Add on room created bedroom with no egress window

9 Replies

I am looking at buying a property in Orange County ( CA ). Home was built in 1962 and had permitted add on rooms built in 1989, but now one of the original rooms opens into the add on dining room. The original exterior egress window is still in place and just looks into the dining room, but now this is no longer an exterior egress window. There are no exterior walls that a proper egress window can be added to. If I purchase this properly and intend to rent it out, what can I do? Can an egress roof access window with a fixed emergency ladder be installed to meet the egress laws? If not then how do I go about renting out this property and not open up to additional liability? I can advertise as an office, but its likely that a tenant will plan to use it as a bedroom regardless of what I call it. Any suggestions from anyone that has run into this before? 

I'm not certain I understand your situation, but it sounds like the room may not legally be called a bedroom since it does not have at least 2 means of egress (usually, a door and a window). If this is the case, you are able to rent out the home with this room called a "bonus room" (you would not include the square footage of the bonus room).

As long as it is not documented as a bedroom, what liability are you concerned about? If a tenant uses a garage space as a bedroom without your knowledge, you would not be liable for injury just the same.

@Hubert Kim - Thank you for your input. I get what you are saying and it makes sense if the tenant uses the space as a bedroom at their own discretion. I just feel like with it being more of a finished bedroom that it is more likely to be used for that purpose and I was curious if this opens me up to additional liability. 

Question about the square footage. Why would you not include the square footage of the "bonus room" in your advertising? Wouldn't this bonus room be considered square footage just like any other area in the house? 

Don't advertise it as a bedroom. What the tenant does with it is up to them. I would call it a Den or bonus room.

The square footage is all living space, which would include the bonus room.

Originally posted by @Joshua Massari :

I am looking at buying a property in Orange County ( CA ). Home was built in 1962 and had permitted add on rooms built in 1989, but now one of the original rooms opens into the add on dining room. The original exterior egress window is still in place and just looks into the dining room, but now this is no longer an exterior egress window. There are no exterior walls that a proper egress window can be added to. If I purchase this properly and intend to rent it out, what can I do? Can an egress roof access window with a fixed emergency ladder be installed to meet the egress laws? If not then how do I go about renting out this property and not open up to additional liability? I can advertise as an office, but its likely that a tenant will plan to use it as a bedroom regardless of what I call it. Any suggestions from anyone that has run into this before? 

 Non issue. You've got a bonus room, tenant can do with it what they please. The fact that it isn't a legal bedroom doesn't mean that tenants won't be willing to may for a property with an additional room.

Just a thought--take out the window, cut down the wall under the window to frame out a door that would open to the dining room.  Boom!  2nd means of egress.  

Personally, I wouldn't worry about it.  Just a bonus room as others have already said.

Not knowing the layout, is it possible to do a few renos to turn the dining room into a bedroom and the bedroom into a dining room?  If the dining room has an egress window, it would be easy enough to do-put up a wall, move the door and then open the current door on the bedroom.

@Joshua Massari

Originally posted by :

...Question about the square footage. Why would you not include the square footage of the "bonus room" in your advertising? Wouldn't this bonus room be considered square footage just like any other area in the house?

My mistake. I was thinking of not including a bonus room square footage for purposes of property taxes. If the square footage of your property excluded the bonus room, your property taxes might be slightly lower. But on second thought, an appraiser may not even exclude it from the gross livable area.

Thanks for all the feedback BP! this really helps. For those suggesting renos to create a legal bedroom, this is not possible, an egress window or door into another room is not considered a valid means of egress since it is not external. Also the dining room cannot be converted to a bedroom as this is a large room with vaulting ceilings and is open to the kitchen and it also the one way to get to the back bedroom. 

I think the other posts have pretty much covered it from a rental perspective, but another issue is the financing.

The room will not be counted as a Bed Room (BR) for financing purposes.  This could result in the current owner having an incorrect perspective on the property's worth.

The appraiser sets the worth.  Not the owner.  Not the buyer.  If they agree to a different value than the appraised value that is fine but any lending institute is going to base the value on the appraisal which will not include the room and a bedroom.

BTW it seems like a funky add on to have a Bedroom window go into a dining room.  Anyone that would do this type of remodel would concern me and I would look for other similarly strange work/additions.  Basically be cautious with your due diligence.

Good luck