105 CMR 410.400 sets out the following minimum square footage requirements for rental property: "(A) Every dwelling unit shall contain at least 150 square feet of floor space for its first occupant, and at least 100 square feet of floor space for each additional occupant, the floor space to be calculated on the basis of total habitable room area.; (B) In a dwelling unit, every room occupied for sleeping purposes by one occupant shall contain at least 70 square feet of floor space; every room occupied for sleeping purposes by more than one occupant shall contain at least 50 square feet of floor space for each occupant.; (C) In a rooming unit, every room occupied for sleeping purposes by one occupant shall contain at least 80 square feet of floor space; every room occupied for sleeping purposes by more than one occupant shall contain at least 60 square feet for each occupant."
Apparently, that's not enough for the town of Milford. Friday's Boston Globe article, New Rules Raise Question of Family, reports that in response to concerns about overcrowding, "On Feb. 13, Town Meeting members voted 81 to 36 to change town zoning bylaws, limiting the definition of 'a family' to a group living together in a home with not more than 'three persons who are not within the second degree of kinship.' The new bylaw means that a single-family dwelling can house an unlimited number of first-degree and second-degree relatives -- including spouses, children, stepchildren, brothers, sisters, grandparents, and grandchildren -- within occupancy regulations, said Gerald Moody, town counsel for Milford. But only as many as three more-distant relatives, like cousins or uncles, or unrelated individuals are allowed, Moody said."
Shanna Smith, president and CEO of the National Fair Housing Alliance, expressed concern that Milford's new bylaw, which still must be approved by the Attorney General, fails to take into account cultural traditions of extending family living in the same home.
More information on landlord-tenant issues is available at Mass. Law About Landlord-Tenant.