Single Room Occupancy (SRO) Housing

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In early 2019, the Council began reviewing a proposal that would redefine Single Room Occupancy (SRO) housing and permit SROs in more zoning districts than currently allowed.

The proposal supports goals identified in the City’s Growing SLC: A Five Year Housing Plan: increase housing options, promote affordability, and build more equitable and fair housing.

The proposal includes creating a new section in the Zoning Ordinance that would apply “qualifying provisions” to proposed SRO developments. The provisions address minimum floor areas for individual units and communal areas, requirements that a property manager be on-site 24 hours a day, and security camera monitoring.

After their March public hearing, the Council asked the Administration to respond to the public’s concerns related to the SRO proposal. Concerns expressed centered around fair housing laws and restricting SROs to certain areas of the City. The Council also asked for background on how the zoning districts were chosen for SRO expansion when drafting the proposal.

Next steps: The Council is expected to receive an update from the Administration at their November 19 work session meeting.

What is an SRO?

An SRO is an affordable, smaller living unit. The unit consists of a combined living and sleeping area and may contain either a private kitchen or private bathroom, but not both. Whichever amenities are not contained within the unit are shared by other SRO tenants within the building. SRO units house 1-2 tenants each, depending on size.

An SRO provides weekly rental options. This allows those who cannot afford a full months’ rent to procure shelter with smaller payments, and provides management with the ability to immediately evict tenants who aren’t following the rules.

Due to having smaller rooms and shared amenities, the SRO housing type may cost less to build which could result in lower rental rates.

SRO Graphic

Proposal redefines the City's SRO use & expands areas where allowed

Currently, the City defines SROs similar to a studio apartment, requiring each individual unit be self-contained (have all amenities located within the unit), and not exceed 500 square feet in size. This definition inhibits the development of true SRO housing. The proposal would redefine the SRO use in City code to allow true SRO housing in designated areas of the City. City zoning currently permits SROs in some Transit Station zones.

Map of proposed SRO districts

The following criteria was used to identify possible locations where SROs may be appropriate:

  • Districts with existing design standards in place;
  • Districts that already permit uses with similar characteristics/levels of intensity;
  • Districts that typically have close proximity to frequent public transit;
  • Districts that permit/are typically located near a mix of uses to enable accessibility to employment or other amenities by foot or bicycle.

The criteria prioritized neighborhood compatibility and character as well as providing access to opportunities for residents via proximity to transit and a mix of uses.

This map shows the proposed areas that would allow SRO housing within Salt Lake City. Click on map to expand or view district specific maps here.

April 23, 2019 public hearing

The Council heard public comment from more than 30 individuals about a text amendment that would expand the use of single room occupancy (SRO) housing. Read the April 23 Council staff report or watch the public hearing to learn more.

Next steps: The Council is expected to take action on this proposal in the coming weeks.

March 19, 2019 Council discussion

The Council discussed a proposed ordinance that would amend various sections of Salt Lake City Code pertaining to single room occupancy (SRO) uses. Discussion centered on how potential properties would be managed, and balancing neighborhood concerns with the City’s need for affordable and diverse housing types. Read the Council staff report or watch the discussion to learn more.

Next steps: The Council will hold a public hearing on April 23, 2019 at 7 p.m.