Home Buying in Los Angeles>Question Details

kilokang, Home Buyer in Los Angeles, CA

A 3rd bedroom is in the basement and doesn't have windows but has a door to the garage. Is this a legal bedroom? Redondo Beach

Asked by kilokang, Los Angeles, CA Fri Nov 23, 2012

Help the community by answering this question:


Whether it meets the legal requirements is not the right question... the question is whether or not it is permitted...
Often zoning laws change and what was permitted then is not now.. also inspectors sign off on all kinds of stuff... so it may be permitted by a fluke or otherwise mysterious circumstance...

i would check the permit records at the city to get the response.

1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri Nov 23, 2012
NO. A legal bedroom must have a window. And a minimum the size of that window has to be 20 inch x 30 inch clear when open(this means no molding, no glass, no obstruction what so ever). And it must be no more than 44 inches from the finished floor. Also, once you get outside of that window, there must be a clear area to get onto and it must not be more than 44" below the surrounding grade. The building department and the assessor will NOT count this space as a bedroom unless it meets these requirements.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri Nov 23, 2012
It is not legal. A bedroom must have a window to be permitted. Check with the local building and safety department or http://ladbs.org/LADBSWeb/public-home.jsf

Good luck.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri Nov 23, 2012
Many times, tax records don't match to what's legally permitted probably because previous owners have altered property without permits. You would need to contact a licensed general contractor to search for permits or contact your local building and safety department.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Nov 25, 2012
Tax records may show 3 a bedroom home, however, it is not a "legal" bedroom (as you describe it) per the building code. The previous owner may have made some changes without a permit. When reselling, this will be an issue.
There is no limit to the number of bathrooms you can have.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Nov 25, 2012
@ janey and kat.
The tax records show it as a 3 br. Always has been. Im concerned that if we purchase the home it could be changed to a 2 br status. Can they do that?
2nd question to @ everyone
. In CA is there a limit to the number of full bathrooms per sq ft for a townhome. I wanna add a shower to the half bathroom. The unit is only 1800 sq ft and has 2 full baths already. But both are in 2 bedrooms. The 3rd br in question on this blog would have go into one of the 2 brs unless we can add a shower to the bathroom on main level. Thanks everyone. This was very helpful!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Nov 24, 2012
Probably not...but the only way to be really sure is to check the permits. Contact the Department of Building and Safety in your area to get copies of the property permits.

Good luck!

All the best,
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Nov 24, 2012
Best to check permits with DBS because codes have changed over the decades. What is the purpose of your question?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Nov 23, 2012
From your description, it doesn't sound like it. Generally we consider a room a bedroom that has a door, window and closet. It's very unusual for a California home to have a basement. I've actually never seen a home with one. You will have to check with the city and pull the permits to know if it is permitted.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Nov 23, 2012
Probably not...but why the question???

I've seen all sorts of things called bedrooms that I would not view as a legitimate bedroom. But before you put all kinds of time researching into it, my question is, are you interested in the home?

If you are, what difference does it make whether the bedroom is legal or not? Would knowing this impact your decision to buy? Would it impact the price you offer? If this home is of interest to you, feel free to pursue it - but clarify for yourself why this is important.

If you are not interested, move on and don't waste any time on this.

Best of luck.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Nov 23, 2012
Best way to find out for sure if your bedroom is legal is to visit deoartment of building and safety and ask them for permits/ certificate of ocupancy.

In order to receive certificate of occupancy (make it a legal bedroom from garage) you must apply with department of building and safety.

If you converting garage into bedroom you must provide: plans for new bedroom, bedroom must have closet and at least one window, also you must show garage/car port that will be used instead garage that you are converting.

Hope this helps.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Nov 23, 2012
Who is telling you it's a bedroom? Owners and real estate agents have no authority to say what is a bedroom and what is not, only the government agency that issues building permits and does inspections can do that. Even if a room has a door, closet and a window, that doesn't make it a bedroom. Only a properly filed, approved and inspected building permit makes it a bedroom.
Beware of title records when trying to track all the permits associated with a home. There is often a disconnect between the county recorder's office and the building department. I've found that about 50% of title records are in error for homes that have been remodelled. Always go by building department records, never title records.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Nov 23, 2012
Hi, the tax records have it listed as a 3BR. it is not a basement but on the ground level of the garage. But the unit is built with a land surrounding the garage level so will never be able to have a window.
Flag Fri Nov 23, 2012
No, it isn't. A bedroom can't have direct access to a garage and it has to have at least one window.

I hope that helps.

Marty Walker
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Nov 23, 2012
Does it show in the title records? What's the address? Post it here with your question and ill post the title info.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Nov 23, 2012
It does show as a 3 BR in tax records. But the only "egress" is into the garage. So technically not an egress? I was thinking of putting up a wall so we can access garage without walking through the bedroom. What do u think?
Flag Fri Nov 23, 2012
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