Roommates and Apartments: Party Time and You Aren’t Invited

in Roommates on by

In the best of cases, you and your roommate will be on the same page when it comes to parties and your living space won’t become one of those crazy out-of-control party apartments you hear about through friends or see in movies.

Sometimes, though, you may get more than you signed up for. If your roommate throws a party without your agreement, the consequences can be more damaging than stained carpets and a day’s worth of cleaning—there can be legal repercussions. If you’ve talked with your roommate about your feelings on parties and he or she still throws one against your knowledge, here’s how to handle the situation.

Underage Drinkers and Your Liability

Of all party-related consequences, having underage drinkers in your apartment is the most serious. You’ll need to check the underage drinking liability laws in your state to know how liable you are for what takes place in your apartment. In most situations, it’s the apartment host who is there at the time of the bust who is held legally responsible. As long as you weren’t present and had no knowledge that a party was taking place, you shouldn’t encounter any legal trouble.

But what happens if you come home late one night and discover a crowd of minors and scattered beer cans? As the saying goes, the right choice is rarely the easiest.

The first option is to tell everyone they need to leave and that you’re providing a safe ride home. If they refuse, tell them you’re calling the cops. If you call the police, say that you came home to find a party with underage drinkers in your apartment. Another option is to simply turn around and leave and avoid dealing with the situation altogether. However, if the cops show up you could be held liable, as you were technically aware of what was happening. It seems sneaky, but another option is to slip outside and call the cops without telling anyone. You can deal with your angry roommate after the surprise bust.

The Trashed Apartment

While coming home to a trashed apartment is less problematic than coming home to find intoxicated minors, it’s still no fun. A good roommate will apologize and offer to clean it up right away. When approaching your roommate about it, try to control your anger. Be as calm as possible and explain how you feel like your trust was violated. Let your roommate know that you’re not okay with this happening again. You may need to sit down and revisit a roommate agreement.

If you can’t both agree on the party issue, you might want to consider a different living arrangement (i.e. one of you moving out). If there is damage to the apartment, be sure to take pictures. Your roommate needs to agree to forfeiting his or her portion of the security deposit since he or she was responsible for the damage.

The party issue can really damage a roommate relationship since the repercussions are much more significant than other shared living space issues. Make sure you discuss apartment parties when you draft a roommate agreement. It’s the ultimate deal breaker.

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