Can you deny applicants trying to share bedrooms with kids?

1 Reply

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.

Jerry -

The best way to deal with the type of issue you are mentioning is to create an occupancy policy and then make it widely available and apply it consistently.  Yes, you can deny renting an apartment based on the number of occupants.

HUD has issued guidelines for this, just google "Occupacy standards - HUD".

On this guidance, HUD says that "the Department believes that an occupancy policy of two persons in a bedroom, as a general rule, is reasonable under the Fair Housing Act."

It also provides an example in which it argues that it would be unfair to deny a couple of adults and their infant renting a one-bedroom apartment, but it would not be unfair to deny the same request from a family of two adults and a teenager.

So, in your case, denying renting a one-bedroom apartment to a family of 4 would not violate fair housing laws provided your occupancy policy is to restrict the number of occupants to two.

And I think this HUD publication really addressed the same issue you raise between the infant and the teenager. From my point of view, the teenager would be considered another adult while the infant wouldn't.

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