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Having a Party?

As a host, you will be taking on specific responsibilities and potential liabilities. You must ask yourself: “What can go wrong and what can I do to prevent it?”

Safety & Welfare of Your Guests
You are responsible for the safety and welfare of all of your guests.

  • This includes all guests, even those who are uninvited. Some courts have determined that once inside, even the uninvited person becomes your responsibility.
  • Be aware and plan appropriately for how many people will be at the event.
  • Be aware of last minute invites through cell phones and text messages.
Occurances Before, During, & After Your Event
You are also responsible for what happens before, during, and after your event.
  • Typically, uninvited "guests" cause most of the problems.
  • Know the laws that apply to you.
  • Know that police officers can come to your house and hold you accountable.
Responsibilities of Community Living
You must educate yourself about the responsibilities of living within your community.
  • Look at your lease and inform yourself about any restrictions that apply to your living residence.
  • The City of Charleston has a "noise ordinance". (See their webpage regarding Livability Court
Good Neighbor Relations
Keep good neighbor relations.
  • Maintain a safe, clean, and attractive environment for the health and well being of members, guests and neighbors.
  • Give priority to traffic safety and the reduction of parking infractions such as parking in, or blocking neighbors' driveways, public alleys, and sidewalks.
  • Foster and maintain good community relations and cooperation with neighbors and authorities.
  • Notify neighbors within 300 feet (or at least a 2-3 house radius around the place) of organized social events at least three days prior to the function.
  • Notification should include the size and type of event and the hours, along with your phone number in case there are any problems.
As part of any event, the music can set the tone. Since you do not live in a bubble, you need to keep a few things in mind before you think of hiring that DJ with huge speakers:
  • Be aware of noise levels from the event.
  • Every city has its own specifications on the level of noise that can be occurring at a specific time. 
  • If the city permits, you should look into obtaining a sound permit for your specific area. The City of Charleston's webpage can provide you with detailed information.
  • Keep speakers facing inward and close all windows and doors.
  • Be aware of noise levels from the crowd, leaving traffic and overall “party”noise.
Law Enforcement and Your Role as a Host
Law enforcement officers do understand that parties are part of the college experience. To promote a better environment, they have offered these suggestions:
  • Invite a small number of guests. Officers can work more easily with a smaller party in trying to help you keep it under control.
  • Educate yourself on the role of police officers. 
Event Safety Plans
Create a safety plan.
  • Know where the entrances and exits are located in case of an emergency.
  • Ensure that the residence or facility has working smoke detectors.
  • Be aware of room capacities and fire regulations.·
  • Ensure stairways are clear and post emergency exit signs. Make exit signs clearly visible.
Event Publicity
You are responsible for the publicity of the event.
  • The kind of publicity you create potentially increases attendance, possibly creating more problems.
  • How are you advertising your event (e.g. flyers, web, text messaging)?
  • Keep in mind your group’s reputation and public image.
  • If your publicity has provocative images, humor, or stereotypes, you can increase your risk of offending someone.
  • Think ahead and ask yourself: If a complaint is made, how defensible is your advertising?