Student Housing Compliance: Know The Codes & Standards

Disclaimer: The following is not legal advice and should not be taken as such for construction and remodeling decisions from private property owners.

Property owners who own housing units with an intent to rent for student use must be up to date with compliance building codes and standards as well as the requirements of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), where applicable.


According to the NFPA, buildings must have a properly maintained egress system. Below is a short checklist outlining the main guidelines for propety owners who own property with an intent ot transact business.  Please keep in mind that the majority of these guidelines don't apply to every type of student housing structure and guidelines.  Namely, smaller student rental housing units owned by private landlords are not held under the scrutiny as much as their larger company counterparts. As with all United States building compliance codes, are subject to change at anytime.

Egress system for student housing that meets NFPA guidelines:


  • Panic Hardware For Releasing Door Latches


  • Rescue And Ventilation windows


  • Emergency Lighting


  • Additional Features (varies on student housing structure type)

The NFPA’s life safety code is also helpful for important information relating to fire protection of buildings.


According to Title III of the ADA, a federal anti-discrimination civil rights act, public facilities must make accommodations for accessibility specific to a person's disabilities.
Public areas including (but not limited to) entrances, hallways, and restrooms, must provide accessibility for disabled users.

Their are strict height requirements for drinking fountains and sinks. Exceeding them could result in costly fines.  Also, wheelchair accessibility for these structures is required.  For example, Public multi-family housing must feature special ramps, seating, railings, chair lifts, elevators, and even emergency warning systems.

Accessible to parking areas, passenger loading zones, curb ramps, signage, walkways, and playground equipment, and other outside areas must be granted even if means building additional structures (ramps).

Indoor and outdoor surfaces must be accessible and safe.  Meaning they must be firm and slip-resistant as well as durable.


The EPA is an agency of the federal government of the United States designed for the purpose of protecting human health and the environment by writing and enforcing regulations based on laws passed by Congress.  A healthy environment is a necessity for students who live in off campus housing and the EPA ensures that their rights are protected.


OSHA's mission is to "assure safe and healthful working conditions for working men and women by setting and enforcing standards and by providing training, outreach, education and assistance".  OSHA's mission extends beyond this however but has a bit of authority when it comes to governing and regulating proper student housing environmental compliance cods and laws.

Students can rest assured that Rochester Smart Student Housing is in full compliance with all US building codes and laws.