This is probably an odd question, but I thought I would give it a shot.
I installed windows without a permit and, of course, got caught (but, frankly, I had no idea one was required, nor did my contractor). In two bedrooms, none of the windows meet the 5.0 square feet requirement (one's at 4.92 and another is at 4.3.) The windows are in, and re-framed, so it would be prohibitively expensive to eat the cost of the window, and pay to have it re-framed and re-installed.
One solution that I'm contemplating is to trim the plastic sash stops that slide up and down to restrict the range of sash movement to allow the bottom sash to slide up further. Or, conversely, trim the bottom plastic trim, too. I only need approximately 2-3 inches total to meet the egress requirements.
Has anyone done something like this before? Is this an absolutely terrible idea?
Permits not required here unless the opening is modified. Egress from basement living or sleeping spaces is required and needs to be 5.7sf IRC code. Other bedroom windows are usually not an issue in existing construction, since they are usually large enough for a person to fit thru.
Did the old windows meet the requirement? Is it even possible to find a window that meets the requirements and fits in the existing Rough Opening?
If the answer to both is no then it's time to sit down with the building department for a discusssion. Of course, they'd be a lot more reasonable if you got the permit first. But, nonetheless, it seems reasonable for you to question why the City allowed the home to be sold to you without proper egress windows, and whether it is reasonable now to make significant structural changes to meet the requirements or whether grandfathering is appropriate.