Off-Campus Housing Office advises students to read their contracts carefully
BYU is currently studying a number of options for fall semester. Ideally, the university would like for all of its students, faculty and staff to be on campus learning together, and we are working on plans that we hope can make that happen in some form. BYU’s first priority, however, must always be the health and safety of the members of its campus community. For this reason, BYU’s leadership will continue to work closely with state and county health officials, as the university studies the possibility of holding classes on campus or continuing with remote learning. Given the uncertain conditions in Provo and elsewhere, BYU may not be able to make a final decision until July.
Many BYU students may have questions and concerns right now about their fall housing. BYU’s Off-Campus Housing Office has provided some helpful counsel as outlined below. Its message is directed to all BYU students who have contracted for or are considering contracting for off-campus housing from a BYU contracted housing provider. It does not apply to students in BYU’s on-campus housing.
1. Read Your Housing Contract
If you have already signed an off-campus housing contract with a BYU contracted housing provider for fall semester 2020, please read the contract again carefully in its entirety, including any addendums or house rules. The standard contract form is available here. When you signed the lease, you entered into a binding legal contract with your landlord. Off-campus landlords are not BYU employees or companies, and the university does not have power to cancel the contract or release you from it. The contract can be canceled only under certain conditions set out in the contract itself. It’s important that you know and understand what those conditions are. Some of them are time sensitive.
2. Carefully Consider Your Options and Plans
We recognize that the pandemic and ensuing uncertainty are forcing a difficult decision: if you don’t sign (or if you cancel) a housing contract, but you decide later in the summer to return for fall semester 2020, you risk being unable to live in the housing of your choice. On the other hand, if you sign a contract now, it may turn out that campus is unable to reopen fully or at all for fall semester 2020. We wish we could give definitive guidance on how events will proceed, but these are very uncertain times.
3. Keep Up with What’s Happening
In order for you to make the best choices for your individualized situation, please stay up to date about the pandemic in your community and how BYU is responding:
As some of you may know, the BYU Center for Peace and Conflict Resolution (CPCR) is in the process of mediating and arbitrating housing disputes between landlords and student tenants about winter semester 2020 off-campus housing disputes related to COVID–19. The CPCR has an outline of the mediation process. The CPCR has also published recent redacted arbitration decisions. Although each case must be decided on its own facts and merits, these decisions may help guide your housing decisions.
These are uncertain and unprecedented times, full of risks and unknowns. Please carefully consider your options moving forward.
If you have any questions, please contact the Off-Campus Housing Office at firstname.lastname@example.org