros were held to higher standards than mom & pop. The last time I let a realtor list a unit of mine (again unsuccessfully) he called a 6 room railroad with windows in every room a 1 Bedroom, since there was only 1 room that didn't require you to walk through another.


Actually, your post has reminded of a question I once had. Out of curiosity, is there something that stipulates or deals with the implications of "bedrooms" that must be traversed to reach another area or room? I ask because I once visited a property that was being advertised as a two bedroom, but one of them had to be walked through to reach the other. I thought it was odd to call it a bedroom, since it would prevent any sort of privacy if both rooms are occupied and figured it was real estate gimmicks. At best, I would think of the room that MUST be traversed as an anteroom, or perhaps as a very nicely lit walk-in closet. Now, of course I understand the complications of the layout of a typical railroad apartment, but does it make sense that a bedroom must be traversed to reach another one?

Posted on: 2017/1/18 18:25
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Re: What legally constitutes a bedroom?
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bodhipooh wrote:
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jc_dweller wrote:
Bedrooms are required to have windows. Modera lofts could get themselves into hot water by calling those bedrooms. They are dens.


I always thought so, and yet they are doing brisk business. I wonder what the deal is, really.


I had thought realtors & other pros were held to higher standards than mom & pop. The last time I let a realtor list a unit of mine (again unsuccessfully) he called a 6 room railroad with windows in every room a 1 Bedroom, since there was only 1 room that didn't require you to walk through another.

Posted on: 2017/1/18 17:17
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Re: What legally constitutes a bedroom?
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jc_dweller wrote:
Bedrooms are required to have windows. Modera lofts could get themselves into hot water by calling those bedrooms. They are dens.


I always thought so, and yet they are doing brisk business. I wonder what the deal is, really.

Posted on: 2017/1/18 16:54
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Re: Legal Definition of a Bedroom
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07310 wrote:
I'm not sure if this applies to JC.
"(a) Level I bedroom requirements are as follows:

"1. Each bedroom occupied by anyone in the resource family shall have two independent means of exit, at least one of which is an operable window or door suitable for emergency escape or rescue leading directly outside."

http://www.state.nj.us/dcf/policy_man ... 0-122C-4.2_issuance.shtml


That definition you quoted is from the Department of Children and Families. It might be accurate, but I wouldn't just assume that *their* definition of a bedroom matches that of the Buildings Department, or whatever state agency is in charge of such regulations.

Posted on: 2017/1/18 16:53
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Re: What legally constitutes a bedroom?
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Bedrooms are required to have windows. Modera lofts could get themselves into hot water by calling those bedrooms. They are dens.

Posted on: 2017/1/18 14:45
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Re: Legal Definition of a Bedroom
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TheFishWithNoName wrote:
Is your water heater gas fired? If so, I would double check the International Fuel Gas Code (used by the State of NJ), but I'm pretty sure that gas fired appliances are not allowed in sleeping areas. I'm not an expert on NJ codes, but in NYC that would be a violation.


Interesting enough comment that I dug the relevant passage up. Bothersome it doesn't mention vented water heaters.

https://law.resource.org/pub/us/code/ibr/icc.ifgc.2012.html

Quote:
303.3 Prohibited locations. Appliances shall not be located in sleeping rooms, bathrooms, toilet rooms, storage closets or surgical rooms, or in a space that opens only into such rooms or spaces, except where the installation complies with one of the following:
The appliance is a direct-vent appliance installed in accordance with the conditions of the listing and the manufacturer?s instructions.
Vented room heaters, wall furnaces, vented decorative appliances, vented gas fireplaces, vented gas fireplace heaters and decorative appliances for installation in vented solid fuel-burning fireplaces are installed in rooms that meet the required volume criteria of Section 304.5.
A single wall-mounted unvented room heater is installed in a bathroom and such unvented room heater is equipped as specified in Section 621.6 and has an input rating not greater than 6,000 Btu/h (1.76 kW). The bathroom shall meet the required volume criteria of Section 304.5. 18
A single wall-mounted unvented room heater is installed in a bedroom and such unvented room heater is equipped as specified in Section 621.6 and has an input rating not greater than 10,000 Btu/h (2.93 kW). The bedroom shall meet the required volume criteria of Section 304.5.
The appliance is installed in a room or space that opens only into a bedroom or bathroom, and such room or space is used for no other purpose and is provided with a solid weather-stripped door equipped with an approved self-closing device. All combustion air shall be taken directly from the outdoors in accordance with Section 304.6.

