CAA, Riverside negotiate on liability in underage-drinking ordinance

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If a renter in Riverside allows underage drinking at a party, the tenant could face expensive penalties under a “social host” ordinance passed earlier this summer.

The landlord, however, can avoid punishment by working with the city to prevent future violations.

The California Apartment Association-AAGIE worked with the city to eliminate impacts to responsible property owners and to provide safeguards when violations are caused by tenants.

The city’s social host ordinance targets those who hold parties where attendees younger than 21 drink alcohol or take illegal drugs.

If the violation occurs at an apartment, the tenant could face financial penalties, such as covering the costs for police to respond and break up the bash.

Riverside officials told CAA they can avoid such punishment by working with the city to prevent future violations.

Property owners need to take this cooperation seriously. If not, the city can hold a landlord to the letter of the law.

“Although they may not themselves commit any of the offenses at issue, property owners should be held responsible, not only if they organize, host or facilitate these gatherings, but also if they allow or tolerate those offenses on property that they control as owner,” the ordinance says. “Consequently, responsibility and financial liability is joint and several.”

The city manager and city attorney have agreed to meet with CAA-AAGIE and our members at any time to discuss the partnership that the city wants to continue building with landlords and property management companies to limit impacts to local neighborhoods from disruptive tenants.

If you are interested in CAA-AAGIE arranging a meeting with city personnel to learn more about this issue, contact Kristy Kelley, membership services coordinator, at kkelley@caanet.org.

Tagged: Greater Inland Empire