Seeing damage in your residence is part of everyone’s first-year experience. But not everyone knows how the bill works.

Last year, Housing and Ancillary Services began dividing damage bills that could not be assigned to specific students across whole buildings, rather than just those living on the damaged floor.

According to Chris Lengyell, director of Housing and Ancillary Services, the decision was made after consulting with students in residence and student leaders, and “is intended to be a more effective deterrent to residents doing intentional damage to floors other than their own.”

“Taking care of residence buildings is a community responsibility. We encourage individuals with information about damages to come forward so we can initiate an investigation, with the intention of identifying the responsible parties and assigning the cost of the specific damages solely to them,” added Lengyell.

Fifty to 75 per cent of damages found in residence are charged to the whole residence buildings rather than individual students, according to him. 

According to housing, last year some buildings had community damages as low as a few dollars per student, while others were as high as $40 per student.

The loudest, most frustrating and most expensive fine of all for your building is the fire alarm. Students who decide to evacuate your entire residence building will be subject to a hefty fine. 

From microwave fires to unattended stoves, those who trigger alarms with real accidental fires are subject to a $200 fine. Any unintended fire alarms — playing hallway sports or pulling pranks with floormates — will run you anywhere from $700 to $950. There’s also an additional $200 cost for resetting the fire alarm and another $50 fine for tampering with fire equipment. When the perpetrating students cannot be identified, these costs are split among the entire building.

That may not sound like much when it’s split over 600 people, but just wait until an alarm gets pulled three times every weekend — you can expect to rack up a long bill at the end of the year.

And fire drills are only the start of what could drain your wallet. From juice spills to vomit, or pushing a cart down the hall, stains are going to happen, too.

Every stain the cleaning staff scrubs out is $30. That’s not much compared to when your floormate decides to break the fire extinguisher out of the wall, but just wait until your entire floor hosts a party that results in jungle juice spills all over the carpet.

Additionally, for each beer bottle found in a residence hallway, your building will be charged with a $30 beer bottle fine. Think twice before shotgunning Bud Lights in the halls next time.

And finally, everyone’s favourite: the ceiling tiles.

For every ceiling tile that breaks or disappears, it will cost $4 to $9 to replace. If you live in a loud residence, expect your ceiling tiles to look like snowflakes in your hallway — each one unique and detrimental to your chequing account.

For any other damage found within residence, your building will rack up a $25 malicious damage fine plus restitution.

So maybe reconsider next time before you decide to headbutt a ceiling tile or spray gas station champagne on the walls. Your spring pocketbook will thank you.

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Andy is a News Editor for volume 116. Email him at andy.yang@westerngazette.ca.

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