To the Students of Ohio University and the Residents of Palmer Place: It is unfortunate that the management of Palmer Place has issued a last minute set of new rules with the obvious intent of limiting the activities which will be permitted at your upcoming “Palmer Place Fest.”
Sadly, the lines between what is permitted in a civil law matter can be confused where there is the potential for criminal charges being filed.
Below are some guidelines that will hopefully help you better understand the implications of these new regulations.
1.) Although it may go against the reason you rented your apartment, a landlord does have the right to issue restrictions about the use of a common area. A landlord may also restrict the number of persons in a common area (such as on a balcony), so management does have the right to restrict access in the courtyard. Regrettably, they have the right to do this at the last minute and they have the right to charge persons who violate this rule with CRIMINAL TRESSPASSING.
2.) We believe that the restriction of the number of guests in any particular apartment may not be permissible unless there is something specific in your lease at the time of the signing which would allow for that restriction.
3.) We do not believe under any circumstances that the police, or security agents, or undercover agents have an unlimited right to enter your apartments without your permission, and any attempt by those persons to do so could result in their liability to you for civil damages. However, keep in mind that if the police witness criminal activity taking place in your apartment, they may charge you with crimes and, of course, Nuisance Party Ordinance, they may order you to shut your party down.
In summary, it looks like you may have small parties, like any other weekend, but management has effectively shut down your right to have a “fest.”
Some of you may ask if you have any remedy for this last minute and one-sided “new rule.” With that in mind, these may be some options:
1.) Sue the complex if they held out “Palmer Place Fest” as an enticement for your signing the lease.
2.) Urge future students to boycott the complex.
3.) Create a committee to work with Palmer Place management in the future to determine if there are ways to hold a fest without causing the damage that has been used to justify the last minute imposition of their rules.
REMEMBER: For your own welfare, and to avoid criminal charges, we urge that you respect the new rules, keeping in mind that you do NOT have to give consent for unlawful entry of your individual apartments. We encourage you to check our website and to follow the law and obey the orders of the police.