Frequently Asked Questions

Most Common Questions About MSU-SHC

Joining the SHC

The MSU Student Housing Cooperative has a dual-approval process. First, you get approved by the Co-op via our application. After you hear back, you’ll then move onto getting approved by the particular Co-op you’re interested in by contacting Membership Officer and scheduling a tour meeting and/or meal.

Our application can be found here. You’ll get a reply from us within 3 business days of applying.

After you’re provisionally approved by the Co-op, you’ll receive your welcome letter email. Then, you:

  1. Get a tour of the house(s) you like by contacting the membership officer listed on the house page

  2. Attend a house dinner to meet your potential future housemates

  3. Attend a house meeting to understand facilitation and function within the house

  4. Be accepted by the Co-op Houses that you like the best

  5. Once the Membership Officer submits a tour card of approval, you then contact the Office to schedule a Contract Signing Appointment and then sign your contract at the MSU SHC office. You’ll pay Shares and Dues of $505.00 upon signing a Contract.

Then you are a part of our community!

Once you have done the following steps:

  1. Completed a tour
  2. Had dinner and a meeting with the house
  3. Been accepted by members of the house
  4. Your tour card has been turned in by the membership officer
  5. Call or e-mail the office to schedule a contract signing

Then you can come to our office in Campus Town Mall and sign for your spot!

Our office is located at Campus Town Mall — 541 East Grand River Avenue. We’re above Chipotle! Once you enter Campus Town Mall, go up to the 2nd floor. That’s where you’ll find us, right next to the record store FBC!

Here you can meet with staff, pay your Monthly Charges, or just hang out. Stop in any time Monday—Friday from around 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Visit our comittees & staff page to learn about the lovely people you’ll find at the SHC office regularly.

Room picks happen in the spring semester prior to the new contract year. Generally, room pick seniority goes as follows:

  1. Number of semesters one has lived in ______ House
    • If there are people who have lived there the same amount of time, then seniority between them goes by original contract signing date.
  2. Number of semesters one has been a member of the SHC
    • If there are people who have lived there the same amount of time, then seniority between them goes by original contract signing date.
  3. By original contract signing date.

So the earlier you sign for a house, the higher seniority you will have! Also ask the members of your house how their room picking is done, as they could do it differently at each house. Check out your house constitution for more information about this as well.

Yes! SHC bedrooms are furnished as much as you want them to be. You can request any and all of the following items:

  1. A bed frame/box spring
  2. Mattress
  3. Desk
  4. Chair
  5. Dresser

If you want to bring all of your own furniture, that is fine too.

Your common spaces are furnished as well, but you can bring furniture you would like to contribute to that common space if there is room for it and you are okay sharing it with your housemates.

Life in the Co-ops

Members vote each semester on having a meal plan. If a house has had a meal plan in the past, it will say so on the house info page.

Members can vote on how many nights a week they would like to have dinners. They also vote on if meals will contain meat and how often (but there is always a vegetarian option).

Dinners are cooked by members of the house and counts toward chore points. Purchasing ingredients could either be the responsibility of cooks themselves or of their house shopper(s).

All uncaged pets must be approved by your housemates. Caged pets only need approval by roommates (if any). This approval must be re-instated at the first house meeting of each semester. You must fill out an Uncaged Pet Agreement which can be picked up in the SHC office. This Uncaged Pet Agreement must be signed and submitted BEFORE bringing the animal into your Co-op. Dogs are not allowed in our Co-ops as pets due to liability.

Any animal in the house must be up to date on shots and vaccinations, and all cats must be spayed or neutered.

If your furry friend meets these conditions, then they are more than welcome in your co-op.

Yes! Houses provide places for members to park.

However, at some houses, space is limited. If there are not enough spots to compensate for the number of members who own vehicles, members decide who will have a parking space and who will not.

Yes yes yes! You own a portion of the property and therefore have the right to paint it however you please.

For common spaces such as hallways and living rooms, approval from housemates by a vote is necessary to paint.

See if it’s something you can fix yourself using tools available at the house. If you are unable to fix it, get in touch with your house facilities officer. Their job is to help maintain and fix up the house. If your facilities officer is unable to fix the issue, fill out a maintenance request by using the online form here. Your points of contact will be:

Finances

Our goal is to have your shares returned to you before the end of the calendar year, December 31.

Filling out the Reconciliation Reports each month and turning them into the Corporate Treasurer each month can show the Finance Committee the expenses and budgets of each house, averting a deficit before it happens by comparing budget to actual.

No worries. You only have to help pay off the deficit if you lived in the house when the house went over budget. Similarly, you won’t receive a surplus check if you did not live in the house when the house stayed under budget.

The SHC has a policy for late fines with any balance over $100. This late fee can be waived for up to 3 months, but the house deficit must be over $150/person and you must bring it to the Corporate Treasurer to approve. This works like a payment plan for the deficit.

In summary, the SHC bad debt policy still applies to any balance on your account outside of the specific approved deficit of $150.

*Please discuss circumstances with your house and/or house treasurer if you wish, but we want to maintain individual accountability.

 

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House Audits

The House Audit determines whether a house stayed within budget during the fiscal year (Sep 1 – Aug 31). If a house went over budget (had too many expenses and not enough house charges), this is called a deficit. It takes money away from the house account and can affect future contract years.  If the house was under their budget (paid more house charges than expenses), this is called a surplus. The members paid more than what was spent, so this money is paid back to its members.

It’s not a personal audit, but as a member of the house, you have an impact on the future of the house when you:

  • turn in receipts on time to your finance officer (so timely information can be shared to see if you’re on track for a deficit or surplus)
  • sign off on your house budget and any adjustments over the semester
  • as a house, contribute to house savings (part of your budget)
  • conserve resources
  • as a house, pay back a previous house surplus to the SHC (who gave it back to previous house members already)

The shares you purchase(d) when you sign a contract in the SHC office make you an owner in your house. Those shares are also used to buffer the cost of a house deficit, should that happen. Money can also be added to your shares if your house has a surplus. Until the audit is finished, we don’t know if your house has a surplus or deficit.

The house audit starts after the previous year* closes, i.e. the school year 2015/16 will be audited after the 2016/17 school year starts Sept 1, 2016. We have to wait until October 2016 to be sure we have all the receipts and reconciliations in. Then we ask each House Treasurer to approve the deficit or surplus before we can send the checks to members. We also verify each member’s address before we send the checks (so confirm it with us first!)

*The Fiscal Year for the Student Housing Cooperative (Sept 1 – Aug 31) is not the same as the calendar year (Jan 1 – Dec 31). It’s similar to the school year calendar.