Rejecting a family from living in a one bedroom apt

5 Replies

I recently purchased a building with one bedroom apartment so am asking this question hypothetically so that I can approach it correctly if it ever comes up in my screening.
Can you reject an applicant applying for a one bedroom apartment based on how many people would have to share a bedroom? For example if a single
Mom has 4 kids ages 17,10,8,3 am I really legally obligated to accept them to live in a one bedroom 500 sqft if they meet my standard requirements? Or how about 4 adults saying they want to share the bedroom.
I guess my question is can I discriminate against children or number of residence if the building is unfit for families. Where is the line drawn??
It's odd if a mom dad and 16 year old son share a bedroom. Could I deny over this? But what makes that legally any different than a mom dad and a infant son sharing a bedroom?

Any opinions or advice would be appreciated.

Generally 2 person per bedroom is considered reasonable.

I wouldn't worry about "what if" scenarios to much.

I would be pretty surprised if a 5 person family attempting to rent a 1 bedroom unit would have anything other than terrible credit.

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I ran into this issue myself, and learned that in my state (MN) you are not allowed to discriminate against families, but you are allowed to determine the rules of occupany.  If you state in your ad that the max # of people that can live in your one-bedroom apt. is two, then that is perfectly legal.  However, that means that one adult and one child have just as much right to live there as two adults.   

As others have said check into local occupancy limits. Often there is some "calculation" for maximum residents in a home. It may be something like 2 per bedroom +1, meaning a 2 bed could legally house 5 people, a 3 bed 7 people. If that doesn't help I believe there is some HUD guidance on this....I want to say @Bill Gulley  has mentioned this before. 

As to the ages and if a young couple with an infant is different than a couple with a teen....not sure of the legality there. Personally I'd establish the number of residents legally allowable and if they meet that not get involved with the age of the occupants.

Matt, as I recall, the HUD site has the legal/acceptable room occupancy on a table illustrating square footage and volume requirements (like average ceiling height of 7' for floor space to be counted). It will give a breakdown of ages and sex applicable for bedrooms.. The highest occupancy allowed with the smallest area is a couple with an infant. Boys and girls can be in one room under 5 I believe, there were combinations mentioned as well, the teen girls and boys could bunk up as to same sex, the odd ball gets their own room. These tables, I'd bet go back to the 40's but the definitions have probably changed under newer guidelines redefining a "family unit".

This is something to be aware of with Sec. 8 or anytime federal funds are involved with housing as the unit can be disqualified. :)