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October 19, 2018
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Home > Regional Housing & Planning Programs > Housing Programs > Housing Choice Voucher Program

Occupancy Standards

In issuing a Housing Choice Voucher, the local housing agency will determine the appropriate unit size by applying the following criteria:

  1. No more than two persons should share a bedroom;
  2. Unrelated adults ('adult' being any person 18 years of age or older) may occupy separate bedrooms;
  3. Persons of the opposite sex, other than spouse or significant other, may occupy separate bedrooms;
  4. Children of the same sex should share a bedroom;
  5. Children should not share a bedroom with parents;
  6. A larger unit may be assigned if documentation indicates that health or other medical factors warrant it;
  7. A single pregnant woman will be assigned a bedroom size with the unborn child included as a part of the household;
  8. Persons in the process of adopting an individual under 18 years of age will be treated identically to a single pregnant woman. Also foster children will be counted in determining family size;
  9. Any live-in aide (one approved by HA to reside in the unit to care for a family member who is disabled or at least 50 years of age) will be counted in determining family size;
  10. Families may select larger units than listed on the Housing Choice Voucher if, in the case of voucher holders, the gross rent does not exceed the Fair Market Rent plus 10% of the family's portion of the rent (40% cap), for the authorized unit size (the family will pay 30% of their income and they may choose to pay 10 % more out their own pocket for a more expensive unit,);
  11. Families may select smaller units than authorized if the unit has at least one living/sleeping area for each two persons in the household;
  12. Families may select units with small rooms. Two children of the same sex and under 18 years of age can have their own rooms if the sqare footage would not accommodate two persons in a small bedroom.

The families who have been assigned a Housing Choice Voucher using the old occupancy standards will retain that size until their family composition changes or they request a voucher to move to another unit. When the family requests a Housing Choice Voucher to move, or at the anniversary date of the family's recertification, the family will be issued a Housing Choice Voucher based on the new occupancy standards. In the case of a decreased change in family composition, the participant may choose to pay the Tenant Rent based on the current payment standard. This decision will mean the tenant may pay more than 40% of their income for Tenant Rent; this is considered 'Lease-in-Place' and there is no 40% cap in this situation.

These principles result in the following HUD standards:

Bedroom Size Minimum Occupancy Maximum Occupancy
0 1 1
1 1 2
2 2 4
3 3 6
4 4 8
5 5 10
6 6 12

Applicants may choose to rent a smaller bedroom size as long as HUD occupancy standards are not violated. A larger bedroom size can be given upon request if it can be verified that the extra bedroom is required due to a medical condition; i.e., a doctor certifies that an elderly, handicapped, or disabled individual requires a live-in aide, or for some other medical reason a spouse or child might require a separate bedroom.

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