Residential Damage

Respect for Residential Spaces

As a residential, liberal arts institution, a living and learning community is at the heart of the Dickinsonian experience. This community must be built on a shared respect for each other as well our residential spaces. The Dickinson Community Standards, more specifically the Residential Living Guidelines within those standards, supports this required respect through processes and policies like the room condition and inventory process, damage billing, and community billing. Students are also reminded of the expectations Residence Life & Housing has for students through the Room & Board Agreement, which they acknowledge at the beginning of each academic year.

Residence Life & Housing and Facilities Management partner to support students in our residential spaces. Residence Life & Housing works to assign students to spaces and handles much of the communication with students, while Facilities Management staff works hard to maintain our more than 60 separate buildings.

Your respect of the residential spaces and property across campus will reduce the likelihood that you will be charged for any damage. As an institution, we must do our best to maintain our spaces for decades of Dickinsonians to come. Therefore, when damage occurs we must ask students to cover the associated costs.

Room Condition & Inventory Form

The Room Condition & Inventory Form is the primary way the College documents the condition of all residential spaces and furnishings at move-in. Each residential space will be inspected by staff before students move in; however, every student is responsible for reviewing their Room Condition & Inventory Form and notyfing Residence Life & Housing of any changes or additions to the form (if applicable). Students who do not notify Residence Life of any changes or additions to the form waive their right to appeal damage billing at the end of the year. Students are notified of this responsibility when they pick up their room key, at floor meetings (if applicable), by emails from Residence Life & Housing, and when they acknowledge the Room & Board Agreement at the beginning of the academic year. 

A copy of the Room Condition & Inventory Form is taped to all bedroom doors and to all common space doors (bathrooms, living rooms, etc.) in suite-style or apartment-style housing.

Reports of Residential Damage

Anytime there is damage beyond normal wear and tear observed in a residential space, we consider it to be residential damage. Damage is reported in several ways:

  • Employees (both Residence Life & Housing staff and Facilities Management staff) may observe the damage while going about their daily work. The observations are typically submitted to Facilities Management in a work order to have the damage fixed (if possible). Residence Life & Housing staff and Facilities management staff also inspect spaces for damage after students have checked out, typically at the end of each semester.
  • The Department of Public Safety (DPS) sometimes observed damage as they go about rounds in the buildings or respond to phone calls after hours. DPS also typically submits a work order into Facilities Management to have the damage fixed (if possible).
  • Students may contact Facilities Management about damage they have observed or damage they know they were responsible in creating.

Once this residential damage is reported to Facilities Management, the residential damage is repaired (if appropriate) as quickly as possible or a plan is created for such repairs. Then the residential damage is processed in one of two ways – depending on where the damage is located:

Community Billing (public spaces, corridors, stairwells, community baths, etc.): The purpose of community billing is to promote individual responsibility and to hold students mutually accountable for the condition of their shared living spaces. Public areas (i.e. corridors, stairways, lounges, bathrooms) are the collective responsibility of the residents of that suite, wing, floor, or building, apartment or house. Charges for damages to those areas may be divided among the residents of those facilities. Areas covered under the community billing policy may include, but are not limited to vandalism, stolen furniture, or housekeeping charges in a common or public area when it is not directly possible to determine the responsible person(s).

Damage Billing (private spaces, inside rooms/suites/apartments): Vandalism, damage, destruction of college or personal property, or creating a condition that requires clean up or repair is not permitted. Damage to your room and college-provided furnishings shall be the financial responsibility of you and other assigned occupants. In instances when unnecessary clean up or repairs are necessary, students may be subject to the financial responsibility either individually, or as a suite, wing, floor or building in such instances when it is not directly possible to determine responsible person(s).

Damage Assessments
Facilities Management personnel are solely responsible for the completion of any repairs and therefore have complete authority to choose qualified contractors and representative building materials to complete the repairs. Fees and information associated with this work are considered internal College information and the College is not required to share these details with students or their families. Repairs are to be conducted by College staff or contractors only.

