Residential Occupancy Ordinances

Determination of Number of Occupants Per Dwelling

The County has adopted a Zoning Ordinance(PDF) and the Virginia Uniform Statewide Building Code/International Property Maintenance Code, each of which regulates who and how many people may occupy a dwelling. Limitations are based on:

  • The size of the dwelling
  • The size and number of bedrooms
  • The relationship of residents
  • Fire safety standards

Non-compliance with any portion of these requirements constitutes a violation of legal occupancy requirements.

Occupancy Limitations Relative to the Size of the Dwelling Minimum Area Requirements

*Minimum area in square feet
Space 1 - 2 Occupants* 3 - 5 Occupants* 6 or More Occupants*
Dining Room No Requirements 80 square feet
100 square feet
Kitchen 50 square feet
50 square feet
60 square feet
Living Room No Requirements 120 square feet
150 square feet

Occupancy Limitations Applied to Bedrooms

*Number of occupants includes adults and children
Bedroom Size (Square Feet)
Maximum Number of Occupants per Room*
70 1
150 3
200 4


  • 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.
  • 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.

Fire Safety Requirements Applied to Bedrooms

  • 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 bathroom.

Source: Uniform Statewide Building Code/International Property Maintenance Code

Relationships of Occupants

The Revised 1993 Loudoun County Zoning Ordinance permits a single-family dwelling to be occupied by a family as defined:

  • Family - a group of people living together consisting of:
    • 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.
    • No more than 4 unrelated persons.
    • Assisted living facilities and group homes of eight or fewer as defined in Section 15.2-2291 of the Code of Virginia.

*Persons who are related includes:

  • Aunts
  • Brothers
  • Children
  • Cousins
  • Grandchildren
  • Grandparents
  • Husbands
  • Nephews
  • Nieces
  • Parents
  • Sisters
  • Uncles
  • Wives

This includes step or half relationships as demonstrated by official public records such as government-issued identification, birth or marriage certificates; or by affidavits.


The County receives a number of complaints regarding overcrowding in single-family dwellings. Overcrowding is a threat to public safety and the welfare of the occupants of the homes, as well as the neighborhoods. If you have a complaint about an overcrowding situation:

Other Important Information

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. Please consult with the Department of Planning and Zoning by calling 703-777-0246 before starting construction.