Q. What are the requirements for electrical outlets in a bedroom? We are renting a two-bedroom apartment, and the second bedroom (11-by-13 feet) has only one outlet in the entire room. In order to plug in my son's computer, TV, stereo, and lamp, we've got extension cords running everywhere. We've asked the landlord to provide more outlets, but all we get are excuses. Are more outlets required in this room?
A. By today's standards, a bedroom should have one outlet for each 12 feet of wall and at least one outlet on each wall. This may be an older building that predates current electrical standards. However, numerous extension cords create a fire hazard. For that reason, the landlord should be concerned about the shortage of outlets and should want to do something about it.
By the way, make sure your apartment has a smoke alarm and a carbon monoxide alarm. Both are safety requirements with which your landlord may or may not be in compliance.
Q. I am about to make an offer on a house, but one thing keeps nagging at me. There is no doorway from the garage into the house, but there is a patched wall that looks as though there used to be a door. Why would someone remove a doorway that is so essential and convenient?
A. There is only one common reason to eliminate a doorway from a garage into a house. If the door enters a bedroom, that is not permitted by code. The reason for this prohibition is that an idling car in a garage can cause exhaust fumes to enter through an open door. If this were to occur when people were sleeping in the bedroom, they might never wake up. If the door enters any other room in the house, that is totally permissible.
Good luck with the purchase, and be sure to find a highly experienced home inspector before you buy any home.
Q. I am buying a condo. The inside appears to be in perfect condition, and the outside is maintained by the homeowners association. Is there any reason to get a home inspection?
A. Many condo buyers have asked this question. In my opinion, it is always a good idea to have a condo inspected. A qualified home inspector can discover defects with the plumbing, electrical, heating and more, even when the condo appears to be in excellent condition. Interior defects can be negotiated with the seller.
People often assume the exterior of a condo doesn't need inspection because the homeowners association (HOA) is responsible for repairs. But HOA's are often unaware of exterior defects until they are reported by a home inspector. For example, the exterior siding could be rotted, the roof could have potential leaks, or there could be a problem with the chimney.
Just be sure to find a home inspector with years of experience and a reputation for thoroughness.
• To write to Barry Stone, visit him on the web at www.housedetective.com, or write AMG, 1776 Jami Lee Court, Suite 218, San Luis Obispo, CA 94301.
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