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Medium: Online (3rd party)
ASAI Code 7th Edition: 2.4(c), 4.1, 4.4, 4.9, 4.10
An advertisement for a property included the description
"2 beds 1 bath Semi-Detached House”
The complaint considered the advertisement to be misleading. When he arrived to view the property, he said that he had to climb up a ladder leaning against a beam to get into one of the bedrooms and considered that a room which had to be accessed by a ladder could not be advertised as a bedroom.
The advertisers regretted any inconvenience caused to the complainant. They highlighted that multiple photographs of the property, including the steps leading to the second bedroom, had been included in the advertisement.
The ASAI Executive noted that the photographs of the second bedroom showed a mezzanine type platform which was accessed by a ladder and led to a space through a hatchway. The space had a low, attic-type slant ceiling.
The ASAI Executive enquired with Dublin City Council’s Planning Department whether there were any definitions or requirements in planning regulations related to bedrooms. The advice received was that a standard bedroom commonly has a number of characteristics. Even if the room was previously used as a bedroom, a bedroom should meet the following 4 criteria:
1. 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 a room does not have a window, then it cannot be classified as a bedroom.
2. A bedroom ceiling needs to be at least 2.4m tall for the floor area which is above 1.5m high. It is 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 a converted attic is considered as a bedroom, then the 50% coverage at the minimum height is a real factor.
3. 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
• If the bedroom has only a roof light or a small slither of a window, then it cannot be classified as a bedroom.
4. 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. Note that the minimum floor areas excludes built in storage space.
The ASAI Executive also conducted desktop research and noted similar information at https://www.gethousesurvey.ie/post/what-constitutes-a-bedroom. In addition, they noted that the Technical Guidance Document B- Fire Safety - Volume 2 Dwelling Houses (1)
Stated “1.3.7 Windows for escape or rescue 188.8.131.52 General Windows may provide an alternative means of escape or may be used for rescue purposes in dwelling houses of limited height. As a general provision, all bedrooms in dwelling houses, other than bedrooms with doors that give direct access to the outside should have at least one window which complies with the provisions herein.
As an alternative, a door which gives direct access to a balcony which is suitable for rescue by ladder or for escape may be used.” Further information detailed the requirements for the windows and other potential exits.
(1) gov.ie - Technical Guidance Document B- Fire Safety - Volume 2 Dwelling Houses (www.gov.ie)
The Complaints Committee considered the detail of the complaint and the advertisers’ response.
The Complaints Committee noted the information on the planning requirements for bedrooms. They also noted that the space involved did not appear to conform to these requirements. In the circumstances, the Committee considered the advertisement to be misleading and in breach of Code Sections 4.1, 4.4, 4.9 and 4.10.
The Complaints Committee told advertisers to ensure that property advertising correctly reflected the nature of the rooms involved.