Tip of the Month - May 2009
Source: Professional Apartment Management
F. Willis Caruso, Esq./Nanette Cavarretta
Nadeen W. Green, Esq.
Fair housing law says its okay
to have standards, as long as they meet federal guidelines. But
what appears to be a neutral occupancy standard may seem discriminatory
to people of certain origins. That is because certain national origins
traditionally have larger families. For instance, Hispanic and
Asian households are often multigenerational-that is-grandparents,
parents, children and grandchildren often live together.
Make sure your occupancy standards are based on reasonable, objective criteria (such as square footage or number of bedrooms).
And that they conform to federal, state, and local guidelines.
HUD has indicated that it would generally consider an occupancy
standard of –2- people per bedroom reasonable, with some
exceptions. For instance, if your apartments have very large
rooms, your occupancy standard might have to allow for more that
–2- people per bedroom.
Or you could safely base your occupancy standards on the
Uniform Housing Code, which suggest that a bedroom shared by –2-
people be at least 70 square feet and for each additional person in the
bedroom, another 50 square feet. Under that standard, in order
for, say, -3- people to share a bedroom, the room must be at least 120
Always make sure your occupancy standards apply consistently
to all prospects, regardless of national origin. You could get
into trouble if you don’t.
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This web page was updated on 05/04/2009.