In the case of Inland Fair Housing & Mediation Board (IFHMB) v. Edwin A. Muradliyan Living Trust, Pacific Diversified No. 4 LLC, Cheri Todaro, Deanna Cordova, the respondent Landlord agreed to abandon a two-person per bedroom occupancy policy as part of a Conciliation Agreement with IFHMB, a fair housing testing organization.
The complaint was filed with HUD on May 21, 2019, alleging that the Landlord (1) refused to rent to families with children, (2) cited different terms and conditions to families with children, and (3) implemented and enforced an unreasonably restrictive occupancy policy.
The terms of the Conciliation Agreement require the owner to pay IFHMB $10,000, ensure that all staff members who have contact with tenants attend approved fair housing training, and abandon a two-person per bedroom occupancy policy.
This agreement reiterates the fact that HUD is no longer willing to simply accept an occupancy policy of two people per bedroom as a “safe-harbor” for fair housing purposes.
Owners and management companies should examine their current occupancy policies to ensure that the policy is not overly restrictive with regard to providing housing for families with children. My recommendation is to follow any local occupancy ordinances with regard to occupancy standards. In the absence of local ordinances (or if the ordinance is clearly unreasonable in the number of people allowed in a unit), I recommend the “2+1” standard. This is two people per bedroom plus one. Using this standard, an owner would permit five people to occupy a two-bedroom unit, seven people in a three-bedroom unit, etc.