Posted on: 2017/1/17 23:53
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Re: Legal Definition of a Bedroom
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I'm not sure if this applies to JC.
"(a) Level I bedroom requirements are as follows:

"1. Each bedroom occupied by anyone in the resource family shall have two independent means of exit, at least one of which is an operable window or door suitable for emergency escape or rescue leading directly outside."

http://www.state.nj.us/dcf/policy_man ... 0-122C-4.2_issuance.shtml

Posted on: 2017/1/17 21:51
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Re: Legal Definition of a Bedroom
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07310 wrote:
I always thought bedrooms were rquired to have a window, I guess not.

Modera Lofts is renting 2 Br units where in many of the units there is no window in the 2nd bedroom.

http://www.moderalofts.com/jersey-city-nj-apartments/modera-lofts/




Yup...! Previously discussed here in JCLIST:
http://jclist.com/modules/newbb/viewtopic.php?post_id=398077

I am not sure if there is an official definition of what constitutes a bedroom in JC... It certainly can't be "must include a window" because otherwise those Modera Lofts 2-bd units are very, very suspect. Two (out of four) plans listed on their site for 2-bd units include bedrooms without any windows.

Posted on: 2017/1/17 18:52
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Re: Legal Definition of a Bedroom
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I always thought bedrooms were rquired to have a window, I guess not.

Modera Lofts is renting 2 Br units where in many of the units there is no window in the 2nd bedroom.

http://www.moderalofts.com/jersey-city-nj-apartments/modera-lofts/


Posted on: 2017/1/17 16:23
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Re: Legal Definition of a Bedroom
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A closet is not required. But don't take our word for it, call the building department and stop the guessing game.

Posted on: 2017/1/17 16:14
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Re: Legal Definition of a Bedroom
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tictaktoe wrote:
I have a den that has windows (no doors so far) and I have been thinking of converting it into a proper bedroom so that it can be used when guests come (and also helps appreciate the property price) as it can be marketed as 3 BR instead of 2 BR and a Den. Currently it has a water heater closet as well.

Is your water heater gas fired? If so, I would double check the International Fuel Gas Code (used by the State of NJ), but I'm pretty sure that gas fired appliances are not allowed in sleeping areas. I'm not an expert on NJ codes, but in NYC that would be a violation.

Posted on: 2017/1/17 15:14
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Re: Legal Definition of a Bedroom
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brewster wrote:
I think the non-negotiables here are min sq ft and a window. No window is what creates most of these "offices" or "dens". One of my bedrooms in my own home is 6' wide and 14 long, I doubt it would be a sale problem as it has a window and 2 closets


not sure if it fits the definition of a bedroom as any side should be at least 7 feet or more for it to be a habitable room (even if it has >70 sq ft area and has windows and multiple closets).

Posted on: 2017/1/13 5:25
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Re: Legal Definition of a Bedroom
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I think the non-negotiables here are min sq ft and a window. No window is what creates most of these "offices" or "dens". One of my bedrooms in my own home is 6' wide and 14 long, I doubt it would be a sale problem as it has a window and 2 closets

Posted on: 2017/1/12 20:54
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Re: Legal Definition of a Bedroom
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The biggest issue is the means of emergency egress, meaning can you climb out to safety if the house is on fire. No permanently-fixed metal bars and no upstairs floor unless there's a fire escape.

As I recall from years ago when I owned several rental properties Downtown there were minor differences in the local codes if it was a one-family structure vs. multi-family commercial.

Posted on: 2017/1/12 20:42
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Re: Legal Definition of a Bedroom
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bill wrote:
Even though it is not required, I think most people if they see a house described as having a bedroom will assume a closet, door and window.

I always hear it is better to over deliver than under deliver when it comes to real estate.


Not disputing that, however, wanted to see if it legally fits the definition of a BR when listing on MLS. Its better to be the one of the lower priced one when someone is searching for a 3BR than being on the highest when someone is looking for a 2 BR (and you have a den to go with, which becomes "nice to have").

Installing a closet and door arent that expensive if it comes to that.

