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What is this space, and can it be a bedroom?

Discussion in 'Residential Building Codes' started by TwistedDrum5, Mar 11, 2020.

  1. TwistedDrum5

    TwistedDrum5 Registered User

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    Ok guys. I have a tricky one.

    I bought this house with the agent telling me I could AirBnB out the space. My city has started cracking down on this and so I am trying to get some evidence to bring to the codes department in order to show them that this is a bedroom, and can be rented out. I am not zoned for a Detached Accessory Dwelling Unit

    Here is the space:

    https://imgur.com/Y8PMIjl

    What you're looking at is the bottom floor of my house that is half below grade and opens up on the right side where the garage door and sliding door are. The area in question is the bottom right "Bedroom?".

    What I know:
    This was assessed as 4 bedrooms, which includes that space.
    It meets all of the requirements of the IRC to be a bedroom. (Heat/Cooling, size, emergency egress, has a bathroom, doesn't require going through another bedroom to get to it).
    Is NOT considered an Accessory Apartment. (No kitchen, only a sink) (City's codes specifically say that "There is free and clear access between the housekeeping units without going outdoors", which there is not)
    I don't believe this is considered a Detached Accessory Dwelling Unit. (No Kitchen, but most importantly, it is ATTACHED to my house. "Accessory Dwelling, Detached. A detached self-sufficient dwelling unit")
    I only have one meter on the house, there is no A/B address.
    This is not a Dwelling Unit, "DWELLING UNIT. A single unit providing complete, independent living facilities for one or more persons, including permanent provisions for living, sleeping, eating, cooking and sanitation. There is no Stove/Kitchen.

    When I first applied, codes was fine with it, but I was missing some paperwork. The second time I applied, the guy asked what that space was. I had it labeled as a Master Suite 2, at the advice of another builder in the area. He said I could not use that space and I would need a door to connect it to the house. He suggested putting it in the bathroom. I believe this is against IRC because of "Privacy". I also don't want a door there.

    He was not willing to accept that it was a bedroom, because it did not attach to the house. He called it a separate unit, which I am not zoned for. He allowed me to label it an "office". After getting home and digging through codes, I cannot see anything that says you MUST be able to access the bedroom from the interior of the house. Does anyone know if this is true? That is my biggest question. Also, how could this house be 4 bedrooms for tax purposes, if I can't use it as a bedroom?

    If this is not a bedroom, what is it? It seems like he was fine with me calling it whatever I wanted, as long as people did not sleep in there. That seems ridiculous.

    Can anyone help? I am only asking to compare this to the IRC because I have searched up and down my cities codes and It doesn't not fit into any category that they have.
     
  2. TwistedDrum5

    TwistedDrum5 Registered User

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    So I can't figure out how to edit. :\

    But I meant to say that the Zoning guy was not ok with calling it a bedroom because it did not have a way to enter the house without going outside.
     
  3. cda

    cda Sawhorse

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    Well the city says it cannot be a bedroom

    Because it cannot be accessed directly from inside the house


    That is a city define,,,,, Does not matter what the code book says

    1. is that legally adopted city language ???


    2. If yes sounds like your only remedy is the legal appeal process
     
  4. TwistedDrum5

    TwistedDrum5 Registered User

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    One person said this. But it’s already defined as a bedroom, by the tax assessor (right?). So the city already said it is a bedroom, right?

    There is no legal language that says a bedroom must have direct interior access.

    Should a city employee be able to tell me something without and legal language to back them up?
     
  5. cda

    cda Sawhorse

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    No have to have adopted language to enforce it

    Also normally tax and building codes don’t match
     
  6. TheCommish

    TheCommish Sawhorse

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    Assessors and relators look at building differently than the building code and zoning.
    Quacks like an efficiently apartment to me, since there is not a connection to the rest of the dwelling unit

    2015 IRC
    [RB] DWELLING UNIT. A single unit providing complete
    independent living facilities for one or more persons, including
    permanent provisions for living, sleeping, eating, cooking
    and sanitation.

    [RB] DWELLING. Any building that contains one or two
    dwelling units used, intended, or designed to be built, used,
    rented, leased, let or hired out to be occupied, or that are
    occupied for living purposes.
     
    #6 TheCommish, Mar 12, 2020
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2020
    Pcinspector1 likes this.
  7. cda

    cda Sawhorse

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    Same answer,,,

    So does the city have adopted rules for airbnb use:::???


