Setting Occupancy Standards
Q My company has managed federally assisted sites and will soon start managing tax credit sites. Are there any special laws or guidelines we must follow when setting occupancy standards for our tax credit sites?
A No. Unlike federally assisted sites, tax credit sites have no special laws or guidelines within the LIHTC program to follow when setting occupancy standards. When you set standards, you can follow the federal guidelines, which say that in most cases, you should allow up to two residents to occupy a bedroom.
However, the two-person-per bedroom policy is just a starting point and you may want to modify this to fit your site’s exact situation if necessary. Be sure to talk to your attorney to see if your city or state has any local occupancy law you must follow. For example, some states, like California, will dictate what should generally be considered to be a reasonable occupancy standard. California says that two-persons-per-bedroom-plus-one is a reasonable rule. Also, building codes, fire codes, and zoning requirements could affect the occupancy rules for your site.
Also ask your attorney to check that your standards don’t violate the Fair Housing Act’s ban on familial status discrimination. Because familial status is a protected class, any occupancy limits put into place must consider what type of reasonable family living situations should be allowed regardless of the generalized guidelines for occupancy standards.