My best friend’s birthday is coming up and I want to throw a surprise kegger at my place in his honor. Problem is my neighbors go to bed pretty early (even on weekends!) and they’ve complained to the landlord previously because last time we got pretty rowdy. Can my landlord throw me out if my neighbor complains again?
Full Question and Answer
When you sign your lease, you not only agree to pay rent, but also to abide by certain conditions. Most leases require you to promise that you won’t engage in activities that would endanger or disturb other tenants, like throwing a dance party in a 700-square foot apartment, for instance. If you disturb your neighbors and they complain about noise to either your landlord or the police, you’re violating your lease. Also, be aware that you’ll be on the hook for anything your guests do. If your rambunctious friends start vandalizing the property or decide to go for a midnight skinny dip session in the pool, you could end up with an eviction notice. In all states, landlords have the right to evict you if you violate your lease, and the previously mentioned scenarios are most certainly major violations.
When your landlord wants to evict you because you’ve violated your lease, most states’ laws require him to send you notice of the problem and give you a certain number of days to either correct the problem (for solvable and less serious issues) or move out voluntarily before starting formal eviction proceedings in court (Do not pass Go. Do not collect $200-type issues). The number of days required for notice varies. For example, the law in New York requires a landlord to give you 14 days to “cure” the violation before he begins eviction proceedings. California requires only three days’ notice.
However, more than a third of all states, including Georgia and Illinois, don’t have any laws requiring the landlord to give you a chance to rectify the situation before evicting you. In these states, stricter or more ruthless landlords can use what’s called an “unconditional quit notice” and force you to move out without giving you a second chance—basically, you’re SOL.
If your neighbors have already complained about noise coming from your apartment before, it’s safe to assume they’ll complain again—especially if you have a large group of friends raging into the wee hours of the night. If you’re dead-set on throwing this party at your apartment, the courteous thing to do would be to let them know you’re having a get together and what time you will end it. Showing respect for your neighbors’ peace and quiet can go a along way toward improving your relations with them and they may be more willing to put up with a gathering from time to time. But, if they do complain and your landlord decides he’s had enough, you may find yourself calling your rowdy friends to help you move out before your hangover wears off.