Off–Campus Housing Tips
Protecting Your Neighbors from Your Party
Call your neighbors ahead of time (or better yet, stop by in person!) and let them know (as far in advance as possible) what your plans are.
- Emphasize that you will have the gathering under control (this isn’t going to be the rager of the year that ends up being a block-wide, 500+ person party.
- If they are not very happy about this revelation, ask them what concerns they have; see if you can come to a consensus about steps you can take to prevent their concerns from happening (i.e. trash on their lawn, excessive noise past 12:00 a.m., etc.).
- You are neighbors for the entire year. Make it up to them for putting up with you with some nice gesture (Bake them cookies. Shovel the snow off their sidewalk. You can come up with something).
Sample Script. (Indicating what the conversation might be like):
Hi, my name is [insert name] and I live over at [insert address]. I just wanted to let you know that we’re having a party on [insert day]. By all means, if things get too loud or you have some other kind of problem, please give us a call. I’ve written down our names and phone numbers on this card, as well as the time and date of the party. Thanks. (Then remember to ask about any other concerns).
Protecting Yourself and Everyone’s Safety
Assign a Party Host. This may sound odd since there is more than one person living at the residence, but think of the host like the Master of Ceremonies at an event. The host can:
- regulate the amount of people at the gathering
- make sure that people are following the law
- make sure that the event is conducted in a manner according to societal standards (i.e., the gathering is not getting out of control, blaring music, spilling into the street, etc.)
- should the need arise, this person is designated as the host and one of the owners/renters of the residence to address any law enforcement issues or complaints from neighbors.
Make signs that might help to protect you from liability.
There should be two signs:
- “This is a private party. No one is permitted to enter unless they have been specifically invited. If you were not invited you do not have permission to enter this property.” (Put these signs at any entrances and doorways to your residence. Protect yourself from the behavior of those at the party that are random visitors).
- “You Must Be Twenty-One or Older to Drink Alcohol.” (Put copies of this sign anywhere near where any sort of alcoholic beverages are consumed. You are still accountable for the behavior of your guests, but at least you’re making an effort to adhere to the law).
Being A Good Neighbor
One of the challenges of living in a neighborhood community is making the transition from life in the residence hall to integration within a non-University or an off-campus neighborhood setting. Many behaviors that are acceptable in on-campus facilities are not acceptable in residential neighborhoods. Here are a few suggestions on how to be a good neighbor and member of your community: