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Damage-Control and Check-In Forms

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As a student living in a dorm, you're going to be responsible for the condition the room is left in at the end of the school year. You'll be charged for repairing or replacing anything that's damaged, unless, of course, it already was damaged before. Most schools keep tabs on room damage with some sort of room-damages form, which you should receive when you check in. When you move in, you'll need to walk around you room, form in hand, and write down all of the damage you find. You can be charged for damage that occurs throughout the year or damage that you missed during your inspection.

The Form

As stated above, a room-damages (or similarly named) form helps your school keep track of the damage in a particular dorm room. There should be a place to write down the things that are damaged as well as some details about the damage. When you receive this form, it may have some things marked on it already. You can add any additional damages yourself. Having all of these damages documented will protect you from having to pay for them after the school year ends.

What to Look For

You should use a keen eye to look for damage in your new dorm room. You don't want to be charged for something you didn't break. It isn't that your school is looking to put one over on you, but they don't want to spend money on repairs any more than you do. So, make sure they don't have anything they can charge you for. Here are some things to look at:
  • Carpets/flooring – Look for stains, rips, and frayed edges in carpeting. If you have linoleum floors or something similar, check for scratches or other damage.
  • Walls/ceiling – Check the walls and ceiling for holes, nicks, cracks, and peeling paint.
  • Windows/screens – Look closely for cracks in windowpanes and rips in screens.
  • Furniture – See if there's any damage to desks, beds (including mattresses), dressers, chairs, and any other furniture that's in your room.
  • Miscellaneous – Other things to look out for could include: broken light fixtures, outlet covers, light switch covers, molding, heat/AC control boxes.
This list is by no means exhaustive, since every college dorm room is different. However, it should give you an idea of the types of things to look for. Once you're sure you have everything accounted for, you'll need to hand the form back in (probably to your dorm office). When it comes time for you to move out again, your room will be inspected, and you'll have to pay for any damage that isn't accounted for on the damages form.

TIP: If anything does get damaged during the year, see if maintenance will fix it. This can be a good way to avoid paying for things unnecessarily.

Filling out the room-damages form might not be that much fun, but it doesn't take too much time and IS well worth it. College is expensive enough without paying to fix or replace a bunch of stuff you didn't break.

Sean McClain  Posted by Sean McClain on June 29, 2010

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