Before you rent or buy

There are many Historic Districts near campus which are great places to live and are home to professionals, professors, families and students. We take pride in our neighborhoods and work hard to make the Historic Districts clean, safe and quiet for residents of all ages.

All Historic Districts have stricter occupancy limitations than other areas of the city. Most Historic
District properties allow no more than 2 unrelated people to occupy a residence. This is true regardless of whether
it is owned by a parent or friend. If the property is “grandfathered” this means that the maximum occupancy
is 3 unrelated residents.

Historic Districts can be easily identified by the black decorative street sign posts and black/white district signs.

Be smart and informed before renting:
Always contact the city to know the legal number of occupants allowed for a property.  Information from agents/owners is not always accurate.  Some owners/agents do not know the correct information and some choose to ignore the law in order to maximize profits.  If a property is currently rented to 3 or more, it does not mean it is legal or “grandfathered”. The current tenants may be violating the city ordinance.  Make sure your lease states clearly, in writing, the number of legally allowed occupants of a residence before signing. If it does not, find out. You are responsible for complying with the law. Contact the city at 205-248-5100 or by emailing

Always Call 311 & confirm legal occupancy if…

  • You want to rent a property for 3 or more people. Contact the city at 205-248-5100 or by emailing
  • An agent/owner states that more than 2 residents are allowed or that the property is “grandfathered for 3”. This may not be accurate information.
  • You are looking at a property that has 3 or 4 bedrooms.  Just because it has more bedrooms, it may not be legal to have that many occupants.
  • An agent/owner limits the lease to 2 signers but allows additional people to live at the property. This is a red flag that something may not be legal.
  • An agent/owner states the occupancy limitations are not enforced. The city does enforce occupancy limitations. There are  substantial fines and court costs for violating the occupancy ordinance and someone will be required to move out. The tenant is responsible for many of these fines and costs. Go to for ordinance and municipal code information.

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