Home Buying in Newington>Question Details

Laura, Home Buyer in Newington, CT

If a condominium has a lower level with a walk out finished basement, is it legal to use it as a bedroom?

Asked by Laura, Newington, CT Wed Jan 12, 2011

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Nicholle McKiernan’s answer
Hi Laura,
I was just reading your question and recalled a similar situation when I sold a house a few years ago up at Pepperbush in Newington. I would recommend that you speak with your Realtor and then do some research at the Newington Town Hall to see exactly what was done to the unit. If the lower level had a permit pulled and inspected than you could surely use the square footage as additional space but I would be very careful in describing it as a bedroom.

Feel free to contact me if you have additional questions. I can be reached at nicholle.dagata@coldwellbanker.com.

Good luck,
Nicholle
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jan 19, 2011
The only issue I see you having is trying to advertise your condo for sale including the lower level as a bedroom. Although your basement is finished and has a walkout it is not recognized as living space by most bank underwriters and towns therefore, rooms would not be included in square footage or bedroom count.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Jan 15, 2011
There is a difference between using it as a bedroom and counting it as a bedroom for tax or listing purposes.
Using it as a bedroom is up to you...assuming you understand the danger of limited egress for the family member using the psuedo bedroom. If you have the window and door, it counts, and the family member has the two potential exits in case of emergency!
Jim
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jan 13, 2011
Is it legal to USE it as a bedroom? Probably. We usually don't have police that come to check which rooms are being used as bedrooms.
Is it COUNTED as a bedroom? Probably not. Bedrooms must be above-grade.
Lower levels/basements are just that - lower levels. They are not to be included in square footage measurements, and their rooms (beds, baths, family rooms, etc.) are not to be included in room counts.

Also, I have seen condo associations limit not only the number of bedrooms per unit, but also the number of people that may reside in a unit. If you are needing to utilize that basement room as a bedroom, you will want to review the condo documents to make sure you do not go over any such limits.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jan 12, 2011
It must have a minimum sized window, that opens for ventilation, and light. If there is no exterior door the window must be large enough to use for evacuation in fire. You may need two smoke detectors on both sides of the bedroom door. One in the bedroom and one one the same level as the bedroom. You also need to comly with condo assoc. rules, and the N.E.C. code for bedrooms. Consult a local architect, to be sure.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jan 12, 2011
Hello Laura,

The condo has a lower level with a walkout and I'm sure it has a door from the rest of the unit? All it needs now is smoke detector and you have a bedroom. Happy House Hunting. Respectfully, Esther
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jan 12, 2011
All homes are limited to number of bedrooms by Town law/limits. Sometimes this has to do with land size and sometimes septic system capacity. Although you being part of a condominium complex neither of these would apply. However what would apply is what your codominium complex has limted each unit to. This number originally set by the town/city. So if you bought a two bedroom unit you are more than likely limited to a two bedroom unit. One way around that would be that if you did have two means of exgress to the basement and were to omitt one of the other bedrooms by opening up a wall or whatever your building code requires you may now be able to call that basement room a bedroom. Remember whatever changes you make with reagrds to improvements should be to town code and pass any building inspections required and also stay within your condo by-laws. Resell will be tough on you if you fail to comply. Hope I helped.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jan 12, 2011
In Kansas, you can count a lower level room as a bedroom if it has a window and a door. You have to have 2 exits from any bedroom and one has to be to the outside.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jan 12, 2011
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