REIN has received numerous calls recently asking for clear definition of what constitutes a bedroom. Here are the basics…The current Virginia Uniform Statewide Building Code states that a bedroom must have the following:
- An area of at least 70 square feet. If more than
- one person occupies the room, there must be 50 square feet per occupant.
- Ceiling heights must be no less than 7 feet.
- Two egress points, one of which leads directly outside. The emergency exit (whether a window or door) must have a minimum area of 5.7 sq.ft., or be big enough for a firefighter or other rescue personnel in full gear to be able to carry you to safety. Only exception: if the room is at grade level, the minimum size may be 5 sq.ft.. Emergency exits may measure no more than 44 inches from the floor to the bottom sill.
- In order to be considered a legal bedroom, the room cannot be the only means of acc
ess or egress to other bedrooms or habitable spaces.
- Ventilation for cooling (i.e. a window or A/C), and a heat source. Portable heaters do not count as an adequate heat source.
- Contrary to popular belief, Virginia does not require a closet in a room to call it a bedroom.
The requirements listed above are mandated by the Commonwealth of Virginia. However, each City and County within the state may have their own requirements, on top of the state’s. So what is allowed as a bedroom in Virginia Beach may differ from what is allowed in Newport News. It is recommended that you check with the local zoning authority of the home in question for a complete definition.