San Jose is set to adopt a law holding parents liable for parties with underage drinking in their homes. The City Council is expected to approve the "social host" ordinance at their next Tuesday meeting. Under the "social host" ordinance, homeowners could face fines and other charges if underage partygoers gather and drink alcohol on their property.
Although, there are laws, fines and penalties for adults that provide underage people with alcohol; the social host law would make homeowners liable for gatherings of four or more underage drinkers on their property regardless of whether the party created a disturbance of any sorts. The homeowner would also be liable even if they were not on the property at the time and were unaware of the party. However, Rental property owners would not be liable unless they were present or knew of the underage drinking party. But the renter could be held accountable.
The violations will be determined by the police and the penalties have yet to be determined. It is likely that the penalties will cost a homeowner several hundred dollars in fines plus reimbursement of police response costs.
In addition to San Jose, the following cities have adopted the social host laws: Morgan Hill, Gilroy, Santa Clara, Palo Alto, Saratoga, Monte Sereno, Los Altos, Los Gatos, and Milpitas.