There’s no single legal definition for a bedroom in Texas. Texas is a home rule state. Building code adoption takes place at the local level. However, Texas’ municipal building, residential, fire, plumbing, mechanical, fuel gas and swimming pool and spa codes are promulgated through legislation and found in state statute. which currently states “the International Residential Code, as it existed on May 1, 2012, https://codes.iccsafe.org/content/IBC2012P13 is adopted as a municipal residential building code in this state”. https://statutes.capitol.texas.gov/Docs/LG/htm/LG.214.htm#214.212 .
This establishes a set of residential building standards for public safety and welfare that include requirements for what can be considered a bedroom. Amendments to the IRC adopted by local Texas jurisdictions may add to those requirements.
So what does that say?
The IRC requires a bedroom to have:
- A floor area of not less than 70 square feet and not less than 7 feet in any horizontal dimension
- A minimum ceiling height of 7 feet, and if there is a sloped ceiling, then a minimum of 50% of ceiling must be a minimum of 7 feet high
- At least one operable emergency escape and rescue opening with a clear opening of not less than 5.7 square feet, and a required egress window that must have a minimum width of 20 inches, a minimum height of 24 inches, and a maximum window sill height of 44 inches.
Housing built prior to the adoption of the IRC by Texas that remains unchanged is not required to comply with IRC standards for what may be considered a bedroom. However, there are some instances when requirements on what may be considered a bedroom are imposed on such housing, including specific requirements of the IRC, the International Property Maintenance Code, the International Fire Code, or from a local building official. Additionally, the Texas Property Code’s definition of “an area of a dwelling intended as sleeping quarters” applies to rooms offered for rent.
Make sure you check with your local municipality to see if your home’s ‘bedrooms’ actually are. Most home appraisers go by the current code, and will help you find the answers if needed.
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