Updated: Jan 30
A common reason for house sales to fall through is due to the incorrect classification of a bedroom. A buyer sees a house advertised as a 3 bed but after the surveyor conducts the survey they inform the would be buyer that one of the rooms cannot be classified as a bedroom!
This can cause major disruption, as their mortgage approval was based on it being a 3 bed and not a 2 bed, and it appeared the seller / real estate agent may have unintentionally mis-advertised the property.
Even if the previous owners used the room as a bedroom, there is a clear definition of a bedroom and if the room does not meet those criteria then it cannot be sold as a bedroom.... So in order to sell a house as a 3 bed, and not as a 2 bed plus study, all three rooms must meet the following 4 criteria:
The room must have at least 2 points of egress (i.e. exit). It should be accessible from the house (commonly through a door), and then have one other exit, be that a window or another door to the outside. This may be obvious, but if your room doesn't have a window, then it cannot be classified as a bedroom.
2. Ceiling Height:
A bedroom ceiling needs to be at least 2.4m tall for the floor area which is above 1.5m high. It’s okay if some portions of the ceiling are below this level, but at least 50% of the ceiling needs to be a minimum of 2.4m in height. Ceiling height is not usually an issue, however, if you want to consider a converted attic as a bedroom then the 50% coverage at the minimum height is a real factor.
3. Means of Escape:
A bedroom must have one other method of exit beyond the entrance point. A door to the exterior works as an exit point, and so does a window. According to the current building regulations, fire escape windows must provide:
An unobstructed opening of at least 0.33 m²
A minimum opening width of 0.45m
A minimum opening height of 0.45m
The lowest part of the window must be between 0.8m - 1.1m from the floor. Note a step under the window can be installed to meet this requirement
So if your bedroom has only a roof light or a small slither of a window, then it cannot be classified as a bedroom.
4. Bedroom Size:
The size of a single bedroom must be a minimum of 2.1m in width and have a minimum floor area of 7.1 m². And note that the minimum floor areas excludes built in storage space.
We have seen some unorthodox DIY interior improvements this year including the main staircase into a bedroom, a partition wall dividing a large front window to convert it into 2 rooms and a free standing shower in the corner of a room. Whilst these modifications may technically create more rooms and an en-suite bedroom, they are not building regulation compliant and prospective buyers should be informed of them.
If you are buying a house and in need a house survey for your new home; then please visit www.GetHouseSurvey.co.uk and we'll be happy to help.