Living In Northfield and Being a Good Neighbor

A Different College Living Experience

No longer will your neighbors be exclusively 18-22 year old Carleton students in the Carleton “Bubble” of late-night studying, parties, and activities. Now you will be part of a neighborhood of senior citizens, families with children of all ages, and other college students. As you know, life is different (from College) here. You and your housemates will need to abide by the Northfield neighborhood standards.

You have chosen to join a small group of senior students in a different college living experience: to live in an apartment or house in Northfield rather than an on-campus residence hall or house. You undoubtedly are seeking a more independent and less college-centered life by moving off campus and into a Northfield neighborhood.

Being a Northfield Neighbor

Carleton students are responsible for following the “standards of reasonable behavior” established by the City of Northfield and its permanent residents. With good judgment and an understanding of neighborhood standards, students should be able to experience a positive relationship with their neighbors.

As stated in the Carleton Community Standards Policy, “The expectations, rules and regulations … pertain to students on and off campus …. Student behavior occurring anywhere … will be a concern to the College ….” This means that your behavior as a Northfield resident is bound by both the Carleton Community Standards and the laws and ordinances of the City of Northfield.

We encourage you to become an active participant in your neighborhood. Being a respectful neighbor will result in a pleasurable living experience for you and your neighbors.

Specific Responsibilities as a Considerate Neighbor

All residential neighborhoods have established standards acceptable to the permanent residents of the neighborhood. To maintain good relationships with the neighbors, it is important that you are respectful of their standards. Remember that, as a Carleton student, you and your actions represent the College at all times.


  • If you have a party, clean up when it is over. Set out garbage cans prior to events. Do not leave garbage lying around in the yard. Host only the number of guests your house/bathrooms can accommodate. Never let your guests urinate in the yard.
  • Speakers should not be directed out of house windows. Activity in and around your house should not disturb neighbors. Remind guests to keep their voices low. All activities must end by 10 p.m. (even on weekends), in accordance with the Northfield Noise Ordinances noted below.

Neighbor complaints about loud, disruptive student parties have led to a revision of the Northfield Rental Code, and the formation of a group called "Citizens for a Quieter Northfield." You should understand that you are moving into such a sensitive community situation.


  • Your landlord is responsible for providing off-street parking for the tenants. Talk with your landlord to determine the space(s) that are allocated for your house/apartment. City Ordinances prohibit blocking neighborhood driveways or parking on lawns. Find alternate parking locations for any cars for which there is no designated parking spot. No person shall park a vehicle in one space upon a street or municipally owned parking area for a period exceeding 48 hours.[1]
  • Property owners are responsible for removing snow and ice from the sidewalks adjacent to their property within 12 hours after snow or sleet has stopped. If snow and ice are not removed, it may be removed by authorized city personnel, and the associated costs will be assessed against the property. Minnesota Statutes prohibit depositing snow from private property onto a street or municipally owned parking area. If residents are responsible for snow removal, you might consider asking the landlord for a reduction in rent.[2]
  • Make certain that garbage cans are set out on the curb on appropriate days. After pick up, store them out of sight for the following week. Determine if the landlord provides garbage cans or if tenants must purchase their own.
  • Determine if tenants or landlord is responsible for lawn mowing and raking. If residents are expected to do the clean up, again, you might consider asking for a reduction in rent. Similar to your hometown neighborhood, Northfield residents take great pride in keeping their yards looking nice. Take a few minutes to pick up litter in the yard each week and particularly after an event at the house. Call your landlord if they haven’t been by to mow the grass.


  • If you have a pet in your apartment/house, make your neighbors aware of the pet’s presence in the house. Do not have the pet loose in the yard with no supervision. Be careful to keep your pet out of your neighbor’s yard.
  • Dogs or cats over six months of age within the city limits must have a rabies vaccination. The owner shall affix a permanent tag to the collar of the dog showing the expiration date of the rabies vaccination. Dogs must wear a collar stating the owner's name, address or telephone number, legibly printed, at all times.[3]


  • Drive slowly and respectfully in your neighborhood keeping the volume on your car stereo reasonable—people of all ages reside in the neighborhood and are not necessarily on the same schedule as you. They may be sleeping/resting in mid-afternoon or there may be young children in the neighborhood who could dart into the street in front of a car.
  • Local streets are intended for temporary parking. If you need to park long term, please work with your landlord to locate parking.
  • A winter parking ban on all city streets is in effect between November 15 and March 15 between the hours of 2am and 6am, snow or no snow. During this time, no parking is allowed on any city street except by permit. Tickets will be issued with accompanying fines. Vehicles may be towed if a snow emergency is declared.[4]
  • Parking permits require annual application and will only be issued if the Chief of Police or a representative determines that a parking hardship exists. Applications for permits can be obtained from the Public Services/Engineering office or downloaded from this web site. Submit applications to the Public Services/Engineering office at 801 Washington St.

[1] Northfield City Ordinance, Sec. 78-97
[2] Northfield City Ordinance, Sec. 70-2
[3] Northfield City Ordinance, Sec. 10-35 and 36
[4] Northfield City Ordinance, Sec. 78-102
We encourage you to view all City of Northfield Codes at

Selected Relevant Sections of the Northfield Noise Ordinance 

Sec. 50-87.  Unlawful parties, assemblies, or gatherings.

Sec. 50-90.  Unlawful noise.

When disturbances are reported to the Northfield Police or Carleton Security, the College will respond quickly and fairly.  If the Northfield Police are called to the scene, students are subject to the same laws as Northfield residents.  In addition, there may be a follow up by a member of the Dean of Students staff.


Your Safety and Rights as a Tenant


  • Lock doors and windows. Suggest that your friends ring the doorbell or call ahead when visiting.
  • Lock cars, even if in the driveway—there are a surprising number of thefts reported each year in neighborhood driveways and garages in Northfield.
  • Lock your bike.
  • Report any suspicious behavior to the police. Watch and listen for unusual things such as loud noises or strange people loitering around the neighborhood.
  • Make certain smoke detectors are installed and are working.
  • When walking to/from your apartment/house, don’t walk alone. Many streets are not well lit.

A safe escort between any two locations on Carleton property will be provided, as well as the area immediately surrounding campus. For a safe escort, contact Security Services at 507-222-4444.


  • The Deposit (security or damage) is used to cover damage the tenant may do or for failure to pay the rent. If the tenant does no damage and pays all of the rent, the owner must return the money with interest 21 days after the tenant moves out.
  • How much is the rent? When is it due?
  • Is subletting permitted?
  • Are laundry facilities available?
  • Who pays the utilities?
  • Is cable/internet access available?
  • Are pets allowed?
  • When will the apartment be inspected for move-in condition? Check the move in condition carefully so you don’t end up paying for existing damages. Take photos both at move-in and move-out time if there are conditions that might be questionable
  • When may the landlord enter the rental unit? How much notice will be given?
  • Who is responsible for upkeep of lawn and sidewalks?
  • Where are tenants allowed to park?

Request a copy of the Rental License (which assures the apartment is inspected every three years) from the landlord. If you are unable to secure a copy from the owner, please contact the Northfield Building Inspector (507-645-3004, 801 Washington St. South, Northfield, MN 55057).

We encourage you to read the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office document entitled “Landlords and Tenants: Rights and Responsibilities.”