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Off Campus Party Tips

If you want to host a party

  • Take the time now to meet all of your neighbors: Introduce yourself to your neighbors and get involved in the neighborhood—join the listserv, show up to the potluck, volunteer to help at neighborhood events, say hello when you see neighbors outside. Telling your neighbors that you’re having a party shouldn’t be the only time you talk to them!
  • Tell your neighbors you’re having a party and give them your cell phone number. Ask them to call or text you if there’s an issue. This means that you need to be available for their text or call and that you need to correct the issue immediately if contacted.
  • Durham’s noise ordinance applies 24/7. Don’t have amplified sound outside. If you can hear music or talking from outside your house it’s too loud
  • Keep it small: Think about the number of people the house or apartment was designed for. Large crowds are more difficult to keep quiet. You should have enough space to easily move the part inside if need be. A good rule of thumb is less than 30 people in a house and less than 15 people in an apartment.
  • Attend DuWell’s Social Host Training before hosting your party and have plenty of sober hosts.
  • Know who’s in your home: Limit your guest to people you know. Have security measures in place to keep the attendance under the maximum location occupancy.
  • BYOB parties save money and reduce risk. Don’t serve hard alcohol. Offer substantial food to your guests such as pizza, chips/salsa, veggies/dip. Provide plentiful and easily accessible water, seltzer, or soda.
  • Make a plan for your guests’ safe transportation: Think about whether your street is a safe place for Ubers/Lyfts to drop off and make alternative arrangements if need be.

Reducing Noise

Durham Ordinances & Policies

See below for the most important ordinances students need to know.
  • Durham’s noise ordinance applies 24/7 but becomes stricter after 11pm:
    • Before 11pm the noise level is 60 decibels, or the volume of 2 adults having a "normal" conversation.
    • After 11pm, the noise level is 50 decibels, or the volume of 2 adults having a "quiet" conversation.
  • Durham’s noise ordinance results in criminal consequences: you can be cited and have to appear in court for a violation.
  • The noise ordinance covers “unreasonably loud” or “disturbing” noise and specifically prohibits amplified music after 11pm.
  • First time violations will NOT receive a warning, and will be referred to the Durham County Misdemeanor Diversion Program and/or be issued a citation.
  • Keep your yard clean! The City of Durham requires residents to keep trash out of their yard.
  • You can be issued a notice of violation and/or a fine and are required to clean up the trash within 10 days.
  • Take your bins in! The City of Durham requires residents to take their trash cans in between pick up days, i.e. you cannot just leave your trash/recycling bins at the curb all of the time.
  • If you have a yard, it is often your responsibility to keep the lawn mowed and the yard maintained. Check with your landlord to learn if yard maintenance is your responsibility. Violations can result in a fine from the city.
  • No couches on the porch or in your yard: You are not allowed to have indoor furniture outdoors, whether it’s on your porch, in your yard, or in your driveway.
  • You can be issued a notice of violation and/or a fine and are required to remove the furniture within 10 days.

Trash & Recycling