Home Buying in 55901>Question Details

Cara, Both Buyer and Seller in Rochester, MN

What defines a space as a bedroom in Minnesota?

Asked by Cara, Rochester, MN Fri Mar 20, 2009

We just looked at a home that was listed as 4 bedrooms but the lower level room they are counting as the 4th bedroom doesn't have a closet, and has glass French doors. It's clearly an office-type space. In Minnesota, can a room be advertised as a bedroom with no closet? I didn't think so. In that case, what IS the legal definition of a bedroom? It seems like unfair advertising if they are counting that when they shouldn't.

Help the community by answering this question:


Cara, each city in the state has the ability to define or not define what is or is not a "legal" bedroom. The main concern with a lower level bedroom is egress. If the egress window is large enough for someone to get out of in case of a fire, then the chances are pretty good that room can be called a bedroom. Many cities do not require closets or a particular kind of door. Some have limits on how low the ceiling can be but others do not.

The doors could be easily changed and an amoire used instead of a closet, so my guess would be that the advertising is within the "norm" for that area. Sometimes the listing will have pictures or maybe notes that say "non-conforming" on them.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sat Mar 21, 2009
Times and styles are changing and bedrooms may have an armoire which houses clothing instead of a closet. Think of the olden days or the South of France! We just had an appraiser's class on this and it was decided that a closet is no longer in the general description. Ceiling heights, egress window, door etc are still legal descriptions.
Web Reference: http://topbrainerdagent.com
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri Mar 20, 2009
It is not up to the MLS regulation coordinator to define a bedroom, as it is up to the city. This is commonly mistaken by agents. If the bedroom conforms to the city's definition, it can and will be called a bedroom by the MLS. I hope this helps.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Oct 12, 2010

It seems as though there is a lot of talk about the cities defining bedrooms and while that is helpful and useful, it is up to the MLS to define a bedroom when it comes to "listing" a property. Have your agent send an email to the rules and regulations administrator with the local MLS system requesting they review the listing that you saw.

You might also ask your agent for the MLS's definition of a bedroom so you can know what to expect when you are out looking. Keep in mind however that it is up to the agents and consumers to police the accuracy of the MLS data, nobody from the MLS it touring these properties to check compliance so there will be instances where you find an agent who is trying to sneek one by to get a leg up for their client.

Good Luck in your search.

Cameron Piper
Web Reference: http://www.campiper.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Jul 3, 2010
I have personally run into the 7' ceiling height issue in a basement bedroom. That will be more of a problem with the FHA or VA purchases.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jun 27, 2010
Olmsted county defines a bedroom as egress window+door+closet. When homes are listed incorrectly we ask the listing agent to make the correction. The house you viewed appears to be a 3 bedroom plus office. You can contact the MLS office (probably the Southeast Minnesota Association of REATLORS) to report the error.
Lois Marris
Web Reference: http://www.semnrealtors.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat May 9, 2009

The universal definition for a bedroom:

door+window+closet = bedroom

Hope this is helpful
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Mar 20, 2009
Hi, Cara - In our MLS area, a bedroom needs a closet, needs 2 possible exits - door and egress window, that is, one you could use to exit the premises. Closets could be a little more difficult to define since they can be of any size, etc. However, I'm with you and I would not count a closetless space as a a Bedroom. I have seen many homes with French doors; since these can be draped or otherwise covered, that would be OK. I don't think many would disagree with the idea that there should be a closet, but I don't think any litigation regarding false advertising would be pursued. The seller could be asked to cease and desist; if it is listed and advertised by a licensee in the state of MN, there realtor board could be contacted and they could be asked to cease and desist with a possible penalty if the advertising did not meet the standard of that Board.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Mar 20, 2009
Legal definitions often differ that real life definitions. If a bedroom can be used as a bedroom (even if needing minor modifications to do so) a lot of people will count it as one for advertising. The purpose is not to mislead you but to get greater exposure of people. For instance some people are looking for a 4 bedroom because they need 3 bedrooms plus an office, in that instance what you described would be perfect. I know that it may be frustrating if you are truly looking for 4 "real" bedrooms but try to look at it from the seller's side.
Web Reference: http://www.lennyfrolov.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Mar 20, 2009
I think it is a "code" question and an interpretive one. Code is there must be a legal size window (don't remember the size) large enough for a fire fighter to get in and out for a possible rescue. There should be a closet and a door that makes it private. Even though a room cannot "legally" be called a bedroom, many people use them as such. When it's your house, if you want to use a room as a bedroom, nobody can tell you, you can't. It's just that for real estate descriptive purposes and safety issues, there are certain elements that we consider when calling a room a bedroom. Ceiling height can also play a factor. FHA has issues with calling rooms legal rooms if the ceiling is too low.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Mar 20, 2009
Each city has their own legal definition. City of Minnetonka does not require a closet, for example.

However, most consumers expect an egressable window, closet, door, walkable ceiling height (7'+), at least 9' x 9'.
Web Reference: http://www.AaronSOLD.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Mar 20, 2009
I am looking to buy a house in Minnetonka. A bedroom addition in the lower level, which is build directly under a four season porch, does not have heat. It does have a closet, window, and the back door to the house is located here. Is this a bedroom?
Flag Thu May 14, 2015
I am looking to buy a house in Minnetonka. A bedroom addition in the lower level, which is build directly under a four season porch, does not have heat. It does have a closet, window, and the back door to the house is located here. Is this a bedroom?
Flag Thu May 14, 2015
Search Advice
Ask our community a question
Email me when…

Learn more

Copyright © 2015 Trulia, Inc. All rights reserved.   |  
Have a question? Visit our Help Center to find the answer