9 tenants in 4 bed home would you do it

20 Replies

Hi Bp am in dentist office waiting for my turn I thought i need  to take your opinions, i have a rental application It has on it 1adult with 8 kids ((wow)) know my question if she passes all the screening, would you rent to her, the home is 4 bed 2 bath I just finish renovations on it, the rent is $1200 , can I charge her additional $200 ( The way I figured additional $50 for each person over the 5 persons limits that I like to have in that home ), the prospect tenant is a section 8 

I personally would not, although you cannot discriminate on familial status you can on the occupancy limits for your home, and I would for this reason. Think of all the wear and tear this is going to put on your house, and with that many kids one or more of them is bound to draw on the walls, spill stuff on your carpet, appliances are going to be taxed to the limit, and depending on how nice your renovations are, they most likely wont be anywhere close to the same afterwards.

That many people will do 5 years worth of damage and "wear and tear" to a house in 1 years time. For me it would be a no on the basis of protecting my property unless you think they are going to be 10YR tenants so you can get your Reno costs back.

edited: to add the fact that this would also set a precedence for any of the rest of your rentals and leave you open to getting sued if you ever turn someone down for occupancy limit in the future.

Hi @Mark Suliman -

It is my understanding that the law is 2 people per bedroom plus 1 in my state, but not sure if that is across all states.  Definitely check and maybe someone from Florida will pipe in.  

There is a difference from what you like to allow and what the law allows.  I hope the dentist went well! 

@Mark Suliman I don't think you can discriminate on or charge more for the number of people unless there are extenuating circumstances. Like @Jonna Weber said, I thought it was 2 per bedroom plus one, but certainly check on that with your local experts. Maybe even the Section 8 office can help you.

I have one property that even though it is a 3 bedroom, I can only accept 4 people max due to the size of the septic system. And I have proof from the septic company if needed.

If you can't turn them down legally, hopefully you have other applicants to choose from. Wish you the best!

@Mark Suliman

Unfortunately, the laws have changed so far as occupancy limits, you can no longer limit the maximum number of CHILDREN in anything larger than one, and two bedroom units, and then only in multifamily. Whatever you do, don't charge her extra rent! If you try that, you'll find yourself at the best, heavily fined, and most likely at least 30 days in a small barred room wearing a pretty orange jumpsuit! However, if you don't accept Section 8 in any of your properties, you can deny her due to her S8 voucher, other than that, find SOMETHING wrong with her credit, or background check. Trust me, you don't want to deal with this tenant, I GUARANTEE you that there is some boyfriend/baby daddy/boo boo bear that will be moving in with them, and since that person is not on the application, that in itself is a whole 'nother can of worms. 


@Mark Suliman If she seemed like a good tenant, her kids seemed well behaved, I'd have no problem with it. In fact, I've rented my house to 14 students before and they kept it in model home condition! I also used to go to church with a couple that had 8 boys, and they were the best behaved kids I have ever seen. 

I have also seen tenants with one or two people in the family trash a place, so numbers don't always tell the story. 

A Section 8 family with one adult and 8 children?

A disaster waiting to happen!

And it's unlikely that the Housing Authority will allow you to increase the rent because of this (they often cap rent based on the number of bedrooms no matter how many will end up living there).

Move on from this Possum woman.


I have two 5 bedroom properties and 1 four bedroom property in Baltimore city.  Both the 5 bedrooms are rented out to younger women with 8 children. The four bedroom visits of a mother and 6 children.  All properties are section 8.  

The homes have been rented out for 2 years or less and the damage that has been done and general dirtiness is hard to believe.  Laminate flooring is shot and torn up in some places. The new drywall had paint that is no longer a uniform color or texture, but rather consists of a mixture of crayon drawings, dried food stuffs and trails of sticky juice splattered on the walls.  Carpet will go into the trash as soon as the tenants move out.  I'm sure this isn't the case every time but so far I am 0/3 with high occupant properties.  

On the other hand, my 2 and 3 bedroom properties (3-4 occupants each) look immaculate in comparison.  My future acquisitions will consists of the same two and three bedrooms units as in the long term, I find my profits to be greater even with the smaller rent amount.  

thanks Garrett  for sharing your story, is your nightmare over?? I think I will not rent to her I don't fell good going throw with this  deal It's just a lot of risk 

I would first ask the section 8 office If I can charge additonal rent because of the wear and tear on the apartment and on the septic system.  I would have a house keeping provision in the lease.

I would also interview the person at her current residence and see if it is in clean and orderly condition.  If all these parameters check out I would rent the apartment to her.

