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Cleaning Checks and The End of The World

I was reading the most recent posts on booting and noted that Steez had mentioned in passing about staying up till 4 am cleaning and still failing his cleaning check. With the end of the semester coming up I thought it would be a perfect time to discect this peculiar practice of BYU Housing.

First of all, I want you readers to try something for me. Go to google and do a search for "cleaning checks" just like that with quotation marks. If you are too lazy I've done the work for you here.

Anyways, you'll notice that on the first page, after the sponsored links, you'll find ten matches for cleaning checks. Three of those top ten are BYU related. One is some poor cougar complaining on his MySpace blog about cleaning checks. Another is from King Henry Apartments, and the other is actually on a BYU board.

What you won't find on that first page of results is cleaning checks required at other colleges. Now of course every dormitory in the world is going to require that students leave their dorms clean when they leave or face a fee (and if you keep searching "cleaning checks" you will find those colleges).

But for the most part, off-campus student housing is not subjected to cleaning checks during the semester. I wouldn't say that this is totally unique...but I have yet to find another campus that has this policy, or if they do have it, they aren't enforcing it like BYU does.

So BYU kids face different challenges than their fellow students, what else is new? Well you might be interested to know that one of the major reasons for cleaning checks at BYU approved housing complexes is to enforce the school's honor code. I worked for Provo's largest student housing complex for a few years and have first hand experience of students getting kicked out of their apartment and their school for what cleaning inspectors found in their apartments. The cleaning check can be used for nothing more than monthly surveilance.

But for most of you fine, upstanding youth the cleaning inspector isn't going to find a six-pack of beer in the fridge or your weed stash in the closet. You guys are following the rules just like you promised you would, and I applaud you for your honesty. No the inspectors may not find a co-ed in your bed but they will find something to charge you for. Make no mistake, BYU's cleaning check policies are a cash cow for many of these apartment complexes.

So perhaps I can pass along some helpful hints that I learned along the way:

1. Always have someone from your apartment be there when the inspectors come, even if this means missing a class. Most of these ladies don't want a confrontation, so if you are there and you follow them around they will usually pass you, or at least give you a chance to clean again before they fine you.

2. When you move in, spend some time taking pictures of EVERYTHING that is wrong with the apartment. Every stain on the carpet, every hole in the wall, EVERYTHING! There is nothing like having 60 pictures proving the place was a dump when you moved in while trying to make your case.

3. The all-purpose cleaner of choice: Automatic Dish Washing gel like Cascade (not the granular stuff...I'm talking about the goop). That stuff is amazing for floors and bathtubs and toilets. You gotta scrub...sometimes on your hands and kness but it works.

Hope this helps!

First Hand Testimony

My producer used to go to BYU and lived in BYU Housing for almost 5 years. Here is some of what she said:

-You got fined if you didn't literally toothpick the cracks around the refrigerator or soak the burners on the stove in case small burned food stain were there.

-She had to physically remove the stove from the wall and sweep underneath because the inspectors would check there.

-She once failed a cleaning check because she forgot to sweep between the base boards and the carpet.

-Once, while moving out of King Henry Apartments, they charged her for a nail hole near her bathroom. She told them that it wasn't her that put the nail hole there, but rather a room mate who had already moved out and left. They said, "Tough, you're the only one here. We're charging you."

-After she moved out, they also charged her $75 for "a burn in the carpet". She replied, "There is NO burn in the carpet, go check again." They went and called back, "You're right, there's no burn, but there WAS a small speck of gum on the carpet. We're charging you $75 for that." She then told them that she had filled out a "move-in sheet" when she had moved in and that the gum had already been accounted for. They called her back saying "We don't have your move-in sheet. Do you have a copy?" She didn't and got charged the $75.

thanks mom... err

thanks mom... err vegor.

project mayhem

Amen, amen, and amen! There

Amen, amen, and amen!

There is one way to describe a way-too-large portion of businesses in Utah Valley: greedy, cheating, lying, thieves.

Is it just me, or has the

Is it just me, or has the dollar ascended to "idol" status here in Utah Valley? Not that other communities don't worship the dollar, but for a valley full of Mormons, one might (naively) expect that the problem would be less prevalent here. But manipulation, exploitation, and a variety of other unethical means are regularly employed by RMs, bishops, elders quorum presidents, and other recommend-carrying Latter-day Saints, all in the name of accumulating wealth. I've heard Utah Valley referred to as the nation's Scam Capitol, which title is certainly deserved.

I admit that this is a thread jack, but seriously, why are we so money-driven here? It's almost a symbol of true sainthood, in some cases. If you've accumulated noticeable wealth, you can count on being called as a bishop, stake president, mission president, etc. Seriously, since arriving in Provo, I haven't met a bishop that's not filthy rich. Are they good men? Yeah. But I can't believe that the most wealthy are consistently the most righteous as well. I've yet to meet a truly middle class bishop in UV.

i've got an idea

why don't we start something similar to to booterwatch but called landlord watch (someone more clever than me will come up with something catchy). this way people can keep track of the worst offenders for this sort of thing, and we can fight back against some of this crap. right now, i am in carriage cove, and to tell the truth, the management has been pretty good. they stay out of our hair, only have cleaning checks once a semester, and were quick at repairing broken stuff. if it only wasn't so expensive and far from campus, i would probably stay.

so how about it? lets start making some lists of the worst complexes so we know where to avoid!

One more thing

As long as we are getting off the subject, I would like to thank Mason for adding the RSS feeds for UVSC's NetXNews team and for my other job at The Daily Herald...you can check them out on the right there. I might not always agree with Mason, but he runs a good site...something keeps us coming back.

