How many tenants can legally be in a 3 bedroom apartment?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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How many tenants can legally be in a 3 bedroom apartment?

My husband and I are trying to move in with a friend that already has 1 roommate in a 3 bedroom apartment. The landlord will not let us saying that by law only 3 people can be in the apartment and if my husband and I move in that will be to many. however we have been reviewing the Fair Housing Act

online and it says that there can be up to 2 tenants per bedroom and at least 100 s.q. feet per person. We have brought this up to the landlord and all he says is that he cannot do anything and that by law he cannot let us move in. Is there a way we can fight this or is he right?

Asked on January 16, 2017 under Real Estate Law, Utah


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

1) Check your municipal housing and zoning ordinances: cities/towns can set their own, additional rules, which can be more restrictive than under the FHA.
2) Also, both the FHA and city zoning/housing rules put limitations not just on the total number of people but on the number of unrelated adults who can live in a given unit: you may be violating that restriction with what you propose.
3) If the lease contains a restriction on who or how many people can live there, that restriction is legally enforceable: the lease is a contract, and the parties to it, like the existing tenants, are bound by it.
If there are no restrictions in the FHA on unrelated adults, in the zoning/housing ordinances about unrelated adults and/or total number of peope, and no restrictions in the lease preventing this, then you should be able to move in, even over the landlord's objections.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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