Number of people living in a 2 BR rental

12 Replies

I am a newbie and trying to get some advice regarding how many adults and children can comfortably live in a 2 BR, 1.5 bath rental unit in a duplex. Any guidelines? If there are too many people who want to live there, can I make my uniform criteria across the board that only certain number of people can live there. Would it be violating any laws? Thanks to all BP members who help out and post very valuable information. I am learning a lot reading all the forum posts. I just wish I could read everything in BP. 

The HUD guidelines are 2 people per room plus one in the living room. So a 2 bedroom could house 5 people -- or more with a good bunking design :)

Your city/county may have local rules.

Just depends on the occupancy limits for where the property is.  In NYC, it's a crazy amount of people, for instance.  Only so many square feet required per person, and I think it even includes the kitchen.  Yikes!

One thing you can do, though, is limit your property on number of occupants, if you have a good reason - like your septic tank can only handle so many people, that kind of thing.

Originally posted by @Ally Kumar :

Thanks so much for valuable advice. I will check with my local housing authorities. 

 I think it's the planning dept that manages those regs.

@Ally Kumar "comfortably" is quite relative  ;)

@Yvette M. is right, I've seen 2/room +1 spoken with reference to HUD though I've not seen the actual literature for it. For my units I do 2 per bedroom. It seems like everyone living in Colorado is issued a dog, so I just expect that has taken the +1 slot so I do not add that in.

Last time I looked at HUD (few years back) they had a MINIMUM allowed of 2 per bedroom (you can't deny an applicant with 8 people for a 4 bedroom house). Most people advise making HUD's minimum your maximum (that's what I do with my SFRs) For a 2 Bed I would limit to 4 people. Obviously, check you local/state laws as they overlap HUDs.

I personally set a limit of 4 people in 2 bedroom, but I might make exceptions on a case by case if they have small children that puts the over the limit. You just don't want to end up with a bad living situation fro too many people.

@Ally Kumar   I own a Duplex that is a 2/1.5 exactly like you're talking about.  Each side is 1,100 square feet and I live in one side.  I personally would not feel comfortable renting it to a family larger than 2 adults and 2 small kids (The people who currently live in the other side are a wife/husband and their 2 year old daughter).  Regarding the law, it might depend on the State you're in.  I'm PRETTY SURE that in North Carolina where I live, you cannot have more tenants than 2 people per bedroom + 1 additional tenant.  So for my Duplex, the legal limit would be 5.  I think it is also illegal to deny renting to someone as long as they do not exceed that limit... However I would definitely not feel well renting my small unit to 5 people.  

A couple of things to keep in mind you may have local regulations on number of people and square feet per person in the bedroom. Here we have a lot of unrelated people regulations in towns because of the university. I can only rent to 3 unrelated roommates in one house but HUD would say 9 related people can live there....go figure.

One thing in a two bedroom to limit vehicles.  This has helped me turn away people who might cause a capacity issue at the property.