Legal Requirements for a Bedroom in Minnesota

What are the legal requirements in Minnesota to make a room into a bedroom?

Legal Requirements for a Bedrooms in Minnesota - What is a Bedroom Anyway?

If you’re planning a basement remodel, or starting from scratch to finish your basement, then you might want to consider adding a bedroom. While finishing a basement does gain you a 65-75% return on investment, according to a recent analysis by the National Association of Realtors, adding another bedroom can increase the total value of your home. Here’s what you’ll need in order to make a legal bedroom in your basement, or your attic.

#1: It Must have an Egress

Photo courtesy of This Old House

Adding an egress window in a basement varies greatly in cost and scope. It will require some light landscaping, cutting into the foundation, adding the window and finally, finishing off the space on the outside and the inside. It can cost anywhere between $1,500-6,500, depending on the work to be completed, the level of finish work that is required, and the materials you choose. An important note: any egress window well that exceeds a certain height will also require a ladder. The specific height varies by the city and county but typically ranges from 32”-42”.

#2: Bedroom Square Foot Requirements

Photo courtesy of Long Island Egress Pros

If you’ve ever tried to purchase a home in the Minneapolis market you may have been shocked by what some people will call a bedroom. But believe it or not there is a specific square footage requirement in the state of Minnesota. The land of 10,000 lakes requires at least 70 square feet of gross floor space for one person, 90 square feet for two people. There is also a ceiling height requirement: at least 84”. If you’re dealing with an attic space or an area with sloped ceilings, any square footage with a ceiling height below 84” will be calculated at a smaller percentage.

#3: Smoke & Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Photo courtesy of The Family Handyman        

Safety first! Every sleeping space is required to have both a smoke detector and a carbon monoxide detector. There are great units that combine smoke and carbon monoxide into one device and these do still meet state requirements. Remember to pay attention to your specific city codes, many cities have more particular requirements about placement and type. For instance, some municipalities may require a hardwired detector while others will allow a battery powered unit. In order to find out, most cities post these basic requirements on their websites but you can also call your local residential permit office and ask an inspector directly.

#4: To Closet or Not to Closet

Photo courtesy of This Old House

       It is not actually a state requirement to include a closet in a legal bedroom. However, almost every city and many mortgage lenders will require it in order for a space to be considered a bedroom. These requirements will vary depending on the city but most will require a built in closet, no furniture pieces. Other important things to note: a typical hanger will require at least 24” of depth in order to hang clothes on a rod, and your city may or may not require a door of 24” or wider.

       Now that you know the requirements you are all set to get started on creating new bedrooms for your home. Make sure to check your local codes as they are often more strict than the state standards. Whether you add one or even two bedrooms to your basement plans, it will add overall value to your home and improve your immediate return on investment. Now that’s a great reason to make room - happy building!