Residential damage costs are determined as follows:

Repairs

  • Repair Charge: (# of man-hours) X (overtime reimbursable hourly rate for tradesperson) + (cost of materials)*
    *If a contractor is used for the repairs, then the charge will be the invoice cost.

Furniture

  • Furniture Repair Charge: (# of man-hours) X (overtime reimbursable hourly rate for tradesperson) + (cost of materials)
  • Furniture Replacement Cost: cost of replacement*
    *If a repair is not feasible and the item must be replaced the cost will be equal to the cost to buy a new piece of equivalent furniture.\
  • Furniture that has been assigned to a student’s space: Minimum charge of $25 per item moved back to its original location. This includes a minimum of $25 charge to reassemble furniture.
  • Furniture that belongs in a community space: Minimum charge of $100 per item moved back to its original location.

Cleaning

  • Cleaning Charge: (# of man-hours) X (overtime reimbursable hourly rate for housekeepers)
  • The minimum charges for cleaning is $100.

Grounds Clean-up

  • Grounds Clean-up Charge: (# of man-hours) X (overtime reimbursable hourly rate for ground staff)
  • The minimum charges for grounds clean-up is $100.

Keys & Locks

  • A lost or not returned key is a minimum $100 charge for the lock change, and can be as high as $250 depending on number of doors and keys needed.

Processing Residential Damage Billing

Once damage billing has been observed, Facilities Management will notify Residence Life & Housing the cost to repair the damage (see Damage Assessments). If damage was pre-existing and noted on the Room Condition & Inventory Form, students will not be billed.

Residence Life & Housing will follow the process for community billing or damage billing, depending on where the damage was located:

Community Billing:

  • Each student in the area of the damage is notified of a description of the damage, the date the damage occurred (as known), and the cost associated with the damage by email.
  • Students will have five business days to respond with any information they have about the damage.
  • If the responsible student(s) are identified, they are notified by email and a charge is posted to their student account.
  • If there is not sufficient evidence to identify the responsible student(s), the cost associated with the damage will be split among the students in that area. Those students will be notified by email and a charge is posted to their student account.

Damage Billing:

  • The cost associated with the damage is divided among each student assigned to live within the room/suite/house/apartment. If there is common space within the suite/house/apartment, any damage within that area will be split among all residents assigned to the space. Damage within rooms is shared by roommates, if applicable.
  • Students are billed as assigned in the database maintained by Residence Life & Housing. Students must report any room changes within suites/houses/apartments as soon as possible to prevent errors in damage billing.
  • Students will be notified by email of a description of the damage and the cost associated with the damage before it is posted to a student account.

Appeals to Residential Damage

A student may appeal their residential damage only if they submitted their Room Condition & Inventory Form online within two weeks of moving into the residential space (see Room Condition & Inventory Form information above). Community billing may not be appealed. Students may appeal damage billing on the following grounds:

  1. The damage was present prior to moving in, and I noted it on my Room Condition & Inventory Form.
  2. The condition described did not exist at the time of my check-out.
  3. Other, please describe – however, cannot include items below:
  • Price – The fees assessed for damage are calculated by Facilities Management based on labor and materials (see Damage Assessment). These costs are non-negotiable.
  • Other people are responsible – You are responsible for the space you are assigned to by Residence Life & Housing.
  • My roommate/suitemate/apartment-mate caused the damage – If so, the person responsible must notify Residence Life & Housing (reslife@dickinson.edu) through their Dickinson email account claiming responsibility for the damage.
  • Damage existed when I moved into the room – Students are responsible for noting any pre-existing damage on the Room Condition & Inventory Form (RCI) when they move into the room. RCIs were checked before damage was assess.

To submit a damage billing appeal, please go to the following form. This form must be submitted by the student.

All appeals must be received within 21 days of the email notification that a damage billing charge is being posted to the student account.

Appeals will be reviewed by the Damage Appeal Committee. All appeals are decided based on the written or photographic documentation of the condition of the room. If the documentation shows that a charge is inappropriate, the student account will be credited. If, however, the documentation shows that the damage was appropriate, the charges will remain. The committee will send the outcome to the student by email. All decision regarding appeals are considered final.