SLOcal laws to look out for

Students should be aware of the following San Luis Obispo ordinances and what each entails. For more information, contact the University Police Department at (805) 756-2281.

Noise Ordinance

A tenant or property owner(s) is in violation of the Noise Ordinance if noise can be heard across the property line between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m. or more than 50 ft. away and across the property line anytime during the day. Violators are not always entitled to a warning, and officers can issue a citation on first contact.

SNAP volunteers can issue formal warnings, Disturbance Advisement Cards (DAC), but only an officer can issue a citation.

Noise Ordinance violations are also reported to property owners, and they are free to enforce lease agreements regarding noise.


  • $350 for the first citation
  • $700 for the second citation
  • $1,000 for the third citation, and subsequent citations

Unruly Gathering Ordinance

An unruly gathering is a gathering on private property that includes 20 or more people who are engaged in unlawful conduct that creates “a substantial disturbance in a significant segment of a neighborhood.” Unlawful conduct can be excessive noise, providing alcohol to minors, fighting, urinating in public, public drunkenness or crowds that are overflowing onto the street, sidewalks or yard.

It is important to know that a tenant can receive a violation of the Unruly Gathering Ordinance and a Noise Ordinance citation if the tenant first receives a noise violation with less than 20 people, but later on more than 20 people show up who engage in unlawful conduct.

If a citation is issued, the police department will notify the property owner, and the property owner can be fined $500 if additional unruly gatherings occur on the property.


  • $700 for the first citation, with no warnings and no community service option
  • $1,000 for the second citation in a 12-month period

Social Host Ordinance

A tenant is in violation of the Social Host Ordinance if anyone under the age of 21 are drinking or possess alcohol. The host is also guilty of a misdemeanor under California state law, for which the host can be arrested or issued a citation.


  • $350 for the first violation
  • $700 for the second violation
  • $1,000 for the third violation in a 12-month period

No Smoking Ordinance

In June 1990, San Luis Obispo became the first municipality in the world to ban indoor smoking. Today, in order to stop the spread of secondhand smoke and benefit a cleaner city, residents and visitors are protected from secondhand smoke in all public outdoor spots, including but not limited to: sidewalks, parking lots, recreation areas, outdoor dining areas and within 20 ft. of any enclosed area where smoking is prohibited.

Exceptions include: private residences, existing tobacco retailers, smoking designated hotel rooms, outdoor areas where nonsmokers are not present and bars that do not serve food but have a designated smoke area that must be 5 feet away from any doorway.

It is also important to know that smoking is only allowed 20 feet away from any university building, and smoking is prohibited inside all residence housing.

Don’t get caught doing any of these, either

  • Biking under the influence (BUI)
  • Possession of an open container or marijuana in a moving vehicle
  • Minor in possession of alcohol (MIP)
  • Public urination or defecation
  • Public intoxication
  • Providing minors with alcohol
  • Possessing a fake ID