Apartment Occupancy Rules

by Tom Simplot

Feb 26, 2017

When you are renting a home or apartment to live in, you have to be careful how many people are living in that home. Some families or groups of friends may try to crowd into an apartment to save money; but this can create a dangerous or even illegal situation.

 

There are guidelines that govern the rules around occupancy in apartment and rental homes. There are rules and regulations issued by the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the Fair Housing Act which are intended to prevent overcrowding and health code violations. A lot of information is online on this topic and your manager will also have this information for you, if it applies.

 

Renters must also comply with state and local fire and health codes to ensure the safety.

 

HUD offers broad guidelines about the size of habitable rooms and suggests that no more than two people should share a room of at least 70 square feet (a bedroom of at least 10 feet by 7 feet). Individual communities may also have restrictions on how many can live in an apartment or rental home, based on the size of the home.

 

Generally, you should look at the guidelines in your lease. Usually, a tenant can have “2+1,” meaning there can be two persons per bedroom plus one. Infants and teens are generally considered in a different light as they may not require as much living space.

 

As we all learned from tragedies in Chicago and Oakland, it is also extremely dangerous to overcrowd a building or apartment.

 

If you suspect someone in your community isn’t complying with the rules, approach your manager with your concerns. Operators have a responsibility to provide safe and healthy, habitable living environments for those in their community and they will help address any issues that you see.