Is your occupancy limit a fair-housing violation?

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07/17/2015 | Author: Editorial Staff

The owner of the rental property I manage wants to limit the number of people who can live in the property. Will such a policy violate fair-housing laws? 

Possibly. A property owner who tries to impose limits on families with children may be violating fair-housing laws that protect familial status. 

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development says an occupancy policy of two people per bedroom can be reasonable, but other factors should be considered, including the size and number of bedrooms, the age of the children, and the configuration of the unit.

You should ensure that your occupancy policy is consistent and applies to all occupants and rental applicants. For example, you can’t refuse to rent to one family because they have children or demand that a tenant with a baby on the way move to a larger unit. 

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Categories: Legal, Landlords, Renters
Tags: legal, legal faq, renters, leasing, property management, property manager


Holly Pichette on 08/30/2016

I have a very small rental (600 sq ft.)  two bedroom.  Application came in for two adults and 4 children ( one child is an infant) .  Both bedrooms are small.  Can this family be denied legally?  It just doesn’t seem to be big enough. Please advise.

Derrick Dawson on 07/17/2015

correction in multi family (in general)  and hud follow the two per bedroom guidelines not one

That was typo

Derrick Dawson on 07/17/2015

what about in this case:

You are denied for a reason based on the number of people in and out of the home which does not specify a particular reason?

Let me set the scene:

I have four adults wanting to rent a four bedroom home with two living spaces and 3 1/2 bath

After the denial which was unreasonable and unacceptable we requested a copy of the written criteria in writing which we were never ever given

Even though this does not have children applicable to the application wouldn’t is still in some way or fashion fall under the familial status if not a form of discrimination?

If we went by HUD guidelines ... that’s basically one adult per bedroom and industry-standard for multi- family apartments that emulates HUD guidelines is 2 people per bedroom

I understand that homeowners can restrict occupancy guidelines for specifc reasons but federal occupancy standards is 2 people per bedroom.

It does not say one adult and child it says 2 people.

Please clarify on this.

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The material provided here is for informational purposes only and is not intended and should not be considered as legal advice for your particular matter. You should contact your attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem. Applicability of the legal principles discussed in this material may differ substantially in individual situations.

While the Texas Association of REALTORS® has used reasonable efforts in collecting and preparing materials included here, due to the rapidly changing nature of the real estate marketplace and the law, and our reliance on information provided by outside sources, the Texas Association of REALTORS® makes no representation, warranty, or guarantee of the accuracy or reliability of any information provided here or elsewhere on Any legal or other information found here, on, or at other sites to which we link, should be verified before it is relied upon.

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