I have been working with buyers looking at older houses that do not always have closets in rooms used for sleeping. The question came up whether these are legal bedrooms. If you are wondering the same thing, you may find the info below which inspector Reuben originally posted here July 9, 2009 interesting.
Everyone knows that you need a closet in a bedroom to call it a bedroom, right? While this is a universally accepted standard, good luck finding any type of authority to back this up.
- Seven foot ceiling height
- Seventy square feet of floor area, not including any closet area
- A source of natural light (8% of the floor area)
- A source of natural ventilation (4% of the floor area)
- Can not be arranged such that access to a sleeping room can be had only be going through another sleeping room or a bathroom or toilet room.
- Proper Egress - the requirements for this are long and complicated, and depend on when the building was built and when the last windows were installed.
There are a few other requirements, but there's nothing about a closet.
What exactly is a closet anyways? The IRC defines a closet as "A small room or chamber used for storage." A chamber is "a natural or artificial enclosed space or cavity". This means that a 6" box with a door that's installed on the wall could be called a closet. Ok, maybe that's silly. How about an armoire or a wardrobe? I've seen plenty of houses with only wardrobes in the bedrooms, and nobody had a problem calling them bedrooms.
Reuben Saltzman, Structure Tech Home Inspections