HomeGuides & FAQsHow Many People Can Live in a Small Apartment?

How Many People Can Live in a Small Apartment?

how many people can live in a 2 bedroom apartment

The United States Federal Department of Housing and Urban Development has several laws and recommendations for how many people should live in a small apartment. Generally, only two people per bedroom maximum in an apartment prevents overcrowding.

Both renters and landlords probably have a lot of questions when they’re first getting started. They need to learn if they qualify for housing in their desired building. They need to know what’s allowed in their apartments and what isn’t. And what about apartment occupancy? How many people can live in a 2 bedroom apartment? What if you have children?

These are all excellent questions that every state and apartment building has a different answer to. Read on to learn about federal apartment occupancy laws.

Apartment Occupancy Laws

In the United States, there are federal laws governing how many people can live in a rental apartment. These apartment occupancy laws protect residents from fire hazards and property owners from damage.

To begin with, the more people that are living in a space together, the more belongings there will be in that space. This can block potential exits in the event of an emergency such as a fire.

Then there’s the issue of wear and tear on the apartment. Floors, appliances, and even the paint finishes in apartments are all designed to last for many years. Unfortunately, the more people that are living in the space, the more every piece of the apartment gets used.

When this happens, it means that every piece of the apartment isn’t going to last as long as originally planned. This costs extra money for the property owner when this happens since they’re the ones who have to pay for repairs.

The Federal Department of Housing and Urban Development

The Federal Department of Housing and Urban Development is in charge of creating building codes and standards that protect everyone residing in the United States. Each state also has its own laws that may create more restrictions or additional protective measures. For example, some states may require a window for a room to legally be a bedroom while other states may not.

They are responsible for the Fair Housing Act. This law, enacted in 1968, prevents discrimination in the housing industry.

In short, this law states that no one may deny someone housing based on race, religion, gender, nationality, or disability. It means that every United States resident has the right to safe and clean housing. As long as they aren’t being a menace to their neighbors and paying their rent, anyone can live where they please.

However, the Federal Department of Housing and Urban Development also recommends that there only be a maximum of two people per bedroom. This rule generally applies to adults living together and not families with children. There may also be some leeway on this depending on the size of the bedrooms in question. 

In some cases, there may be a room in the apartment that isn’t necessarily considered a bedroom but could become one. These are special cases where you might allow more people to live in the apartment.

All of this protects residents and landlords from scams and discrimination. And again, there are other laws at the state level that also contribute to this. In some cases, even landlords have the right to limit apartment occupancy.

Can Landlords Limit Number of Occupants in a Rental?

In many cases, the answer to this question is yes. This is usually in the case of adults trying to live together. Again, United States guidelines recommend only two adults per bedroom at maximum. 

But in the case of six adults trying to live in a three-bedroom apartment, the landlord really has the final say.

Again, rent is usually calculated based on one adult living in each room. This includes any utilities included with rent. So if twice as many people are sharing the apartment, then the rent might not be enough to cover the cost of the extra utility usage.

Twice as many people at once also cause twice as much wear and tear on the apartment. This means that appliances, floors, and paint all need replacing much sooner than originally planned. This all falls on the property owner to pay for.

Not to mention, that many people in such a small space start to get unsafe. They all have belongings in the apartment that take up space. This starts to become a fire hazard.

In these cases, the landlord may decline to let so many people live in the apartment at once. 

What About Families?

This is where things get a little more complicated. Most landlords don’t necessarily want to provide housing to people with kids who might damage the property. However, family status is also considered protected under the Fair Housing Act.

What this means is that a landlord may refuse housing to minors by themselves. If an adult with children is looking for housing, however, they cannot have their application refused for having children.

Landlords also cannot place unreasonable restrictions on occupancy for families either. So if two parents with six kids are trying to move into a two-bedroom apartment, a landlord could reasonably refuse their application. A single parent with two kids trying to move into a two-bedroom apartment is perfectly within reason and cannot be refused on the grounds of family status.

The exception to this rule is senior living or retirement communities. These are communities that are designated for residents 55 years and older. Children are allowed to visit, but these housing developments are allowed to deny rent or sale to anyone under the designated age.

This means that families or grandparents with custody of a child cannot live in these communities. The good news is that there are usually plenty of other housing options available to anyone with children. Therefore, they don’t need to rely on these communities for housing anyway.

How Many People Can Live in a 2 Bedroom Apartment?

The maximum 2 bedroom apartment occupancy is going to vary between states and even between apartment buildings. This is because each area and building is going to have its own rules and regulations about how many people can stay in each unit. As long as they are following federal laws, they are allowed to add their own requirements.

So in one state, you might be allowed to have two people per bedroom and then one extra. In a two-bedroom apartment, this means that you could have five people living in it at once. You just need to be sure that you won’t have a fire hazard if an emergency were to happen.

However, in another state, you might only be allowed to have between two and four people living in the apartment at once. And in some buildings, the landlord may only allow one person per bedroom to prevent fire hazards.

The exception to that is families. A couple with one child should be allowed to live in a two-bedroom apartment since they will only need those two bedrooms. The Fair Housing Act assures that they cannot be denied housing for having a child.

Maintaining Safety and Security

Keep in mind that just because two people per bedroom may stay in a rental apartment, doesn’t mean that you can let just anyone stay with you. The security of the apartment building is also important. Part of the reason tenants sign a lease is so that the landlord knows exactly who’s staying in each unit. 

This lets them know who does and doesn’t have access to the building as well as individual units. This also helps the landlord calculate how much to charge for utilities in their rent. 

In other words, you need to declare that someone is staying in your apartment with you. Otherwise, both of you aren’t necessarily paying enough for utilities or even your fair share of property taxes. 

And if something happens inside your building, then it’s important to know who was supposed to be in it. This keeps everyone safe and accounted for at all times. An extra person living in the building makes things a little more complicated.

Even if you don’t expect one resident to pay rent, the landlord still needs to be aware of everyone living in the building. Furthermore, if the extra person causes damage to the apartment, then you are responsible for those damages.

Check Your State’s Apartment Occupancy Laws Today

So how many people can live in a 2 bedroom apartment? The United States federal government recommends no more than four to five people in a two-bedroom apartment. 

But this is going to vary from place to place. It’s always best to check your own state’s apartment occupancy laws and the policies of each building before you apply. This way you always know your rights before you move.

And if you liked this article, you should be sure to check out our other articles about owning and investing here at Room Impact today.

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