Maximum Occupancy Question

7 Replies

Hi! new to the forum and just getting started in the rental business. 

I have a question about maximum occupancy for a 2BR apartment.

About a month ago, I had two 20 something year old boys apply for a 2BR apartment. Everything checked out so they were approved. They wound up changing their mind because another friend wanted to room with them so they started looking for a 3BR apartment.

Fast forward to yesterday, they tell me the other friend backed out and were again looking for a 2BR - which I happened to have available. I told them since it had only been a month, and if nothing changed for them, they were welcome to come see the place and take it if they approve.

They were happy. BUT, they emailed me today asking if the one guy's brother could also live with them providing he was on the lease.

Now, I have seen a lot of HUD and EQH information about 2 per bedroom regarding families, but nothing specifically about non-family members. My gut says its still the 2 person per BR quota, but wanted to check to see if I had any way around not wanting 3 adults in a 2 BR.

Thanks in advance!

Some states have a law about unrelated adults and occupancy

Or.... Maybe the "brother" would never get approved for a rental anywhere else.  

Occupancy rules are state by state, county by county and city by city specific.  Google occupancy codes for your city and research from there.

You can have more  then one person per bedroom in most states. (historically everyone did not get their own room-think families).   If it is within your state occupancy limits it is fine. However some areas have unrelated adult regulations but those kick at about four or five people. 

So Basically if it doesn't specifically state family or non-related I should just follow the 2 per bedroom regardless. Just to be safe.


A rule of thumb is 2 people per bedroom plus one.  Some allow many more - in NYC, as I recall, it is only something like 80 square feet per person or something crazy.

I don't see any way to get out of renting to them based on occupancy limits on a 2 bedroom.  

BUT, since you haven't run this guy's background, what you could say is, well, he has to go to the back of the line now, while I go ahead and run the applicants who showed up after you.

You also don't have to rent to people who keep changing their minds about if they want it or not, or if they want to add more people or not - flaky, indecisive people are not a protected class.

So, really, if you just don't want to rent to them, just say, "You know, I don't like dealing with people who keep changing their minds on me, as I'm afraid they may not honor the lease.  So, I wish you luck with your search, but I won't be renting to you."

I really don't think fair housing would have a problem with that.  They applied, then said no, then you offered it to them and they wanted to throw in a brand new person - and now you're afraid of what they'll do next and you want a stable tenant.

That's what I'd do.  If fair housing calls, tell them your criteria includes not renting to wishy washy people, and wishy washy people are not a protected class :-)

Thanks Sue! I am concerned about the 'wishy washy' attitude. You're response makes perfect sense.

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