Room Information

Rental and Property Insurance

To provide peace of mind for students and their families, students are encouraged to carry personal property insurance, as the university is not responsible for damage to your property. Students are encouraged to review their parent/guardians' homeowners' policies to determine if any coverage gaps exist. If so, it is best to consult with your insurance agent regarding the purchase of rental insurance. Northern Illinois University and Housing and Residential Services cannot be held responsible for damage to your personal property.

Roommate Agreements

A college roommate can be the beginning of a life-long friendship for many students. Successful relationships are formed by having open communication based on trust, honesty and respect. To assist in this process Housing and Residential Services has developed a roommate agreement form that roommates work on together and complete within the first few weeks of the semester. This form can be found in Roompact and more information can be acquired from the community advisor (CA). This agreement allows roommates to discuss various aspects of sharing a room and agree upon expectations for the use of the space and conduct in the room. Students are strongly encouraged to review the roommate agreement form as soon as possible when they move in as it can help set the groundwork for a successful residential experience. Roommate agreements will be discussed by the community advisor at the first community meetings and follow up with roommates to make sure these are completed within the first two weeks of the semester. Roommate agreements can be revisited as often as needed.

How to Change Rooms

Students are eligible to request a change in rooms for a variety of reasons. However, room changes are generally not granted in the first two weeks of the semester while Housing and Residential Life confirms students' arrival and check-in to the residential communities. If a room change is requested because roommates are having a disagreement, the first step is to discuss any conflicts or disagreements about the space first. If roommates are unable to work out the conflicts or disagreements themselves, they will need to meet with their CA and go over the roommate agreement before having a room change request reviewed for approval. We are committed to assisting students in this process, but we are also focused on helping students learn important life skills related to managing issues appropriately with other students.

The CA can be a great resource and facilitator during difficult conversations. If the discussion does not move toward resolution of conflict, then the student should contact the hall director. More details can be found in the Community Living section. Students are not permitted to make room changes without authorization of the hall director. This process is necessary to ensure that you have appropriate access to your mail and to your room. A resident's official room assignment generates room billing and main door access. A resident who moves without authorization may be assessed a $50 fine and may be required to move back to his/her/their originally assigned space. In certain situations when both students are unable to reach a resolution or refuse to accept mediation assistance, Housing and Residential Life staff may determine that the best course of action is to have both students relocate to new room assignments to resolve the disruption. This would be a final solution when mediation has been exhausted, or students refuse to participate to find a mutual resolution.

Students who are victims of interpersonal violence incidents may request to have their living arrangements changed but will need to share the circumstances for an immediate change so that staff are able to understand the context for the urgency. In these situations, a student should contact their hall director to make the request. A staff member is available 24 hours a day for assistance in emergency situations. In some situations, a victim advocate may help the affected student with this process. Your CA or the front desk staff are able to reach the hall director at all times.

Decorating Rooms

Students are allowed to decorate their rooms to make it unique and feel like home. While they are adding personal touches, please follow these guidelines:

  • Use 3M Command Strips or painter's tape to hang items on the walls.
  • No over-the-door hooks are to be used on any door (including main room door, bathrooms, and closets)
  • Do not use screws, nails, thumbtacks, staples, or strong adhesives such as duct tape, packing tape, glue, or foam-type adhesive strips to attach posters and other articles to room surfaces. Use of these items can cause damage to walls, ceilings, and furnishings.
  • Painting, drawing, or writing on any surface in the room, including the doors, with any type of marker, including but not limited to dry erase markers, crayon, pencil or charcoal are not allowed.
  • Miniature UL-approved lights that do not generate noticeable heat are permissible in student rooms. No electrical wiring or lights of any type may be run through a doorway to be used as decoration in the hallway.
  • No live trees, branches, or wreaths may be used to decorate rooms or hallways because of fire safety regulations.
  • Candles, incense burners, potpourri pots, or scented oil or wax warmers may not be used at any time. (e.g. Scentsy)
  • No decorations may obstruct access to halls, stairwells, or exits due to fire safety regulations. Decorations on walls must also remain at a minimum of 24 inches from the ceiling.
  • Residents may not add attachments of any type to a residence hall light fixture, including paint, tissue paper, crepe paper, aluminum foil or any other material. No materials, whether flammable or nonflammable, may be suspended from, attached to, or draped beneath the ceiling or sprinklers-fire suppression system.
  • Alcoholic beverage containers, empty or full, may not be used as decorations or openly displayed in any resident's room, even if you are of legal drinking age.
  • The outside of the room door and the window facing outward are considered public display areas. University staff may deem a posting inappropriate if it violates the law, falsely defames an individual, or unjustifiably invades substantial privacy or confidentiality interests. Any posting that is seen as racist, sexist, or oppressive in nature may necessitate a conversation between hall staff and the resident(s) regarding community impact and appropriateness. The resident(s) may be asked to consider if the posting should be removed; however, it is up to the student and their individual freedom of expression.
  • The residence hall room number located on the exterior of each resident's room door must be always visible.
  • The evacuation diagram located on the interior of each room door or closet door must be always visible.

