Table of Contents
Rental and Property Insurance
In an effort to provide peace of mind for students and their families, you are encouraged to carry personal property insurance, as the university is not responsible for damage to your property. Students are encouraged to review their 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. Housing and Residential Services cannot be held responsible for damage to your property.
All residents sharing a room will complete a roommate agreement. This form can be acquired from your CA. This agreement allows roommates to discuss various aspects of sharing a room and agree upon expectations for the use of and conduct in the room. You are strongly encouraged to complete a roommate agreement form early in the year as it can help set the groundwork for a successful residential experience. Roommate agreements will be discussed by the Community Advisor within the first two weeks of the semester, but can be revisited as often as needed. Students in the New Residence Hall will complete a mini-suite and cluster agreement forms.
How to Change Rooms
Before requesting a room change, roommates should discuss any conflicts, particularly conflicts related to visitors. The residence halls have guidelines for visitors. Roommates should know the guidelines and discuss them with each other. The CA can be a great resource and mediator during difficult conversations. If the discussion does not move toward resolution of conflict, contact the Hall Director or Complex Coordinator. More details can be found in the Community Living section. You are not permitted to make room changes without authorization of the Chief Clerk, Hall Director, or Complex Coordinator. This process is necessary to insure 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 or her originally-assigned space.
Students who are victims of interpersonal violence incidents may request to have their living arrangements changed. Students should contact a Complex Coordinator or Hall Director to make the request. A staff member is available 24 hours a day for assistance in emergency situations.
Decorate your room to make it unique and feel like home. While you’re adding your 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.
- No candles, incense burners, potpourri pots, or scented oil or wax warmers may be used at any time. (e.g. Scentsy)
- No decorations may obstruct access to halls, stairwells, or exits due to fire safety regulations.
- 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 representing the character of the institution. Public display areas may be monitored to insure that inappropriate materials/messages are not visible. University administration/residence hall staff uses the policies, mission, and values of the institution to determine the appropriateness or inappropriateness of public area displays. You may be required to remove public displays deemed as inappropriate.
- The residence hall room number located on the exterior of each resident’s room door must be visible at all times.
- The evacuation diagram located on the interior of each room door or closet door must be visible at all times.
Room and Furniture Modification
As you arrange your room to make it suitable for your living style, you should remember the following guidelines:
- Furniture must stay in the room.
- Personal mattresses and futons are prohibited in the residence halls. In order 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.
Hall Closing and Break Periods
- The standard housing contract does not cover the official university break periods (between semesters). Students who need break period housing must live in halls designated for winter break and request a contract for that time period. Unauthorized occupancy may result in a $50 fine plus the daily rate.
- 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.
Accommodations for Medical-Related Needs
Personal Care Attendants
Personal Care Attendants / Assistants (PCAs) shall be considered guests of the resident for whom they work. All PCAs should obtain a Photo Courtesy Card from the OneCard office. For information about obtaining a PCA photo courtesy card, please contact the Coordinator of Residential Facilities at 815-753-7407.
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 remain under the supervision of their host at all times, 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 11pm and carries past 11pm does not need to register for the evening of that shift. However, if a PCAs shift starts after 11pm and before 7am 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 Your Room
When you are permanently leaving your room, whether changing rooms or moving out, you need to complete a Room Condition Form (RCF) with your Community Advisor. Schedule a time with your CA to check out of the room at least 24 hours in advance. If you fail to make an appointment with your CA to check out you may be assessed a $50 improper check out fee. You then must turn in any keys as instructed. If you are withdrawing from the university (not moving due to a room change or the end of the year move out), you need to complete a Contract Release Request form.
- Residents moving out of their room who fail to remove their personal belongings may be assessed up to $600 in fees. Personal belongings will be held for 30 calendar days and then donated to a registered 501(c)(3) recognized charity. We will send a certified letter to your home address listed on file.
- The residence hall agreement is a legally binding contract in effect for the full academic year, similar to any other standard landlord/tenant agreement. Students who experience significant and unpredictable changes in their life that occur after they have signed a housing contract may request to be released from their current residence hall contract. Students are typically not released from their contracts to commute from home, to move in with friends/relatives, because they found another living space that they think better meets their needs, or because they prefer a different living environment.