Accidents can happen anywhere and dorm rooms are no exception. Sometimes on-campus residents may notice they must pay for others’ actions.
The Department of Housing and Residential Life Housing Contract Acceptance Form entails that if the identity of the person responsible for damages cannot be determined, the DHRL director may divide the repair costs and administrative fees among all or any portion of the residents.
Kyle Estes, associate director of housing and residential life, said residents usually deal with damages in common areas themselves before turning to the housing department. These residents are trying to avoid the whole floor being charged.
“Sometimes if a guest messes up a common area the people living on that floor will use peer pressure to resolve the issue,” Estes said. “They set the standards for the floor and deal with it on their own.”
Unlike the common areas, damages done within an individual dorm room are solely the responsibility of the inhabitant, even if that person did not inflict the damage.
, director of Housing and Residential Life, said the policy is comparable to similar situations in off-campus residences.
“This is like if you live off campus and you have a lease with a landlord,” Proite said. “The lease is with you, not with your friend (who caused dorm room damage). If there’s damage in your apartment, the landlord isn’t going to bill your friend. They’ll say it’s your responsibility, because you hold the lease.”
Proite said charges for damage would, by default, go to the student residing there. She said it is not the DHRL’s job to mediate who will help pay for the damages.
“But most of the time the friend will offer to pay for the damage,” Proite said. “However, we aren’t going to help you argue with your friend over whether or not you should have to pay for it.”
Susan Dudolski, associate director of Housing and Residential life, said she has not received any complaints by students regarding an intoxicated friend causing damage to their dorm room. Furthermore, students may be reluctant to report such damages because of fear they will get in trouble, she said.
Proite said she has not seen received complaints of this nature, because the damage caused to dorm rooms in general is minimal.
“There really aren’t any rooms where people have punched holes in the wall or damaged light fixtures,” Proite said. “Mostly we just see things like they put nail holes in the wall or broke a chair. The rooms are pretty indestructible.”
Proite said damages are typically reported in May during checkout procedures. If the time the damage occurred is unknown then, the person living in the room is charged.