By: Drew Satter, Housing and Residence Life
If you look on your bill and notice that it’s a little bit more than normal, it could be because of individual or common area damage charges. This term might confuse you, and the extra bill might anger you. I hope that the following information can help you understand the University’s procedures and processes with regard to damages and billing, specifically in our residence halls. Complete information about our damage policy and common procedures can be found both in the Student Handbook and on the Housing and Residence Life website. In addition, there are things we can guarantee you as a resident living on campus with regard to damages and billing:
A fair look at previous damages: The students completed the room inspection via the ZagLiving portal when they moved in. This process helps a student not get charged for things that may have been broken or missing before their arrival. It’s important that residents communicate to their RA and RD about possible damages that were in the room when they arrived.
A chance for accountability: Our process to bill for common area damage (defined as damage that occurs in a hallway, lounge, and/or community room or space) includes a step where students can come forward and take accountability for their actions (or let us know if they have information about persons involved). If we find out who was responsible, we will charge them individually, and not the entire community.
An understanding of normal “wear and tear:” We won’t be charging students for furniture or room items that have clearly lived a good life and have been used properly. A couch that has seen many good years in a residence hall and now needs to be replaced is simply one of those “costs of doing business” that we incur many times a year. However, a couch that was misused or mistreated means that the student(s) responsible for that behavior may need to help us defray costs.
A realistic look at costs: We work closely with Plant Services to ensure that if a student is getting charged for an item, said item is being fixed/replaced for nearly the same costs. This is a break-even venture for us at best; many times, we will not charge students the full amount that it typically costs (including supplies and man hours).
A chance for your voice to be heard: If you feel a charge was incorrect or unfair, we have a Damage/Cleaning Charge Appeal Form which you can submit.
If you have questions about damages and/or your bill, I would encourage you to contact your student’s RD for more information. Please check out our website for more information regarding our damage policy and contact information for professional staff members.