Posted on: 2017/1/12 20:27
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Re: Legal Definition of a Bedroom
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In my first condo in JC, neither bedroom had a closet. Instead there was a large closet in the hallway. We resold it as a two bedroom with no problems. Many older homes were built with no closets and people had or still have armoires.

Posted on: 2017/1/12 20:24
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Re: Legal Definition of a Bedroom
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Even though it is not required, I think most people if they see a house described as having a bedroom will assume a closet, door and window.

I always hear it is better to over deliver than under deliver when it comes to real estate.

Posted on: 2017/1/12 20:18
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Re: Legal Definition of a Bedroom
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Thanks. I seem to have missed that from 2013. It seems that there were still disputes around the definition of a bedroom from that post in lack of specific sources.

Having said that, it does seem that the definition is pretty much what I outlined below (obviously I didnt go in detail around the window size, etc). The source I have is HERE and HERE

So, there is no requirement for a bedroom to have an installed door (if there is an entry) or a closet as long as it meets the other criteria listed below and the post outlined above. Interesting!

Posted on: 2017/1/12 20:12
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Re: What legally constitutes a bedroom?
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vindication15 wrote:
http://www.housedetective.com/2009/11 ... ents-for-a-legal-bedroom/



The House Detective: by Barry Stone, Certified Home Inspector

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? Christine

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% 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% of the floor area. For ventilation, the openable portion of the window must be at least 4% 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 was discussed in previous articles.)
4) Contrary to popular belief, no closet is required in a bedroom.


Very informative! But like many internet pundits, he fails to cite his source. I don't believe there's a nationally enforced code on this, localities often can vary widely on codes, sometimes they subscribe to a widely published code, sometimes not..


Exactly. Barry Stone's comments is worthless without sources or at least where this information is applicable too.

It's a local and possibly state matter for what defines a bedroom and can very from town to town.

Posted on: 2017/1/12 19:18
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Re: Legal Definition of a Bedroom
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Posted on: 2017/1/12 18:46
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Legal Definition of a Bedroom
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I have a den that has windows (no doors so far) and I have been thinking of converting it into a proper bedroom so that it can be used when guests come (and also helps appreciate the property price) as it can be marketed as 3 BR instead of 2 BR and a Den. Currently it has a water heater closet as well.

I heard from a realtor that for a Den to be called a Bedroom legally, it needs to have a window, door and a closet. I also learned that a lot of people have heard from someone else, realtor etc when in fact even realtor, friend themselves have heard from someone else about what constitutes a bedroom without able to ground it in facts. Sort of he said - she said without 100% accuracy. So I looked around NJ Admin Code and couldnt find anything to do with door and closet requirements.

In the admin code 254 , there is no such thing as a bedroom but what they called "Habitable Room" and the requirements are as follows:

- Minimum area = 70 sq feet
- Not less than 7 feet in any horizontal dimension (sorry, you CAN NOT have a 4' X 20' hallway as a room!)
- At least 60 sq feet should have a min ceiling height of 7.5 feet (6.5 feet for those before 1951)
- Every sleeping room shall have at least one operable emergency escape and rescue opening, opening directly into a public street, public alley, yard or court.
- smoke alarm in each sleeping room
- above grade level so basement is a basement

It doesnt say anything about a bedroom having an installed closet or even a installed physical doors (as long as there is an entry way from living room {not a bedroom within a bedroom}and an egress, which would be a window).

Thoughts? Have you experienced anything different when thinking about converting a den with windows into a bedroom, and then listing as such? Tax considerations aside.


Posted on: 2017/1/12 17:35
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Re: What legally constitutes a bedroom?
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Quote:

vindication15 wrote:
http://www.housedetective.com/2009/11 ... ents-for-a-legal-bedroom/



The House Detective: by Barry Stone, Certified Home Inspector

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? Christine

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% 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% of the floor area. For ventilation, the openable portion of the window must be at least 4% 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 was discussed in previous articles.)
4) Contrary to popular belief, no closet is required in a bedroom.


Very informative! But like many internet pundits, he fails to cite his source. I don't believe there's a nationally enforced code on this, localities often can vary widely on codes, sometimes they subscribe to a widely published code, sometimes not..

Posted on: 2013/10/1 20:30
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