No bedroom windows in apartments

14 Replies

I bought a 3 story building and trying to convert the top 2 floors to apartments and keep the 1st floor and basement retail. My architects are drawing up plans to make 12 apartments but they have 2 of the apartments without bedroom windows. It's legal where the building is but where I'm from I've never seen this. Anyone have any experience with this? Is there a big difference in rent prices and is this something I'm gonna have a hard time renting? Any thought would be appreciated. Thanks

Ask a realtor or property manager in the area, whether a no window bedroom is common, hard to rent etc. sprinklers? Because my concern would be fire egress. That said, i would think it would be ok for a secondary/kids bedroom. Can you put in a sun tunnel? Natural light is nice and a window view is too. But a solid wall is quieter and warmer.

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I'd double check the legality of this. it's not allowed as far s the code book is concerned because of egress, natural light, and natural ventilation. I don't have time to look it up right now but you could. every city is different though and I guess it could be fine but a simple call to the building department should do it. I've come across plenty of blueprints that are full of code violations and it says right on the prints that the builder is responsible to obey code regardless of what the architect draws
Originally posted by @Robert Pole :
I bought a 3 story building and trying to convert the top 2 floors to apartments and keep the 1st floor and basement retail. My architects are drawing up plans to make 12 apartments but they have 2 of the apartments without bedroom windows. It's legal where the building is but where I'm from I've never seen this. Anyone have any experience with this? Is there a big difference in rent prices and is this something I'm gonna have a hard time renting? Any thought would be appreciated. Thanks

I am an architect licensed in NY. I work in NYC and Westchester County. Is the property in NYC/NY? If so.. there is no way a legal bedroom can occur without windows in a new development. Building code requires "light and air" as well as a minimum square footage of glazing per bedroom. This is also a life safety issue and retroactive, no grandfathering. You need to re-think your plan and question why your architect thinks he can give you 2 illegal units.  

The property is in PA and they tell me it is legal.

Refer to Section 1030.1 in the International Building Code for "Emergency Escape and Rescue." According to this section, "all sleeping rooms below the fourth story above grade plane shall have at least one exterior emergency escape and rescue opening..." There is an exception to this code that states "Emergency escape and rescue openings are not required from basements or sleeping rooms that have an exit door or exit access door that opens directly into a public way or to a yard, court or exterior exit balcony that opens to a public way."

With this being said, I would check your PA state amendments to the building code to see if PA changed it. As for Massachusetts, there is no amendment to this code and this is what we follow.

Daniel Weber

    I grew up in the Poconos. I'm not sure what area you are looking at but it is a normal thing in E. Stroudsburg/Stroudsburg. I have been in many apts that had no bedroom windows. Mostly apts on main st over the retail shops. Properties here tend to rent out fairly quick as well due to it being a university area. 

    Christian Cody

      Ugh.  Even if you can why would you?  At least put in a skylight!

      Colin L.

      @Robert Pole   

      What part of Pa? I know Pa and NY are very different. I work and invest out of NY and Poconos, Pa. I'm also looking into Philly. One thing I can tell you about the Poconos or East Stroudsburg and areas near it, is that things are definitely more lax than here in NYC. With that being said I have seen that they are now doing inspections and such in certain townships. I would listen to people above about checking building codes if available and check with an attorney.

      Ceasar Rosas, Real Estate Agent in NY (#10301210194)

      There are plenty of converted loft apartments that don't have windowed "bedrooms" or have "bedrooms" with lot line windows, but in most towns and cities I would think this type of apartment would be categorized as a studio with a den or home office. Most folks intend to use those spaces as bedrooms, but not sure they could be marketed as such. All things being equal, a bedroom with a window is going to go at a premium to one that doesn't. Having no window is a deal breaker for many (from my experience marketing them) and so with smaller demand would be lower rent. If there's at least one windowed bedroom and then a second non-windowed one that can serve as a nursery or guest room then that's not nearly as bad. If windowless bedrooms are fairly common in your area then it shouldn't be as big of an issue. If it's rare then I might look for a second opinion. What is the floor plan of these units? Are you sure these plans show the highest and best use of your max floor area? 

      Jason Lee, Real Estate Agent

        @Jason Lee we have tried a couple different options with the floor plan. No choice really since the building is sandwiched between 2 other buildings. I will look into the legality but the architects assured me that it is legal. One even told me he has apartments in the area that don't have windows either.

        @Ceasar Rosas the town is wilkes-barre.

        @Christian Cody you are exactly right. The building is on main st with retail on the 1st floor. About 2 blocks from 2 different colleges in each direction.

        @Robert Pole The only college I am aware of in that area is in the neighboring town which is East Stroudsburg University. What other colleges did you find?

        Christian Cody

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