Hi Mark, 

You can probably find some reason that is legitimate to deny her.  But, it probably won't be based on the number of occupants.

If she doesn't have a great reference from previous landlords, or if she was argumentative when you met with her, or her credit isn't great, or her kids were disrespectful to you - you can legally deny her.

There are no "protected classes" for argumentative people or disrespectful kids, etc.  It's perfectly legal for you to say you don't want to rent to her because she was rude to you, or her kids were rude, etc.  

People who are rude or who have kids who are rude are not protected classes.

Do you understand my meaning here?  Just because they meet the occupancy standard test, doesn't mean you can't still deny them based on other things. 

Did the mom smell of smoke and you don't allow smoking?

If you don't want to rent to them, odds are you won't have to - legally.

Just how responsible do you think this individual is? 8 kids, low income and a bevy of baby daddies. Is this someone you want living in your property? Do you expect her to care responsibly for it and pay on time and manage her finances?

@Anish Tolia Where did you get there's a bevy of baby daddies? How do you know she didn't adopt some homeless kids, or that they're foster kids, etc. and the woman is a kind hearted person trying to help? None of that social judgment has a place in making a business decision. The only thing that matters is how she will take care of the house, what her references are, and if she has the income to be able to afford the house. Once you have that information you can make an informed decision. 

I once had a nice but extended (VERY extended) family of 8 come and look at one of my three bedroom, two bath houses.  It was quite interesting listening to them discuss the sleeping arrangements.  The married couple was going to get their very own bedroom.  Grandma was going to get to sleep with two of the youngest children.  The third bedroom (the smallest) was going to be occupied by the mentally challenged teenager, and the two remaining children who "could watch over him".  While these were all very nice folks none of this was actually going to take place in my house and I was able to focus the family onto another landlord who had a much larger place up for rent.

Then there was the fellow who said he was visiting his mom for Sunday dinner and asked to see one of my 3 bedroom, 1 1/2 bath houses just around the corner from where mom lived.  He showed up with his girlfriend, his brother, his brothers girlfriend and a third guy friend.  At first I thought it was just the guy who called me and his girlfriend interested in renting and the others were there for either moral support or to work off Sunday dinner but about five minutes into the showing it became evident that they ALL wanted to rent the place along with what appeared to be a vast assortment of children.  I knew there might be problems when the original fellow asked me if it would be OK if they set up bunk beds in the dining room (?huh?) for "the children".  Seems the original guys girlfriend had a couple, the brother had at least one, his girlfriend had two and the original guy who contacted me said he had two and they lived with the ex-wife but once they saw how nice this house was he was sure they'd want to live here too.

At this point it was hard to keep a straight face talking to this herd  of humans but I did manage to ask them where they were currently residing.  They were all living together in a mobile home!   With no central heat or air!  In Georgia!  In the summer (and these were not small people!)   And they were particularly enthralled when they looked in the bathroom and saw that it had a working shower since theirs wasn't.  The final kicker was, as they were leaving, the original guy mentioned that he really liked the fireplace mantel because his 70 inch TV would fit up there very nicely....no shower, no central air but a big screen TV.

I thought I had discouraged them enough when I told them that each would have to pay the screening fee to check credit/criminal history but I'll be darned if they didn't call back four days later saying they had the applications (I had to provide them several) all filled out.  Luckily I had already rented to place to another person by then.


People wake up. This is a public forum where presumably you are using your real name and location. Fair housing advocates are just looking for the kinds of suggestions and discriminatory evidence found in this thread. Familial status and children are protected by HUD and FHA. Occupancy limits are not as simple as 2 per bedroom plus 1, regardless of your local muni regs. Read the federal fair housing regs and know what you are talking about.

Although S8 is supposedly a voluntary program for landlords, denying S8 vouchers has become problematic and illegal in some places.  

Make sure you are using uniform income, credit and reference requirements for all your applicants.  The internet works both ways.  Tenants and their advocates are very informed on housing discrimination.

I would say no, not sure what occupancy rules are in your area but if the rent doesn't get paid are you going to be okay with coming down on a single mother with eight kids? Just sounds like a recipe for disaster.  

To Sue Kelly- yours is the most intelligent post I have ever read on this forum regarding the real world, boots on the ground reality of handling tenant applications that your gut is telling you to fun from.   There are only a handful of protected classes.  Don't ever give control of your unit to someone you don't want to.  Lawyers, orange jump suits...what is wrong with some of you people?  By the way, this one is easy.  Drop in to see how she currently lives.  If that passes your test,  you should have no qualms about renting to her (spoiler alert- it won't)