What counts as a bedroom?

What counts as a bedroom? Realtors must answer this question each time they list a property, as misrepresenting a home can have serious consequences. 

City of Ottawa by-law defines a bedroom as "a room used or designed for use primarily for sleeping." Sounds like a no-brainer, right? By-law also regulates the size of bedrooms, with a minimum floor area of 7 square metres (that's about 75 square feet). Finally, a bedroom must contain a window of a size equivalent to 5% of the floor area of the room. That means in the tiniest bedroom allowed by by-law, the window must be at least 3.77 square feet in size. This ensures that anyone in the room has an additional point of egress in the case of fire or other emergency. 

So, is a den a bedroom? What about the walk-in closet converted into a nursery? That bonus room in the basement? 

Regardless of how a property owner chooses to use the rooms in their home, a Realtor cannot list a property with more or fewer bedrooms than exist within the definition of city by-law. This may come as a shock to some homeowners, if they believe they have a 4-bedroom house to sell and find out that legally the house only holds 3 bedrooms. If in doubt, consult a trusty measuring tape and discuss your concerns with your Realtor. We are always happy to discuss the impact of bedrooms on property value, and can refer you to trustworthy contractors if bringing a bedroom up to code is a must for you. 

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