There’s no single legal definition for a bedroom in Texas. The International Residential Code (IRC), published by the International Code Council and adopted by Texas in 2001, establishes a set of residential building standards for public safety and welfare that include requirements for what can be considered a bedroom. Amendments to the IRC adopted by local jurisdictions may add to those requirements.
If it is not obvious whether a room in your listing counts as a bedroom, the IRC and other codes mentioned here can help you resolve the question.
Your local building official is a good source of information on local codes and amendments to the IRC.
Misrepresenting the status of a room in the MLS could put you at risk of violating the MLS’s rules, Article 2 the Code of Ethics, which states that REALTORS® must avoid exaggerating or misrepresenting facts related to the property, and TREC Rule 535.155(d), which states an advertisement could mislead or deceive the public if it is inaccurate in any material fact or representation.
The IRC requires a bedroom to have:
- A floor area of not less than 70 square feet and not less than 7 feet in any horizontal dimension
- A minimum ceiling height of 7 feet, and if there is a sloped ceiling, then a minimum of 50% of ceiling must be a minimum of 7 feet high
- At least one operable emergency escape and rescue opening with a clear opening of not less than 5.7 square feet, and a required egress window that must have a minimum width of 20 inches, a minimum height of 24 inches, and a maximum window sill height of 44 inches.
Housing built prior to the adoption of the IRC by Texas that remains unchanged is not required to comply with IRC standards for what may be considered a bedroom. However, there are some instances when requirements on what may be considered a bedroom are imposed on such housing, including specific requirements of the IRC, the International Property Maintenance Code, the International Fire Code, or from a local building official. Additionally, the Texas Property Code’s definition of “an area of a dwelling intended as sleeping quarters” applies to rooms offered for rent.
Whether a bedroom must have a closet is not governed by the IRC or Texas Property Code, but local residential codes may require one, along with heat sourcing and other amendments to the IRC. Furthermore, certain lenders, like FHA, VA, and Fannie Mae, may have definitions for a bedroom within their appraisal guidelines.