    ""My city has started cracking down on this""

    If so can you post them or link to them.

    I agree some cities have got into how to build a house to much, trying to keep room rentals out.

    Maybe I want my own non accessible bedroom, except from the outside.
     
  8. e hilton

    e hilton Bronze Member

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    Clearly the problem is the stairs ... no way that will pass code with the treads all kittywompus ... :}
     
  9. Pcinspector1

    Pcinspector1 Platinum Member

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    Research for a permit, somehow the tax assessors office came up with information to tax it?
     
  10. TwistedDrum5

    TwistedDrum5 Registered User

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    So the language on “cooking space” is pretty vague. But if you dig far enough, it requires a stove. So this small space can not be a “dwelling unit” without a stove, according to the language.

    I worded that poorly. What I meant is that the city is very strict with zoning and codes when you apply for an AirBnB permit. I got dinged for a window not opening up all the way for emergency egress, even though the sashes are removable. They said long term tenants would know how to use it, but short term would need “special knowledge”.

    They don’t care that my house has that room, but they don’t want anyone sleeping in it, for rental, because it “appears” to be a duplex.

    I’ll fix that later. But it adds a lot of style points.

    The original permit was for a general reconstruction, because they were doing the entire house. Maybe that’s not what you’re asking though?
     
  11. Pcinspector1

    Pcinspector1 Platinum Member

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    Here we send a copy of our building permits to the county assessor to aid them in assessment. A smoke detector and a window for emergency escape would be required for the bedroom and each level of the structure would need to be interconnected. Not sure of the exact design but these items are required.

    Removing window sashes to escape a fire: An EEO window must meet the requirements for anyone to open IMO.
     
  12. TwistedDrum5

    TwistedDrum5 Registered User

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    In that section there is a casement window with egress hinges, so it fully opens. It also has a smoke detector. My top and bottom floors do interconnect, just not that bedroom. That’s the language I’m looking for, if it exists.

    min the International Fire Code Book it says that the opening has to be 24” tall with “normal” operation. So removing a sash is not the way you normally open the window.

    But I guess IFC doesn’t apply to residential?! Because it passes normal inspection, just not short term rental inspection. That’s a different room though, and we’re replacing the window.
     
  13. cda

    cda Sawhorse

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    Do you have a link to these adopted stuf::

    That should tell you what you need to do

    “”What I meant is that the city is very strict with zoning and codes when you apply for an AirBnB permit. “””
     
  14. TwistedDrum5

    TwistedDrum5 Registered User

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    They use the IRC and the IFC. There is no added language.

    If I can label it a bedroom, by definition, legally, using the IRC, then that is what it is, and I’m fully within my right to rent it out.

    But if it’s an accessory apartment, as he is trying to label it, I cannot rent it out.

    At the time, I did not fight it.
     
  15. cda

    cda Sawhorse

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    Sounds like you need to go higher and possibly use the appeals process
     
  16. Pcinspector1

    Pcinspector1 Platinum Member

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    Casements are allowed if they meet IRC section 310. See section314 smoke alarms see 314.3 for locations.
     
  17. Ty J.

    Ty J. Sawhorse

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    This is not a building code issue.

    You are up against Zoning and Planning Ordinances. They can use entirely different definitions and may at times somewhat contrast with the building codes.
     
  18. Ty J.

    Ty J. Sawhorse

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    So in my opinion, you have created a two family dwelling of sorts. Problem is you most likely do not have the required separation nor the independent amenities (i.e. a stove). So you really cant classify as that either.

    Zoning will not permit a two family dwelling, hence the kick-back from the AHJ. And, you do not meet the definition of an ADU.

    Looks like you've created something that is outside of the building code and local zoning codes. One way or another, you are going to have to make some changes so that you can fit into one of the permitted uses.

    YOU must be able to apply as one of the permitted uses; until you can clarify which use you're requesting, it will be difficult to get an accurate response from the AHJ as to what you need to accomplish. Figure out which route works for you, apply under that route, and perform the necessary corrections. Otherwise, get ready for the AHJ to shut you down.
     
    JCraver likes this.
  19. cda

    cda Sawhorse

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    Just bugs me I could not build a new house with say a separate master bedroom that I do not directly access from the rest of the house
     
  20. Ty J.

    Ty J. Sawhorse

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    You probably can...the act of renting it out is what gets folks antsy.
     

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