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Converted BR in basement. No egress.


jseddy
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Just ran through an older track builder that we're building an addition for.

There's a BR in the finished basememt now. Obviously it's a Code violation. Looks like it was finished by the owner. There are smoke detectors in the room, hallway leading to the room and at the bottom of the stairs, but man alive, I wouldn't want to have to get out of there in a hurry.

I'm not at the home in a HI capacity but have any of you guys run into this and how did you handle the wording, especially if the home is "listed" with that BR?

What about older tri-levels that have the two or three 26" tall windows?

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In an older home If there is a small window That does not meet the agrees and there is a closet I would tell them about the windows not being large enough for the egress. If there is no window in the roof I would take the code and show them what it says about being a bedroom. Just tell them you are letting them know for safety reasons.

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I absolutely list it every time. It's a major league safety hazard. Any impediment to egress get's listed; bars, double keyed bolts, etc.

I don't get into anything related to the listing in my report, although I usually make a casual comment to the customer out of earshot of the realtor.

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Hi,

Fires kill and having a death on one's conscience is something none of us want, so I don't pussy-foot around with egress windows. This is the actual comment from one of my reports earlier this week. The home had been advertised as a 3 bedroom - 2 on the main floor and one in the basement. The buyer was purchasing the home to use as a rental:

Do not use the basement office as a bedroom – There isn’t a proper egress window in the basement office, which is being represented as the third-bedroom by the seller. Egress windows are important. They allow an occupant to escape the basement in the event of a fire that is blocking his/her escape via the stairs - and a fully-equipped fireman needs one in order to get into a basement bedroom to rescue someone.

To legally convert this room to a bedroom, you'll need to have a competent contractor install an egress window that is not less than 5.7 sq. ft. in area, at least 24 inches high by 20 inches wide, that has a sill height of not more than 44 inches off the finished floor surface. Additionally, the window well at the exterior will need to have an area of at least 9 square feet and be not less than 36 inches in any cross section. Lastly, because any sill no higher than 44 inches off the floor of this room will place the sill at least 44 inches below exterior grade, you'll need a ladder permanently installed in the window well.

Installing one of these windows won't be cheap, so I recommend you contact a few reputable contractors to discuss various installation options and cost. If you decide to purchase the home and rent it out without having an egress window or proper window well installed, you should inform your tenants that this room is not safe to use as a bedroom and forbid them from using it as such. Having it clearly stated in the lease would be prudent.

My response to realtors that squawk about this - "Fire kills, what more do you need to know?"

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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Originally posted by hausdok

Hi,

Fires kill and having a death on one's conscience is something none of us want, so I don't pussy-foot around with egress windows. This is the actual comment from one of my reports earlier this week. The home had been advertised as a 3 bedroom - 2 on the main floor and one in the basement. The buyer was purchasing the home to use as a rental:

Do not use the basement office as a bedroom – There isn’t a proper egress window in the basement office, which is being represented as the third-bedroom by the seller. Egress windows are important. They allow an occupant to escape the basement in the event of a fire that is blocking his/her escape via the stairs - and a fully-equipped fireman needs one in order to get into a basement bedroom to rescue someone.

To legally convert this room to a bedroom, you'll need to have a competent contractor install an egress window that is not less than 5.7 sq. ft. in area, at least 24 inches high by 20 inches wide, that has a sill height of not more than 44 inches off the finished floor surface. Additionally, the window well at the exterior will need to have an area of at least 9 square feet and be not less than 36 inches in any cross section. Lastly, because any sill no higher than 44 inches off the floor of this room will place the sill at least 44 inches below exterior grade, you'll need a ladder permanently installed in the window well.

Installing one of these windows won't be cheap, so I recommend you contact a few reputable contractors to discuss various installation options and cost. If you decide to purchase the home and rent it out without having an egress window or proper window well installed, you should inform your tenants that this room is not safe to use as a bedroom and forbid them from using it as such. Having it clearly stated in the lease would be prudent.

My response to realtors that squawk about this - "Fire kills, what more do you need to know?"

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

Bedrooms are also considered to be habitable spaces and there are dayighting and ventilation requirements as well as egress requirements.

I just say the following:

"The existing basement rooms do not have adequate windows to be considered as sleeping areas because they do not meet egress, ventilation, or minimum daylighting requirements." Alterations are needed before these rooms can be safely used as bedrooms. If these alteratrions are performed, a building permit should be obtained for this work and the local construction official should inspect the work as part of the renovation."

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I was once pulled into a law suit regarding a room in a basement. The house was listed as a three bedroom home but the third bedroom was in the basement. The buyer wanted someone to buy the house back from them because it was not what it was represented to be. They had other issues besides the third bedroom none of which involed items in the home inspection. They filed suit against the seller, both realtors, both brokers, and myself.

In my report I wrote that the window was not the proper size for a bedroom egress and it should not be considered a bedroom. It cost me 2 thousand dollars in legal fees to file a motion to be removed from the suit. I won, but I was still out 2 thousand dollors. That was 6 years ago and the suit still has not been settled.

We have a lot of basements in Michigan. It is very common to find illegal bedrooms in them. When I do, I always tell the client in front of the agent that it is improper and dangerous and I tell them the law suit story.

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Just yesterday, I inspected a home in which the basement had been complete finished into a three bedroom, 1 bath home with kitchen, living room and laundry room.

Gee, not a single bedroom in the basement had proper emergency egress, ventilation, or minimum daylighting. None, nada, zip. one door to the bedroom period.

I think the buyer is going to be grossly dissapointed when I talk with them. (Out of state, didn't attend inspection.)

And of course, the seller will be PO'd becasue he bought it five years ago already finished and counted on it being the two house under one roof it looks like.

Oh well, Its a wonderful day. I woke up this morning. The rest of it is just crap to deal with.

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I know that I am late in repling to this posting, however, I must agree with the way the others are handleing this.

Having a death due to a situation that you could address is unacceptable. Be direct and state the facts and whys.

Aaron Flook

AM Inspections Services

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I just say the following:

"The existing basement rooms do not have adequate windows to be considered as sleeping areas because they do not meet egress, ventilation, or minimum daylighting requirements." Alterations are needed before these rooms can be safely used as bedrooms. If these alteratrions are performed, a building permit should be obtained for this work and the local construction official should inspect the work as part of the renovation."

Steve; May I use this verbage in my reports? I feel it is exactly what I want to say in my report's and would allow me to remove several narratives in my inspection program.

Thanks, Brad

Thanks, Brad

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