Halloween partiers: Keep rental security in mind

By Amber Siwicki

Before finalizing those plans to hold a Halloween bash complete with two kegs and a batch of Jungle Juice, it would be smart to take a look at that binding document all apartment renters know as the lease.

In my experience living under Star and Laing Management, no more than 10 people can occupy two-bedroom apartments at any given time. For the bigger units, such as townhouses, there is a 15 to 20 person limit. If the landlord happens to find more than that amount in the unit, a fine will be given. So, if you decide to go on with your party-hosting plans, be sure to count heads and keep a rotation going so everyone can enjoy the festivities.

In addition to the number of people tenants are allowed to have over, tenants are not allowed to have kegs. Apartment renters also are limited as to how loud they can be, regardless of whether it is a quiet-lifestyle building.

Although most people think they will not get caught by the landlord, we can all become subject to that slip of paper with a dollar amount we are not prepared to pay. Additionally, many landlords do not have their own security. Instead, they hire someone to infiltrate parties to see how many people there are inside the unit. I have even had an employee of the local property management company for which I work come into my home and sit on the couch, waiting for a keg to come through the door so he could add that fine on top of what he had already calculated. I’m sure he was disappointed after patiently waiting on my couch and there was no keg. What a sneaky maneuver.

Why is DeKalb living so different from everywhere else? You can bet that someone living in Chicago does not have a landlord that comes up during a noisy party in order to count heads. They certainly do not tell their tenants that they are not allowed to have a keg in the apartment the tenant is renting with his or her money. Everywhere else, noise and parties are controlled by the police. Those who rent apartments pay thousands of dollars a year in order to have a place they can call home. Yet under these restrictions, calling one’s apartment “home sweet home” is difficult.

Like other towns, the noise complaints should be left to the law enforcement to hanle. If everyone under the roof of an apartment is of legal age to drink, I say, bring in the keg. When we all move out, we will be responsible for the damage caused in the unit. Apartment renters know that if their friends consider their place “the party house,” they probably will not receive their security deposit.

Just because the cost of living out here is less expensive than living in Chicago, it does not mean our lifestyles should be any more controlled. A friend of mine that lives in downtown Chicago has never even seen her landlord, let alone received a fine for having loud gatherings at her apartment. I wish I could say the same.

Perhaps it is simply the fact that DeKalb is predominantly inhabited by students between the ages of 18 and 24. Maybe we are not perceived to be the adults that we know we are until we have moved out of a college town. Regardless of the reasoning, I think most of us know how to handle our homes and the people that visit them. If we are responsible enough to make rent payments, then we should be considered responsible enough to make our own choices. After all, we are the ones that ultimately end up paying for them, whether by holes in the wall or a heavy hangover the next morning.

If you do decide to have that crazy party you have been planning for the past month, either keep a tally of the number of people inside, or keep an eye out for someone you don’t know who seems to be a little too anxious for the keg.

Amber Siwicki is an opinion columnist for the Northern Star.