Two weeks ago, I wrote about the increasing number of “no open house” condos in the downtown core.
Today, we look at the number of condos that make the use of the party room, impossible…
Do you remember the story I told about the teenage party that took place in my condo party room?
Long story short: a teenage girl, whose parents were away, decided to have a dozen friends over to the condo and drink booze, smoke weed, and get wild in the party room. It was loud, disastrous, and somebody projectile vomited against the glass mirror in the elevator.
It was a disaster.
And it was sooooooo easy for this to happen!
(If you want the whole story, click HERE).
Some condos in downtown Toronto have almost zero restrictions on the party room, and it sets up all the residents for disaster.
Some condos have the most ridiculous, authoritative, constrictive rules imaginable, and it means that the residents almost never use the party room.
Surely, there must be a middle ground, no?
When we talked about the restrictions on open houses in downtown Toronto condos, we identified that there are essentially three methods that condos use:
1) Anything Goes. It’s a giant free-for-all, and agents put signs outside, notices with buzzer codes on the wall in the foyer, and let people come up to the unit by their own accord.
2) “By Appointment.” The agent can wait downstairs and personally escort any interested party up to the unit, which is somewhat like an appointment.
3)No Open Houses. Of any sort, whatsoever.
When it comes to the party room in your condo, I feel as though there are very similar restrictions.
The party room and the public open house both come with positives and negatives, and they’re eerily similar.
Both can offer benefits to the residents of the condo, and both can come with security risks.
And just as I’ve seen with open houses, I see a good number of hard restrictions coming down on party rooms.
Let’s be honest: people let loose in party rooms! They drink, eat, they’re merry, and they probably don’t realize how loud they become as they get drunk, how messy they can be (when they’re drunk…), and how easy it is to disregard and disrespect the other residents of the condominium.
So it’s up to a competent, diligent condominium board (and property management) to be proactive, and sometimes responsive, and put forth a set of rules that help to protect the condo residents, and ensure their quiet enjoyment. This usually involves the security guard, and how many people you can have present before you are forced to hire him.
The grass is always greener on the other side.
When you’re hosting a party, you wish the rules weren’t so restrictive.
When you’re being annoyed and kept up late by the loud, rambunctious folks in the party room, you wish the rules were tighter.
The way I see it, there’s three methods of allowing parties in the party room, just like with condo open houses:
1) Anything Goes. This is quite rare, but there are the “come as you please” condo party rooms where there are no restrictions, and no security guard. You can have one person, or a hundred, and you don’t need to hire a security guard. You might have to pay a deposit, and you might not. You might have to clean the room yourself, and you might pay for it. But either way, you don’t have to hire a security guard.
2) Security Guard After XX Number of Persons. This is probably the most common way of doing things, and in my opinion, it makes the most sense. Every condo under this method has a different, set number of persons that are allowed in the party room before a security guard is required. I was at a party last weekend where the number was thirty, and the resident had about twenty people, so it meant he didn’t have to hire and pay for a security guard.
3) Security Guard For ALL Usage. This isn’t that common, but the method is picking up steam. More and more condos are requiring a security guard to be hired if ANY person(s) want to use the party room.
So which method do you think makes the most sense?
Each has its pros and cons, but I feel that when there are two extremes, its best to find the middle ground.
With the anything goes method, you’re open to massive problems.
I had a party in my condo party room over Christmas where I had 70-80 people, and we weren’t required to hire a security guard. To be honest, I don’t know if it was required, or if the front desk messed up, but in any event, it’s very possible to have a party in a downtown Toronto party room these days without having to hire a security guard.
My party was tame. It was a family, friends, and a bunch of boring real estate agents.
But there have been scores of parties in the building where no security guard is present, and where residents feel no need whatsoever to act like mature adults.
Let’s face it: the security guard isn’t really going to do anything. He’s not going to risk his life for $20 an hour to break up a knife fight, and he’s probably not even going to say, “Hey, can you guys keep it down?” But his mere presence will make people feel like they can’t let free. That’s the value; in his presence. It’s like a sign, in human-form, that says, “Don’t act like a child, and respect that other people live here too.”
So why not have a security guard at some level?
That brings us to the second method, whereby there is a minimum persons required to have a security guard, which I think is the right method.
You don’t need a security guard for five people, and you can’t have a party with one-hundred people without one.
Every condo seems to have a different number.
For some buildings, it’s twenty, and for other buildings, it’s forty. But that’s for the board of directors to decide, so long as this method is in place.
Even though I had a party with 70-80 people, and even though I knew with absolute certainty that nothing would get “out of hand,” I still believe that any party of that size should have a security guard in attendance. The rule has to be across the board, because for every party with 60 senior citizens who are playing bridge, there’s going to be 3-4 parties with eighty morons who think Jersey Shore and Buckwild are “The Guidebook of Life.”
But take things to the other extreme, and that’s where we get the security guard for ALL usage.
This, in my mind, makes absolutely no sense.
Or if you’re a conservative, risk-averse, party-pooper, you feel that if ONE person wants to use the party room, they need to hire a security guard.
If a fifty-five year old mother wants to watch the big-screen TV with her four-year-old daughter, they have to hire a security guard at $23/hour and sign paperwork.
Sorry folks, but that makes no sense to me.
I think that the idea of 90 people in a party room with no security guard makes equally as little sense as two people in a room with a security guard. And in many condos, they won’t let you into the party room without filling out a whack of paperwork, hiring a security guard, and…..wait for it…..a certified cheque.
That’s the last log I’ll throw onto the fire here.
If a party room can’t be used by ONE person, without hiring a security guard at $23/hour, and costs $125 for the night to rent, how often do you think it’ll be used if the “renter” has to provide a CERTIFIED cheque for $500 to act as a security deposit?
Am I naive?
Should a personal cheque suffice?
If a condo resident wants to throw a party with 120 people, then yes – he or she should pay the $125 fee, be required to hire a security guard for $23/hour, and hand over a $500 security deposit (which may or may not be certified).
But if a lady wants to have her three children and their four cousins watch the big-screen TV in the party room on a Sunday afternoon, why the hell should she be required to hand over a certified cheque for $500? And working backwards – should she have a security guard present?
I know a lot of people will disagree with me here, and that’s fine.
I was voted-down on a condo board once when the President suggested that in ANY case, whatsoever, the party room user should have to hire a security guard and provide a certified deposit cheque. I just didn’t understand it. Why make it so impossible to use the room? Not everybody wants to have a “party” in the room. Some folks just want to use it for an hour. So now, not only are we telling them what they have to do in order to use the room, but we’re telling them how to use it. By making it impossible to use the room, we’re insisting that only the hard-core partiers use the room, since only they will go to such extremes to use it.
More and more condos are making the rules so restrictive that the room gets little to no use.
My critics will say, “It cost $6 to get a certified cheque or bank draft, and it takes ten minutes at the bank. What’s the problem?” I guess I just think it’s exceptionally restrictive, and I think a personal cheque should be sufficient.
Oh, and I may have mentioned this three times already, but I don’t think a security guard is necessary for ten people.
But every condo is free to make their own rules, and if recent history is any indication – they know this! And they’re drafting their rules accordingly…