Real Estate: Consider This…What is a Legal Bedroom in NY State?

June 8, 2021


New York City Building Codes were updated in 1968, 2008 and again in 2014. According to the 2008 New York City Building Code, which applies to most multi-family buildings constructed between 2008 and the present, a legal bedroom must generally meet these criteria:

  • Have a minimum of 80 square feet and no dimension measuring less than 8 feet. If the apartment contains three or more bedrooms, half of the bedrooms may have a minimum dimension of 7 feet.
  • Have a minimum ceiling height of 8 feet. If the bedroom is in a basement, it must have a ceiling height of at least 7 feet. If there’s a sloped ceiling over all or part of the room, there must be a clear ceiling height of at least 7 feet over at least two-thirds of the room.
  • Have at least one window that opens to a street, yard, garden or court on the same lot. In some zoning districts, skylights may be substituted for windows.
  • Have two means of egress; whether egress is via window or a door, it must be operable from the inside without the use of keys, tools or special skills.
  • Cannot serve as a passage to another room.

Many brokers and leasing agents suggest that a bedroom must also include a closet if it’s to be considered “legal,” but the NYC building code does not include such a requirement.