Contract Timeline and Contracts
The national sample chapter housing contract template has been revised to include license language highlighting a better description of the relationship between a house corporation and resident. House corporations often describe themselves “colloquially” as a landlord, but in reality, house corporations are not landlords in the sense of the landlord/tenant laws. We are a private club offering housing privileges to our members--we do not and cannot rent to the general public. If you have any questions about this, please do not hesitate to ask. Please do have your housing contract reviewed by local counsel as laws vary from state to state. This sample is only a guide as to what should be included.
Furthermore, the sample contract has been revised to suggest language to indicate that if a member leaves school, voluntarily breaks her pledge or resigns, then she must forfeit possession of her room, but she is still responsible for the remaining payment under the contract for room and board. A lot of HCs take financial hits when residents make these choices and this has been coming up more and more. If they were living in an apartment, the landlord wouldn't care if they left school, etc. The reason behind this is, “who should bear the financial burden of the member's decision to resign, the HC or the member?” Seems clear where it should be...
Now, the HC can always waive its right to the room and board payment, and the resigning member can always find someone to take her spot, but this at least, up front, lets the member and the parent know that there are financial ramifications of just quitting.
It is hard to believe that it is the end of September/beginning of October and already some house corporations are distributing contracts for next year. Availability of off-campus housing often dictates when it is prudent to begin distributing contracts. You want to make sure you have talked about the opportunities to live in the chapter house with the new members and other undergraduates before they begin signing leases for apartments off campus. House corporation officers who attend new member meetings to promote this “once in a lifetime” opportunity that we offer have been met with great success. Plant the idea in the new members’ minds early that living in the house is a true highlight of their collegiate experience.
A timeline for distributing and collecting housing contracts has been provided here as well as a the sample housing contract. Click here to go to the 24/7 Filing Cabinet.
Please do not wait too long to distribute contracts for next year as that can create a lot of tension and anxiety as members and their parents would like to know where they will be living next year. Distribute contracts early, make your decisions quickly on who gets to live in, and notify everyone of their live in/out status as soon as practically possible so everyone can finalize plans for next year.