Damage Billing and Excessive Housekeeping

Introduction

Residence Hall or apartment vandalism is an unfortunate reality in community
living. Consequently, damages that occur as a result of vandalism cannot be
absorbed in the Facilities Management operating budget, which is designed to
manage routine wear and tear, repairs and replacement costs in residence halls.
As a result of these damages, financial sanctions such as Damage-Billing or
Excessive Housekeeping Fines are charged to resident students. Whenever the
responsible resident(s) can be identified, disciplinary sanctions are applied to
the guilty parties.

The Damage-Billing Program is based on the concept that charges related to
vandalism are assessed to residents or resident groups living in close proximity
to the location of the actual damages. The purpose of the Damage-Billing Program
is to reduce residence hall fees rather than increase room rates by adding
built-in charges for room or public area damages. However, residents may
challenge through the appeals process to have any Damage Billing Charges or
Excessive Housekeeping Fines removed.

Damage-Billing Charges

Maintenance and Custodial Managers usually initiate the individual and public
area Damage-Billing Charges and Excessive Housekeeping Fines. These Managers
investigate charges to ensure fairness in the billing process. The following are
examples of incidents that often result in Damage-Billing:

  • Broken exit signs 
  • Broken windows 
  • Inverted or incorrectly assembled beds 
  • Re-assembly of room or lounge furniture 
  • Recharging or replacing fire extinguishers 
  • Removal of any University furniture from its designated  location
     (considered theft) 
  • Replacement of towel rods or brackets 
  • Holes in walls 
  • Graffiti

Individual Damage-Billing Charges

Students are responsible for the cleaning of their individual rooms or
apartments. Upon occupying or vacating, students are required to check the
condition of the room and furnishings with a Residence Life staff member on
Check-in/Check-Out (CICO) forms. The University holds each student accountable
for loss or damage to property beyond normal wear and tear. Room property
includes dressers, desks, chairs, wall surfaces, interior and exterior door
surfaces, windows, and all other items listed on the CICO form.

  1.  Where damage occurs in a room shared by residents, the occupants of the
       room are equally responsible for a proportion of the damage charge unless the
       responsible party voluntarily assumes the total charge.
  2.  If damages related to vandalism occur to the exterior surface of a room
       door or window, the residents must contact the Maintenance Manager within 24
       hours and provide documentation indicating they should not be held responsible
       for any damage billing that may result (i.e., Public Safety/Police reports).
  3.  When students fail to use or appropriately sign the CICO form when
       arriving or departing from the University residence hall, the result will be
       forfeiture of the right to appeal a Damage-Billing charge.
  4.  All individual Damage-Billing charges are applied at a $10.00 minimum.  

Public Area Damage-Billing

Public areas are defined as lobbies, hallways, lounges and recreation rooms,
bathrooms, kitchens, elevators, etc. Residents may be liable for damages that
occur to University property within a specific building. When public areas are
vandalized, a group of students, a floor or a building where students live in
close proximity to the damage will be billed for the damages.

  1.  University personnel inspect public areas on a regular basis. Any report
       of damages is forwarded to the Maintenance or Custodial Manager for review of
       the charges. Charges to public areas of residential facilities are assessed
       during and at the close of each semester.
  2.  When public area damages occur, resident students are encouraged to
       identify the specific individual or group who caused the damage, in order to
       avoid damage-billing charges. Those individuals thought to be responsible
       should be reported immediately to Residence Life and/or Public Safety.
       Individual residents proven to be responsible for specific incidents should be
       reported to the Maintenance or Custodial Manager.
  3.  Similar to individual Damage-Billing, public area Damage-Billing only
       applies when the standard level of a $10.00 minimum amount is reached.

Excessive Housekeeping Fines

Excessive Housekeeping is defined as any housekeeping situation that is not
considered part of the custodial staff's normal daily routine. This includes
items such as fire extinguisher powder, clumps of mud, foodstuffs, bodily fluids
in public areas, rooms, or apartments, and trash that has not been disposed of
in the designated receptacles (i.e., dumpsters, toters or trash chutes).
Excessive Housekeeping Fines are imposed in an effort to correct the behavior of
a specific room/floor/building. These fines do not always reflect the time and
material necessary to complete cleaning tasks, but act as a deterrent against
future Excessive Housekeeping problems. Excessive Housekeeping occurrences and
fines are determined by Custodial Managers. These fines are imposed on
rooms/floors/buildings on an escalating basis. Following are examples of
incidents that often result in Excessive Housekeeping Fines:

  • Adhesive backed decorations/colored putty 
  • Body fluids: (blood, urine, mucous, feces, vomit) 
  • Broken glass 
  • Carpet and upholstery damage 
  • Cement blocks not removed from building 
  • Cigarettes and debris 
  • Confetti/glitter 
  • Contact paper 
  • Deliberate floods 
  • Fire extinguisher debris 
  • Food/trash left in sinks/water fountains 
  • Graffiti 
  • Liquid spills 
  • Mud 
  • Removal of personal carpet/furniture left in room/building 
  • Room trash in public areas 
  • Sprinkler head discharges due to causes other than fire 
  • Stacking lounge furniture 
  • Tape/tape residue

  1.  The first occurrence of a specific type of Excessive Housekeeping, per
       room, floor or building is charged at $25.00; the second occurrence at $50.00;
       and the third occurrence at $75.00. If the actual cost of the clean up exceeds
       the published charge, then actual costs will be assessed.
  2.  University personnel report excessive housekeeping incidents to the
       Custodial Manager who reviews and reports appropriate Excessive Housekeeping
       Fines.
  3.  The Custodial Manager assesses the necessary fines based on number of like
       occurrences for the specific floor and/or building. The verified data is then
       entered into the University Facilities Work Order System and given a fine
       amount based on the documented number of like occurrences for that specific
       room, floor and/or building.
  4.  If the responsible person(s) voluntarily comes forth and pays the fine,
       the floor or building will not be fined.
  5.  Charges throughout the year are assessed to public areas of residential
       facilities. In addition, public area furniture is inventoried at the end of
       each semester and damage billing for missing or damaged public area furniture
       is billed at the end of each semester.
  6.  Student accounts are charged at the end of the semester if the total
       semester minimum fine is $10.00 per resident.

Appeals Process

First Appeal

After students receive assessments, they have the right to appeal the
Damage-Billing charges and excessive housekeeping fines. Appeals should be
submitted in a written letter or e-mail to the Custodial Manager or Manager
Housing Maintenance initiating the charges. If the appeal is granted, the charge
will be removed from the student's account.
In most cases, the Managers will take into account extenuating circumstances
in making their determination. The majority of appeals are resolved at the
Custodial and Maintenance Managers' level.
Reasons for rescinding charges are varied and may include:

  1.  Guilty person(s) identified
  2.  Stolen items returned
  3.  Damage-Billing or Excessive Housekeeping fine information is incorrect or
       incomplete
  4.  Damaged item is due for replacement
  5.  Billing mistake

Second Appeal

If a student is not satisfied with the outcome of the appeal at the Managers'
level, the resident has a right to appeal to the Assistant Director of
Operations and Maintenance or Custodial Services. The resident must forward a
written letter outlining the basis for the second appeal, while the appropriate
Manager will supply supporting documentation. The Assistant Director(s) will
answer the appeal within 5 working days.

Third and Final Appeal

If the resident is not satisfied with the Assistant Director's response, the
resident has the right to appeal to the Director. The resident must forward a
written letter outlining the basis for the third appeal, while the appropriate
Assistant Director(s) will supply supporting documentation. The Director will
answer the appeal within 5 working days.