What Makes a Room a Bedroom?

A Story by Kristopher Hochart | Updated 11/23/2020 12:00pm


While there is no single legal definition for a bedroom in the state of Texas, the International Residential Code (IRC) establishes a set of standards that do include requirements for what can be considered a bedroom. This set of residential building standards for public safety and welfare is published by the International Code Council and was adopted by Texas in 2001. The IRC may be amended, so these requirements can be added to/changed.

If you have a property and aren’t sure if a particular room counts as a bedroom or not, the IRC and other codes listed in this article can assist you in figuring this out. You may also want to consider consulting your local building official, who may be a good source of information on local codes and amendments to the IRC.

According to MLS rules, Article 2 of the Code of Ethics, realtors must avoid exaggerating or misrepresenting facts related to a property. So being certain whether a room is a bedroom or not is significant. Additionally, TREC Rule 531.155(d) states an advertisement could deceive the public if it is inaccurate.

There are four bedroom requirements according to the IRC. They are as follows:

ENTRANCE- A bedroom requires at least two methods of egress. This means the bedroom must be accessible from the inside of the house (through a door, typically) as well as have one other exit (either a window or a door).

•SIZE- A bedroom must consist of a floor area of no less than 70 square feet and no less than 7 feet in any horizontal dimension (a 1’ x 70’ space won’t work, for example).

•CEILING HEIGHT- A bedroom’s ceiling height must be at least 7 feet tall. Some portions of the ceiling may be below this level (for instance, in a room with a sloped ceiling), but at least 50% of the ceiling must be a minimum of 7 feet in height. This is seldom an issue, but worth noting. 

•ESCAPE- A bedroom must have at least one other method of egress beyond the entrance point. A door to the exterior is sufficient, as is a window. According to the IRC, a bedroom window must have a minimum width of 20 inches, a minimum height of 24 inches, and a maximum window sill height of 44 inches. The bedroom’s escape point must have a clear opening of at least 5.7 square feet. 

Any housing built prior to the adoption of the IRC by Texas is not required to comply with the aforementioned IRC standards. Such housing may be subject to these requirements in particular instances of specific requirements of the IRC, the International Property Maintenance Code, the International Fire Code, the International Electrical Code, or from any local building official. The Texas Property Code’s definition of “an area of a dwelling intended as sleeping quarters” also applies to any rooms offered for rent. 

While most people prefer a closet in their bedroom, interestingly enough, the IRC doesn’t require one. Local residential codes may require bedrooms to have a closet. Local codes can also require heat sourcing and other amendments to the IRC. Additionally, certain lenders (FHA, VA, Fannie Mae for example) may have their own definitions of a bedroom within their appraisal guidelines. 

If you’re still not sure if a room on your property could be considered a bedroom, contact us at Red Wagon Properties and we’d be happy to help you figure it out. 

Make sure to read our other articles to educate yourself on Texas housing laws and regulations:

 

Content written by Nozak Consulting.

 

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