Room and Furniture Modification

As students arrange their room to make it suitable for their living style, you should remember the following guidelines.

Gilbert, Grant, Neptune, New Hall (Patterson) and Stevenson

  • Furniture must stay in the room.
  • Personal mattresses and futons are prohibited in the residence halls.
  • To enable swift exit in the event of an emergency, other personal furniture may not block entrance to the room.
  • All built-in furniture or fixtures must remain intact.
  • Unless you have a double room contracted as a temporary single, the second set of furniture must be ready for use by another student. A roommate can be assigned at any point during the year. Housing and Residential Services staff will make every effort to give the current resident(s) notice about a new roommate when possible, but note emergency situations may arise at any time.

Northern View Community

  • Each unit in Northern View Community is equipped with a stove, refrigerator, dishwasher, garbage disposal, and washer and dryer. Residents will also find in their apartments, window coverings, smoke detector, TV cable outlet and network connections. Northern Illinois University equipment may not be removed from the apartment.
  • Repairs to any damaged university property (like walls) caused by accessory items you may bring into your apartment such as furniture, pictures, towel racks or pole lamps will be the financial responsibility of the resident.
  • Waterbeds and other water-filled furniture are prohibited.
  • Unless you are contracted in a family-style apartment, if the student has not been assigned a roommate, half of the common areas and the second bedroom should always remain vacant and clean. A roommate can be assigned at any point during the year. Housing and Residential Services will make every effort to give any current residents notice about a new roommate.

Hall Closing and Break Periods

  • The standard housing contract for Gilbert, Grant, Neptune, New Hall (Patterson), and Stevenson does not cover the official university break periods (between semesters). Students who need break period housing must live in communities designated for winter break and request a break housing contract for that time. Unauthorized occupancy may result in a $50 fine plus the daily rate for the applicable community. Special policies may be in effect during break housing periods, that are not reflected in the Housing Handbook.
  • Students must depart their residence hall room 24 hours after their last final for winter break and must be checked out of their residence hall room 24 hours after their last final for spring semester closing.
  • The Northern View Community contract includes break periods except for the summer break. A separate contract is required for occupying an apartment during the summer terms.

Accommodations for Medical-Related Needs

See Accessibility and Accommodations

Personal Care Attendants

Personal Care Attendants / Assistants (PCAs) are usually registered through the Disability Resource Center, and Housing and Residential Services. A PCA shall typically be considered guests of the resident for whom they work and not a contracted housing resident. All PCAs should obtain a Photo Courtesy Card from the OneCard office. For information about obtaining a PCA photo courtesy card, please contact Housing and Residential Services at or 815-753-1525.

Any PCA who has an active Photo Courtesy Card and OneCard account with NIU OneCard shall be held to all the regulations of a guest as outlined in the NIU Housing Handbook.

  • PCAs should always remain under the supervision of their host, though there are situations (including medical-related needs and emergencies) in which a PCA does not need to be accompanied by their host.
  • A PCA whose shift starts before 11 p.m. and carries past 11 p.m. does not need to register for the evening of that shift. However, if a PCAs shift starts after 11 p.m. and before 7 a.m. they will need to register.
  • If their host required 24-hour care, PCAs may stay in the residence hall past the maximum of 72 hours within a seven-day period.

Checking Out of A Residential Room/Apartment

When a resident is permanently leaving their room, whether changing rooms or moving out, they need to complete a room condition form (RCF) with their community advisor. They should schedule a time with their community advisor to check out of the room at least 24 hours in advance and during business hours. If the resident fails to make an appointment with their CA to check out, they may be assessed a $50 improper check-out fee.

During the checkout, the student must turn in any keys as instructed. If they are withdrawing from the university (not moving due to a room change or the end of the year move out), they need to complete a Contract Release Request form.

  • Defrosting your refrigerator/freezer (Microfridge unit) regularly is one of the residents' responsibilities and helps extend its life. Before changing rooms/apartments or moving out, defrost and clean out the refrigerator and microwave. There is a $50 charge for not cleaning out the unit and an additional $50 charge for not defrosting the refrigerator. This is also true for residents of Northern View apartments.
  • Residents moving out of their room who fail to remove their personal belongings may be assessed up to $500 in fees. Personal belongings will be held for 30 calendar days and then donated to a registered 501(c)(3) recognized charity. Housing and Residential Services will send a certified letter to the student's home address listed on file.
  • The residence hall agreement is a legally binding contract in effect for the full academic year, like any other standard landlord/tenant agreement. Students who experience significant and unpredictable changes in their life that occur after they have signed a housing agreement may request to be released from their current residence hall agreement. Students are typically not released from their agreement to commute from home, to move in with friends/relatives, or move into off-campus housing accommodation because they found another living space that they think better meets their needs, or because they prefer a different living environment. To learn more about the contract release process, visit Contract Release.

Updated August 2022

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Neptune East 101

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