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Attic bedroom with ladder

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Attic bedroom with ladder

Postby Laura2314 » Mon Aug 27, 2018 8:02 am

Good morning everyone,

I'm interested in a room in Westchester County.
It's an attic bedroom with an attic ladder.
I'm somehwat concerned abouth the safety of the ladder and, when I come to think of it, of the attic itself. Someone lived there already, but I'm heavier than them.

Where can I find safety regulations that apply to my case, both for renting the attic as a bedroom, and for the ladder?
I haven't signed the contract yet. What should I look out for when I do?

Thank you so much for your help!!

L
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Re: Attic bedroom with ladder

Postby TenantNet » Mon Aug 27, 2018 10:06 am

It may be cute, but it's not a bedroom. It's illegal. I'd report the landlord for trying to rent out such a dangerous space as a "room."
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Re: Attic bedroom with ladder

Postby Laura2314 » Mon Aug 27, 2018 10:18 am

Thank you for your reply.
Is it always illegal to rent out the attic as a bedroom?
I thought that there were rules and regulations around that, not that it was totally prohibited.
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Re: Attic bedroom with ladder

Postby TenantNet » Mon Aug 27, 2018 10:43 am

In our view, the issue is the ladder as the entrance to the room.

But you didn't tell us enough on other issues. First, in your location you need to see if it's legal to even rent out a room without a special license. You don't say if this is a roommate situation or a rooming house. For rooming houses some locations require a license.

Then there's the issue of egress. What would happen in case of a fire? The way you describe this, it's not like a loft bed in an otherwise bedroom that is OK, but that the entire room is in an attic, and the only entrance/exit is by ladder.

As a practical matter, attics can get very hot in the summer - and very cold in the winter. Even with some insulation and ventilation, they can feel like ovens.
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Re: Attic bedroom with ladder

Postby Laura2314 » Mon Aug 27, 2018 10:48 am

Thanks for your reply.

It is a flatmate situation. I was planning to get a lease with other tenants.

And yes the entire room is in the attic, and fire or no fire, the only entrance/exit is by ladder.
Is this clearly illegal?
(I'm sorry I have very poor knowledge of the law in this domain)

Thanks!
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Re: Attic bedroom with ladder

Postby TenantNet » Mon Aug 27, 2018 11:07 am

Flatmate? Is this in the UK? It's not a term used in the US.

There are no specific laws that outlaw ladders to attic, but you need to look at thinks like egress, ventilation (natural) and so on.
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Re: Attic bedroom with ladder

Postby Laura2314 » Mon Aug 27, 2018 11:10 am

No, it's in the US.
I used the word flatmate rather than roommate to make it clear I wasn't sharing the room with anyone.
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Re: Attic bedroom with ladder

Postby Laura2314 » Mon Aug 27, 2018 11:14 am

I'm also worried about the ladder breaking down while I'm on it.
I would like to find a list of safety regulation I could show to the landlord and check everything is ok. Would you have any suggestions?
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Re: Attic bedroom with ladder

Postby TenantNet » Mon Aug 27, 2018 12:06 pm

The word "flat" as used in this context is not American. Most would not understand it. It really doesn't clarify what you intended. Just say you would not be sharing the room, but that it's a roommate situation (where all the tenants and occupants rented at once) and not a rooming house (which various people have nothing in common other than a shared bathroom).

Other than OSHA. I'm not aware of any regs on ladders. But why do you want to show this to the LL? That makes no sense. What would they do -- go out and get an OSHA-approved ladder? If they're pulling this stunt, do you honestly think they care about complying with any regulations?

Seriously, you should report this LL to the Westchester authorities and look for a different place.
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Re: Attic bedroom with ladder

Postby Laura2314 » Mon Aug 27, 2018 12:08 pm

Thanks for your reply and for the linguistic clarification.

What exactly is illegal in what the landlord is doing?
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Re: Attic bedroom with ladder

Postby Laura2314 » Mon Aug 27, 2018 12:12 pm

I'm from a different country so there might things I'm not understanding.
The attic ladder is getting a bit old. I'm not sure how safe it is. I wanted to show the LL regulations in case the ladder wasn't safe so he would have to change it.
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Re: Attic bedroom with ladder

Postby TenantNet » Mon Aug 27, 2018 2:25 pm

I checked with an architect who gave me his gut reaction (not checking any laws that apply to this location), but...

My initial reaction is: No! Let's assume it is a two story structure. This eliminates the need for a second means of egress; but a ladder is not a stair which, in and of itself, is not a legal access even if it were a pull-down type of access which for all physical reasons would fit the requirements of a stair. (Riser to tread ratio of 7.5" to 10" with a handrail and closed riser panels. Cellar and attic stair R/T ratio is 8"/9" and does not qualify as an accessible stair. Any greater pitch is classified as a ladder..) I do not think you can do it if there is a building code at all where this condition exists. I know the IBC (Int'l Building Code) will not permit it. I am saying nothing about light and air ratio, insulation or electrical.


In other words, don't do it - and again, report this to the authorities.
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Re: Attic bedroom with ladder

Postby Laura2314 » Mon Aug 27, 2018 3:03 pm

Great, thanks, will do.
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