Residential Occupancy Ordinances and Standards for Residential Units
Below you will find information about the county's residential occupancy ordinances and the standards for residential units.
Why does the County of Loudoun
regulate the number of people living
in your home?
Loudoun County continues to be one of the fastest growing
counties in the United States. As the population grows, the demand
for housing increases and many people search for affordable
housing options. During the past several years, the
county has received an increasing number of complaints from
its citizens regarding overcrowding in single-family dwellings.
In its worst state, overcrowding results in a threat to public
safety and the welfare of the occupants of the homes, as well
as the neighborhoods.
How is the number of people who can live in a
The county has adopted a Zoning
Ordinance and the Virginia
Uniform Statewide Building Code/International Property
Maintenance Code, each of which regulates who and how
many people may occupy a dwelling. Generally, the limitations
are based on the size of the dwelling, the size and number of
bedrooms, the relationship of residents, and fire safety
standards. Non-compliance with any portion of these
requirements constitutes a violation of legal occupancy
1) Occupancy Limitations Relative
to the Size of the Dwelling
Minimum Area Requirements:
The county limits the number
of adult occupants in a dwelling based upon the size of certain
rooms in the dwelling.
The following table illustrates these limitations:
| MINIMUM AREA IN SQUARE FEET
| 1 - 2 Occupants
|| 3 - 5 Occupants
| 6 or more Occupants
|| No Requirements
|| No Requirements
2) Occupancy Limitations
Applied to Bedrooms:
| Bedroom Size
Occupants per Room*
* Number of Occupants includes adults and children
- Must contain at least 70 square feet of floor area plus an
additional 50 square feet per individual if occupied by more
than one person.
- Bedrooms must not be the only access to other bedrooms
or habitable space and must not constitute the only exit
from other habitable space.
- Every bedroom must have access to a bathroom without
having to pass through another bedroom.
- Kitchens and other non-habitable space must not be used
for sleeping purposes.
- Bedrooms must provide light, ventilation, room area, ceiling
height and room width in conformity with the code, and
must be in conformity with fire safety requirements. (Please
refer to 4) Fire Safety Requirements Applied to Bedrooms.)
Source: Uniform Statewide Building Code/International Property Maintenance Code
Family: A group of people living together consisting of:
a) One or more persons related* by blood or
marriage together with any number of natural,
foster, step or adopted children, domestic
servants, nurses and therapists and no more
than two roomers or boarders; or
b) No more than 4 unrelated persons; or
*Persons who are related includes husbands, wives, parents, children,
grandparents, grandchildren, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, cousins,
nephews, nieces (including step or half relationships) as demonstrated by
official public records such as government-issued identification, birth or
marriage certificates; or by affidavits.
4) Fire Safety Requirements
Applied to Bedrooms:
Other Important Information
- Two means of exit must be available from a
bedroom, with one being a door or window leading directly
to the exterior.
- The window sill must be at a maximum height of 44
inches from the floor.
- An exit must not lead through another sleeping area or a
Alterations to a residence such as converting rooms to other
uses or building decks and sheds require the owner to obtain a
zoning permit in addition to a building permit. (Not all sheds
require a building permit.) Please consult with the Departmentof Planning and Zoning
, 703-777-0246, before starting
If you have additional questions or would like to speak with a member of the Zoning Enforcement Team regarding a specific issue, please call the Zoning Enforcement Hotline at 703-777-0103 and staff will return your call.
If you have a complaint about an overcrowding situation, please call the Overcrowding Hotline at 703-737-8190 or submit an overcrowding complaint online
via Loudoun Express Request (LEx)