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Bedroom window height requirements

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wyecoyote

Thread Starter
Senior Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2002
Professional Status
Gvmt Agency, FNMA, HUD, VA etc.
State
Washington
I'm doing a purchase and the bedroom in the basement has a window that is 5' 1" off of the ground. I seem to remember reading somewhere that FNMA required that the bedroom height requirements for a window are 40" with a minimum of 2' height and width. Is this correct or is it other? Is there somewhere on the web that I can reference to find the correct height requirements?

Thanks,

Ryan
 

Ben Vukicevich SRA

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 9, 2002
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
New Jersey
Ryan,

I've never seen any such requirement from FNMA for basement bedroom windows. FHA does have such a requirement in 4150.2, maybe that's what you're thinking about.

What you'll likely find is that most basement windows do not meet emergency egress requirements and these finished "bedrooms" are legally classified as dens. So the current occupants are illegally using it as a bedroom. I've seen new homes with finished basements with dens located off the basement family room. You know that it will be used as a bedroom, it's set-up as a bedroom, there's even a bath in the basement, the "den" even has a clothes closet but the builder and the municipality will require the buyer to sign a statement that it is not to be used as a bedroom-yeah right.

I would state in the appraisal that it is not a habitable bedroom due to inadequate emergency egress, call it a den and move-on.

Ben
 

Larry Lyke

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 2, 2002
Ryan --

In addition to what Ben said -- if you are not doing an FHA appraisal -- which I gather you ARE not, you can safely describe the room and indcate the size of the window(s) and leave it at that.

The STYLE of the house means a lot, so I assume your subject is a house with a Basement, as opposed to a Bi-level or other split style.

If not satisfied with our answers, come back with more information.
 

xmrdfghap

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2002
Professional Status
General Public
State
Florida
BOCA, Southern, and other building codes require habitable rooms to have windows 10% of the area of the floor, with 50% of the window to be openable to allow for ventilation. As far as I recall, health departments may require minimum height and width and location requirements for sleeping rooms containing children in day care facilities, but I do not think any such requirements apply to non-FHA/HUD housing. I recall seeing numerous homes built in the 50's and 60's where the windows were all around the top of the wall of the house........sort of a take off on FLW architectural style.
 

David S. Roberson

Senior Member
Gold Supporting Member
Joined
Jan 16, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Tennessee
Goodpasture;

Your post reminded me of the house I lived in until I was about 5 or 6 years old. It had the windows on top like you describe. I haven't thought of that house in years. Thanks!
 

Larry Lyke

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 2, 2002
Greg --

Ryan is talking about a room below grade in the Basement.

Without window egress there's no way to get out of the house without going through perhaps another room or hallway and up stairs.

Local codes still have to be inferred to think of the room as being habitable as a Bedroom.

In my territory, most often the local code people don't find out there's Bedrooms in the Basement until after the fire is put out!

Like Ryan is trying to do, I use my own sense of what's appropriate to determine if it's a Basement Bedroom. FHA has its own rules.

Haven often seen Bedrooms that AREN'T in a Basement -- but like somebody has already said, there's an unmade bed with bed coverings and pillow, obvious remnants of an occpant who isn't there presently. Have been in houses of large families where there's signs of sleeping arrangements in almost every room in the house, except maybe the Bathroom and Kitchen.
 

Rich Heyn

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 17, 2002
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
Michigan
Ryan:

As Ben indicated, the issue here is egress.

I'm away from home and my reference materials, but if my memory is correct, most building codes call for a minimum of 5.7 sq. ft. of openable area no more than 42" above the floor.

Rich Heyn
 

Ben Vukicevich SRA

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 9, 2002
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
New Jersey
L.,

For a conventional appraisal, I guess you could ignore it as it was typical for the subdivision neighborhood.

However, if it was for FHA, you would have to require new windows to be installed for proper bedroom emergency egress via VC 11G.

Then the question becomes how many new windows do you require to be installed: is it one bedroom and two dens. Two bedrooms and a den or three full bedrooms. I would say if the buyer expected a 3 bedroom home, then the new windows should be installed in all bedrooms.

It's just one of those atypical homes FHA appraisers should be aware of when they're wandering around the outside and should start to wonder about when they can't reach the windows to operate them as required by FHA.
 
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