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Contact Information

Planning & Development ServicesP.O. Box 9960 | 1101 Texas Ave.College Station, TX 77842979.764.3570

Planning & Development Services - Occupancy

Over Occupancy

Since 1939, College Station has had a rule limiting the number of unrelated people living together in a single-family unit to no more than 4. The rule applies to various housing types, including homes, townhomes, duplexes, and some apartment complexes. Properties zoned as multi-family may have exceptions, and some areas are now zoned for high occupancy. Other areas in College Station restrict occupancy to no more than two.

The ordinance states: "A family is any number of persons occupying a single dwelling unit, provided that no such family shall contain more than four (4) persons unless all members are related by blood, adoption, guardianship, or marriage, are an authorized caretaker, or are part of a group home for disabled persons."

Violations of the over-occupancy rules can result in $250-500 fines. Tenants, owners, and landlords can receive citations if found responsible for a violation.
    As a Tenant

    Ask the leasing agent about occupancy restrictions. How many people can legally live at the property you are considering? Check the map found through the QR code to verify.

    Make sure your name is on the lease where you live. Don’t sign or agree to any requirement that makes you a ghost tenant.

    Be a good neighbor! Stay informed and comply with city rules and community standards. Get to know neighbors and engage in your community.

    View Flyer

    As a Landlord / Owner

    Know what is allowed on any property you lease. Fines range from $250-500 if the household violates occupancy requirements. The tenants, landlords, local contacts, and owners may be fined if found responsible for violations.

    Keep your clients informed and compliant to avoid penalties.

    View Flyer

    Over Occupancy Enforcement

    When will the enforcement of no more than 4 start?
    It will resume after June 1st.

    How will tenants and responsible parties know what is required?
    Additional outreach is being done by the City and TAMU Off Campus Student Services to ensure tenants and property owners/managers understand the requirements and areas where occupancy is restricted and areas where over occupancy is allowed.

    How will the violation be enforced?
    New ordinance adopted that provides 2 tools for enforcement – a civil violation and a criminal violation.

    How many people can live in a single dwelling unit?
    Family definition still applies and no more than 4 unrelated people can live in a single dwelling unit in most places in College Station. Visit the Occupancy Difference Map for more information.

    Who is responsible for the violation?
    A responsible person could be the property owner, manager, local contact or tenant (s). Anyone found responsible through an investigation by Code Enforcement.

    What is the penalty or fine amount?
    The ordinance includes administrative penalties for civil violations between $250 - $500.

    What is a rebuttable presumption?
    A rebuttable presumption is a legal principle that presumes something is to be true unless proven otherwise. Evidence related to vehicles parking on or near the property for most of the time in a 30-day period creates a rebuttable presumption that there is a violation.

    What is an affirmative defense?
    An affirmative defense is a defense in which the defendant introduces evidence that can prove there is not a violation. The ordinance provides for affirmative defenses to prosecution.

    How can I avoid a problem?
    Before signing a lease, tenants should make informed decisions.

    Ask the leasing agent about occupancy restrictions. There is a map on the City’s website that will allow you to search by address and verify how many unrelated people can legally live there.
    Make sure your name is on the lease where you live.
    Be a good neighbor!! Stay informed and comply with city rules and community standards.

    Property owners and managers should understand the bottom line for themselves and their clients. They can be liable for fines as well as tenants.

Occupancy Restrictions

The occupancy of a typical dwelling unit in College Station is limited to not more than four (4) unrelated persons. However, the City has adopted two overlay zoning districts that modify this restriction: the ROO Restricted Occupancy Overlay and the HOO High Occupancy Overlay. Additional information on these zoning districts is available below.

As a tool to assist with understanding where varied occupancy restrictions are in place, the City has developed an Occupancy Difference Map. Please use this map carefully to understand the occupancy restriction of the dwelling unit.

ROO Restricted Occupancy Overlay

The Restricted Occupancy Overlay District (ROO) is a single-family overlay zoning district that is intended to limit occupancy to no more than two unrelated persons in single-family neighborhoods. The regulations of the ROO apply to each individual single-family dwelling or accessory living quarters within the overlay boundaries. For more information about the ROO Restricted Occupancy Overlay or any of our single-family overlay districts, visit Single-Family Overlay Districts.

HOO High Occupancy Overlay

The HOO High Occupancy Overlay zoning district allows occupancy levels beyond the citywide standard that no more than four unrelated people can live together in a home. However, being zoned HOO High Occupancy Overlay does not automatically allow more than four unrelated people within a home. A use called shared housing can be allowed within the HOO High Occupancy Overlay zoning district with an additional review through a minor site plan application. Shared housing uses allow more than four unrelated people in a home, but with additional requirements. For more information about shared housing, visit Shared Housing.
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