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Is it "legal" not to have windows in basement bedrooms?

We looked at a house listed as three bedrooms but two are in the basement with no windows. I have concerns putting my children in those rooms.  The basement is  walk out.
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June 07 - US
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Answers (5)

Profile picture for Pasadenan
Not enough info... are there two exits or not?  Does the county records indicate 1 bedroom or 3?
What State?  Which building code?  (4 different model codes are used in different parts of the U.S.; not just the IBC.  California adopts the UBC with revisions instead).

Was any tests done for radon?  Mold?  Moisture?

Ventilation means?  Air changes?

Most areas of the nation don't require "natural lighting", but there are other ways to obtain that besides windows as well.

There was some questions about evaluating the value of an earth berm House on the Forum a couple months ago.

Remember "Logan's Run"?  No windows on any of the residential units, or anywhere else in the City for that matter.
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June 07
Debra,
As my comment stated it would not be classed as a bedroom if it doesn't have a secondary means of egress, hence "compliant with regulations". But my point was, is that if it does have two approved means for egress and is approved by the AHJ an appraiser can not declassify it as a bedroom just because it lacks windows. At the minimum municipalities have to follow the IBC and it is very clear on what is required to count as a means of egress. 
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June 07
I don't know of any municipality in my area that counts a windowless, below grade room, with no secondary egress, as a bedroom........and all the appraisers I have dealt with in the 29 years I have been in the business don't count them as bedrooms either........so, Dan, we can respectfully disagree.

zuser - if you have any doubts.......this isn't the house for you.
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June 07
This actually is addressed in the IBC (International Building Code). In order for any room to qualify for "occupancy" as a bedroom anywhere within a home it must have two means of egress. The most common means of a secondary egress is a window. However in a basement it can be stairs that lead outside of the structure, or a tunnel with a skuttle hatch, it doesn't necessarily have to be a window. Now each municipality is different, as well as each state. They can require a stricter means of egress, but can not reduce the requirements of the IBC. There are also some other small requirements to qualify as a "below grade" bedroom. The ceiling has to be at least a certain height, smoke detectors are a MUST, and it must have means of at least heating it. If you have reservations as it sits right now, it sounds like you have your decision made.

And Debra the appraiser can not disqualify a bedroom in his appraisal because the room doesn't have windows if the AHJ (authority having jurisdiction) has declared the room as compliant with regulations for bedroom occupancy and permitted the area to be classed as a bedroom, because the area is then incorporated into the assessment for property tax and the owner pays accordingly.
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June 07
Well, I would have concerns, too, and wouldn't put my child in a basement room without a window large enough to allow an exit during an emergency.

I would never count windowless rooms in a basement as bedrooms.......neither will the appraiser.
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June 07
 
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