It's good to hear that there

It's good to hear that there are some middle-class bishops in UV; I figured the extremely wealthy couldn't have a total monopoly on righteousness. In my personal experience, however, most of my stake and ward leaders in UV have had gigantic properties. My last bishop seriously owned an entire city block in Mapleton. Since I moved out of the ward, he's been called as a mission president.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think ProvoPulse is one of the few blogs on the internet that actually encourages threadjacking, and even facilitates it with the cascading-style of commenting.

It's the whole keep the commandments and ye shall prosper in the land thingy. Combine a bunch of people who equate wealth with righteousness, a relatively small economy with few conventional ways of making money, and a concentration of harmless-as-doves, overly-trusting Mormons, and you get Scam Captial, USA.

And my experience with LDS leadership has been the opposite. Mine have all been school teachers, presumably because they have the extra time. Oh, there was one who was a city councilman or something, but he also had 11 kids. In my current Orem college ward, the stake president is a BYU professor. I'm sure he does alright but I doubt he is rich by any means.

Landlordwatch?

Other than one summer at

Other than one summer at Moon Apartments, I've never had anything that I could call a good experience with a large apartment complex. However, I have had some good times at places where the units were privately-owned condos (Belmont and Brownstone). The catch is, because each unit has a different owner/manager, there's no way of knowing if you're getting a good one. While my landlord at Brownstone was a god among insects, my friends upstairs lived in a craphole and accepted the shaft from their landlord on a regular basis.

Just as an informational

Just as an informational note ... My last two bishops are both very middle class. And all of their councilors were too.

I've had some wealthier bishops too ... but none with three car garages, swimming pools, etc.

Great Idea

I think Bizmark's idea of a landlordwatch is amazing! How about it Mason?

By the way...If any of you UVSC kids are still living in BYU Housing I reccomend getting out ASAFP. There are plenty of great places in Orem and you will save money. Not only is rent typically cheaper but you will save on gas. BYU kids should live in Provo, UVSC kids should live in Orem and we should meet every Friday for rumbles and to flirt with each other's women at Movies 8.

Speaking of LandlordWatch...

I was wondering if there is a similar incentive for apartment complex managers as there is for booters. Do the managers get a cut of any fees they collect if someone fails their cleaning checks, or does the money go straight to the owners? Like Steez mentioned, the money they supposedly collect for "cleaning" is never used for actually hiring a cleaning crew to do the job. And it's hard for me to understand the degree of anal-retentiveness that is exhibited by these managers if the money goes straight from the tenants to The Man.

Any site that gives me the

Any site that gives me the chance to vent about Winter Haven's management is the site for me, for sure. Great idea.

n my current Orem college

n my current Orem college ward, the stake president is a BYU professor. I'm sure he does alright but I doubt he is rich by any means.

my bishop is a rich dentist with a huge house (with 'wings' and a water fountain in the front). i've lived in my ward for over a year and have been fairly active for the last 6 months. i've never met the guy. have never shaken his hand. have never made eye contact, or met him in person. i'm not the only one. i know several people in my ward who have been in the ward well over a year and have also never met him. i've served as an executive secretary for three different bishops. with each of those bishops, i'd meet them every sunday and we'd go over the ward list and identify those he's never spoken with or met recently. it's not a big deal for me. i could really care less about meeting him. however, i know that there are others in the ward that could greatly benefit from a loving bishop. when (if ever) i meet with him, i'm going to tell him that he is doing a lousy job.

project mayhem

I know of a certain couple

I know of a certain couple who owns some BYU approved housing. You would be appalled by some of their practices. In this complex that houses some 240 single students, I would guess (and this is conservative) that they collect somewhere around $40,000 per semester in extra fees alone. These include things like non-refundable application fees, carpet cleaning fees (and not surprisingly, the carpet cleaners come once per year, for four days, and charge the owners less than $2000), and payment fees. I am intimately familiar with the cost of managing the place. There is a regular manager and in-house managers. The in-house managers are not paid, they just get free rent. The regular manager is paid $2000 a month, no benefits whatsoever.

As for your question about managers getting fees, not at this place they don't. Sometimes they are collected somewhat vengefully, like when tenants are stupid and intentionally destroy the property, the actual damage might be $200 but the managers will be so pissed they'll find other things to fine them for and make it more like $350-$400. I can understand some of that.

These owners, of course, are temple-recommend carrying folks who have no problem allowing tenants who do not meet honor code standards to stay (hey, they pay their rent) and will turn a blind eye to it, while evicting someone who struggles to pay rent on time, even though this person might otherwise be a great tenant and example to other residents. Also, if there is some form of dispute about payments or debts owed to the complext, rather than work it out these owners will find the credit card number on file and just charge their card without authorization. My buddy (who works there) tells me that they have made comments to the effect of, "well this is not strictly legal, but students don't have the resources to fight a legal battle with us."

True story.

Hilarious. I guess the BYU

Hilarious.

I guess the BYU kids would be the Socs and the UVSC kids the Greasers?

Oops, there I go reenforcing stereotypes again ...

--

As far as Landlordwatch goes ... I think it's a WONDERFUL idea ... way better than Booterwatch, actually, just because of the fact that it would help SO many people by informing students of which complexes were fair and which ones weren't. That would give landlords an actual incentive to work at being fair to their tenants so that they didn't lose business. As it stands, the bad ones get away with murder because we don't have good information.

But I just don't have time to take on a project like that.

Anybody out there want to do us a community service and build the site?

You build it--We link to you! =)

Charming!

when (if ever) i meet with him, i'm going to tell him that he is doing a lousy job.

LOL, now you've done it. Someday when you're bishop, you're gonna get someone in your ward just. like. you.

if there is a ward where

if there is a ward where narrator is bishop, i'm going back to church! that's the kind of church i could actually get behind...