Initial Room Inspections and Reports
When students first arrive on campus, they are asked to fill out an online Room/Suite/Apartment Condition Report within 48 hours of moving into their residence hall space. The link is sent to the student’s Gonzaga email by the end of the day that the student moves in. Students are responsible for listing all damages that are found in the room and may be held accountable for damages that they do not list. It is important that students thoroughly check all areas of the room/suite/apartment (including common areas in suites and apartments) to avoid charges at the end of the year.
When a student moves out of his/her space, a Resident Assistant (RA) arrives at the room to record the current condition of the room. RAs thoroughly check every area of the room, including bedrooms and common areas such as kitchens and bathrooms. A professional staff member may follow up on room damages after the building is entirely vacated. The RA then passes along the damages to the Residence Director (RD) or Area Coordinator (AC) of that block. The RD/AC will ultimately determine the charges to be placed on the student’s account. Damages to common areas of suites/apartments will be charged to all students of the room unless a student accepts individual responsibility for the damages. This may also be the case in residence hall rooms in corridor-style buildings where it is not clear which student is responsible.
The university requires applicants for on-campus housing to submit a $200 deposit. This deposit provides security that the terms and conditions of the agreement will be fulfilled and the unit will be returned to its original condition when the student moves out of their space. If a student lives on campus multiple years, the agreement term continues until the student is no longer living in a GU-owned residence (this includes residence halls, suites and apartments). At the end of the agreement term, the student will receive the remainder of their deposit. The deposit is not a damage fund where intermittent damage charges are deducted during the course of the agreement terms; however, damage charges will be taken from the deposit at the end of the final year of the agreement term. Any damage charges incurred are assessed to the student’s account until the end of the agreement terms.
Sometimes, damages are considered to be normal wear and tear and the student may not be charged.
* Normal wear and tear includes things such as dust on the walls, a dirty carpet that can be cleaned with a single carpet cleaning, dirty desk tops that can be easily wiped down, etc. In some instances, this may include windows with vertical blinds with some missing slats, loose towel racks, closet or wardrobe doors off rollers or with loose hinges, loose handles to dressers, desk drawers, etc.
* Abnormal wear and tear includes any intentional or accidental damage to a room. This includes such things as permanent stains in carpets, holes in walls/doors from nails and tacks which are not allowed, left behind tape on walls or decals on windows, tears in screens, rips in mattresses, broken light fixture covers, or significant mold and mildew in shower/bath areas for apartments or suites. In apartments, a path from the kitchen area that is dirty is often grease and grime-related and suggests the kitchen floor was not mopped regularly. Such a path may not be able to be fully removed by a single carpet cleaning and thus is not considered normal wear and tear. Apartments have more rooms and spaces to be damaged and thus often see higher damage charges.
Common Area Damage Charges
Students may also be charged for damage to building common areas such as building lounges/lobbies, kitchens, study rooms, game rooms, and hallways regardless of whether or not they were involved in causing the damage. For instance, if there is a hole found in a hallway of a residence hall, the damage costs will be split among all residents of that hall unless one person claims sole responsibility. Likewise, if a piece of furniture is broken in the main lobby of a residence hall, the cost will be split among the entire building unless a student claims responsibility for the damage. At the end of each year, if the total charge for common area damage does not exceed $2.00 per student, the student will not be charged for common area damages. Please refer to your Student Handbook if you have more questions about our common area billing policy.
Timeline for Repairing/Charging Damages
Sometimes, students wonder why they pay these damages when they check out and the following year see some damages that were not repaired. Below are some examples:
* To re-carpet a residence hall room based upon a single new stain would cost the institution $760. We charge a student $25-$70 based upon the size of the stain.
* To repair a wall in a residence hall room requires a patch of the holes (including appropriate drywall and mud material) as well as the painting of the entire room. This is done so that the patch matches the paint in the rest of the room. This work could cost a minimum of $560. We charge $15-$65 per hole.
These are just two examples of the types of damages we choose intentionally not to charge the full price to students and their families. We would rather collect more reasonable charges like $25-$70 or more depending on level of damages, and over a few years of collecting additional related abnormal wear and tear, eventually have enough collected to cover our costs to re-carpet or repaint a room. In short, we would rather charge you 10 or 20 percent of our costs and bank the money until the walls or carpets look damaged enough to present a poor image to a new resident at which point the damages will be repaired.
Damage fees are collected by housing and sent to a carry-over account in the Plant and Construction Services Department. The carry-over account is used by Plant and Construction Services to repair damages over time as they see fit.
Contesting Damage Charges
Charges will only be communicated to students via their student accounts. Charges will not be communicated with parents or guardians. If a student wants to contest a charge, they may do so by submitting the Damage and Cleaning Charges Appeal Form. Housing and Residence Life staff will only discuss the specific damage charges assessed to the resident. While we recognize that parents or guardians may have a vested interest in the outcome, we ask that they respect the developmental value of the process. Parents are requested to teach their student to advocate for themselves. The student possesses first-hand knowledge of the situation and is expected to accept responsibility for their own accounts and finances.