Bedroom Minimum Requirements For Florida Homes
We have probably all run across rooms that seem like they could be considered bedrooms, but have something about them that are not standard. This article discussed some of the minimum requirements and standards for Florida bedrooms.
As it relates to appraising, Fannie Mae and FHA requirements do not take precedence over state or local code. Even when a condition may be acceptable to FHA or Fannie Mae, it still needs to comply with local code.
If a home does not comply with local code it should be addressed by the appraiser. The local code for your city or town may be more strict, but at a minimum the Florida Code can be relied upon for guidance.
Florida Building Code Requirements for Bedrooms
Size - A bedroom must contain a minimum of 70 square feet of "conditioned space", unless it is a manufactured home (minimum is then 50')
Entrance - It must have a door, or an entrance where a door could be reasonably installed
Emergency Egress - There must be a second opening for means of escape and rescue (typically a window), opening to the outside in accordance with Florida Building Code.
Exterior Wall - A bedroom must have at least one wall along the exterior of the structure
Window Size - If there are multiple windows, at least one must have a minimum size of 24 inches tall by 20 inches wide with at least 5.7 square feet of total opening space.
Access - A room cannot be considered a bedroom if it is used to access another room (besides a bathroom or closet).
Closet - Florida code indicates that a room must have a closet to be considered a bedroom. See additional discussion about closets below
Florida Building Code Reference Links
2012 Supplement to the Florida Building Code, Building
Southwest Glass & Mirror has listed window specifications here.
Fannie Mae and HUD
Fannie Mae and HUD generally refer to compliance with local code and market acceptance as opposed to publishing a list of exact requirements for bedrooms. As with many of their guidelines, they are spread out over multiple topic discussions. The Fannie Mae Selling Guide is often a good source for researching specifics.
An Example From the Fannie Mae Selling Guide
Layout and Floor Plans - "Dwellings with unusual layouts and floor plans generally have limited market appeal. A review of the room list and floor plan for the dwelling unit may indicate an unusual layout, such as bedrooms on a level with no bath, or a kitchen on a different level from the dining room. If the appraiser indicates that such inadequacies will result in market resistance to the subject property, he or she must make appropriate adjustments to reflect this in the overall analysis. However, if market acceptance can be demonstrated through the use of comparable sales with the same inadequacies, no adjustments are required."
FHA requirements for bedrooms are generally less stringent than Florida Code, therefore they are are not of concern for this discussion. HUD reference material can be found here
Is a closet required for a room to qualify as a bedroom in the appraisal report?
The answer is complicated. Florida Code says it does, but it is not a requirement for Fannie Mae or HUD. This conflict can be resolved in multiple ways. For example, the appraiser may address market acceptance of the lack of a closet through use of comparable sales with the same condition. They also could determine a cost to correct the condition and include comments in the report. They also might decide that the room does not qualify as a bedroom due to the lack of a closet and inability to reasonably create/build one.
Similarly a "bedroom that is used to access another room" floor plan could have multiple potential outcomes. For example a sitting room is often accessed only through the master bedroom (for infants, reading, or other non-sleeping use). Although it can be a common layout and can be proven to have market acceptance, it is typically only going to be reflected as a single bedroom. This does not mean that the area does not have value, and if the appraiser can reason that the layout could reasonably accommodate a new doorway to a hall, then they might comment on a cost estimate to correct the condition and count it as a bedroom. However, if the room is much smaller than a typical bedroom, then the market will probably not recognize it as a bedroom and it cannot be reasonably modified to correct the issue.
Ceiling Height - A bedroom ceiling should be at least 7' tall. If you have a room with vaulted ceilings and some of the area is lower than 7' that is acceptable, but at least half of the ceiling needs to be a minimum of 7' high. While we are on the subject, ANSI requirements state that areas below 5' in height are not to be included in the living area calculations.
Security Bars - Occupants must be able to operate emergency egress openings without the use of keys, tools or special knowledge. Fixed window bars without a quick release mechanism are a fire hazard and will be called for removal in an appraisal.
We hope you have enjoyed this article. If you have any private appraisal needs in Florida, our network of appraisers can handle any type of property including residential, commercial, industrial and special use. Please consider calling us at 561-301-3750 or requesting an appraisal through our website.