V.A. BSC Habitability Code
The purpose of the BSC Habitability Policy is to create systems and procedures designed to ensure that each BSC unit meets reasonable habitability standards prior to the beginning of each contract term and that all units consistently maintain such standards throughout the contract period.
V.A.II. RESPONSIBILITIES FOR HABITABILITY
1. As a cooperative housing organization, all stakeholders of the BSC must share responsibility for ensuring that habitability guidelines are met, as follows:
- a. Central-level staff are responsible for developing and regularly updating habitability standards that comply with city and state ordinances related to housing, fire, and food service safety and for properly educating members and house-level managers on such standards. Additionally, staff will be responsible for ensuring that items units are unable or unwilling to correct are addressed in order to ensure the health and safety of BSC members, protect the sustainability of BSC assets, and ensure compliance with city/state ordinances and contractual agreements.
- b. House-level managers are expected to regularly conduct self-inspections of their units to ensure that potential habitability issues are identified and promptly corrected. Additionally, house-level managers are expected to promptly respond to member concerns/complaints about habitability and inspection reports and coordinate with the house membership and central-level to ensure that all habitability issues are corrected.
- c. Members are responsible for satisfactorily completing all workshift assigned to them, monitoring for and promptly reporting habitability problems, and working with fellow house members and managers to correct items they are able to address on their own.
V.A.III. HABITABILITY EDUCATION
1. All BSC members shall be educated on habitability standards and policies/procedures in conjunction with central and house-level New Member Orientations and at the beginning of each term, prior to the commencement of inspections.
2. All major house-level managers shall be educated on habitability standards and policies/procedures during manager training and will receive on-going education as needed throughout each term.
V.A.IV HABITABILITY INSPECTIONS
1. Each term (Fall, Spring, and Summer) the Operations Assistant shall carry out up to three rounds of habitability inspections at all BSC units (except Rochdale & Fenwick). These inspections shall include all common areas and the surrounding grounds of each unit. Each unit’s assigned Senior Maintenance Crew member shall accompany the Operations Assistant on an inspection at least once per semester to advise on maintenance-related issues.
2. Habitability inspections shall be conducted on a randomized basis, without prior warning given to unit residents, in order to ensure that units are continuously habitable throughout the contract term. However, formal inspections shall not be conducted during the first two weeks of the contract period or during the finals week of UC Berkeley for the fall and spring semesters. Additional inspections may also be conducted in the days following a party and in response to complaints received from members, neighbors, outside entities, etc., at any time.
3. Habitability inspections shall be carried out in accordance with guidelines established by the Operations Assistant and Operations Manager at the beginning of each contract period. These guidelines shall be shared with all house-level managers and house members at the beginning of each term to ensure that all members are aware of the current standards, common habitability issues, examples of grades associated with various conditions, and violations that will lead to automatic failure during inspections. Residents may bring any habitability grading rubric-related grievances or habitability fine appeals to IACom, where relevant changes to the grading rubric to implement in the following semester and appeals will be considered for approval by the end of each semester. IACom will have final decision-making authority on all changes to the habitability grading rubric.
4. Process for Appeals:
- a. Appeals may be granted under the following conditions:
- • After a preliminary discussion has been had with the operations team, and
- • In scenarios where the evidence collected during the inspection is reasonably proven to have been inadequately applied to the standards of the rubric.
- b. When considering appeals, IACom shall proceed as follows:
- 1. Review the grading rubric and the full habitability report in question.
- 2. Opening statements from a unit-level manager bringing the appeal and an operations staff member.
- 3. IACom shall set time limits for opening statements, between 1 and 6 minutes; each speaker shall be allotted the same amount of time to speak.
- 4. The body shall then pose questions to the parties of the appeal. Unless consideration is extended by a simple two-thirds (2/3) vote, consideration shall be limited to fifteen (15) minutes total.
- 5. All parties to the appeal shall be allowed to make a two minute statement prior to the discussion on the appeal. The operations staff member making closing statements may be different than the staff member who made the opening statement.
- 6. The body will then deliberate the appeal. Only IACom will be allowed to remain in the room; all other parties must leave. An exception may be made only with an absolute two thirds (2/3) majority vote of IACom.
- c. In the event IACom cannot be convened in a reasonable timeframe, appeals may be heard from Cabinet or the current governing committee.
V.A.V.INSPECTION RESULTS AND FOLLOW-UP
1. Following each inspection the Operations Assistant will issue a report within 3 business days of the inspection providing a habitability grade for each unit, outlining the corrections that must be made, and a providing a required timeline for completing those corrections. This report will be sent to all members of the unit and posted in common space. The report will also specify a date for re-inspection, if applicable.
2. All members of any unit receiving a failing grade on non post party habitability inspections shall be fined the monetary equivalent of two workshift hours. Members with financial need may attempt to make up this fine by completing paid workshift (following the regular paid workshift procedure). Workshift Managers shall be responsible for finding paid workshift opportunities for members with disabilities who wish to make up this fine, upon request.
3. Any unit who receives a failing grade on a post party habitability inspection will be prohibited from hosting an out of house party for one month.
4. Units shall be responsible for ensuring that required items are corrected within the timeframe provided in the habitability inspection report. Re-inspections shall be conducted to ensure that such items have been corrected.
5. Should a unit fail to correct the required items, the BSC shall hire on-call BSC workers and/or professional crews to correct the issues at the expense of the house. Such expenses shall come from the unit’s Habitability Account
V.A.VI. HABITABILITY INCENTIVE PROGRAM
1. Each Fall and Spring semester the Operations Assistant shall select four units to receive the following habitability awards (based on inspection report grades/results). One of each type of award shall be given to a small house (with less than 45 members) and one of each type given to larger houses (with 45 or more members).
- a. Most Improved
- b. Best Overall
2. Each unit who has shown improvement and whose receiving a habitability award overall average grade is a B or higher shall receive the monetary equivalent of one workshift hour, per member, deposited transferred from their habitability account (pending availability) into their House Account, to use at the discretion of house council.
3. On an on-going basis the Operations Assistant shall also recognize units for their intentional, sustained work toward improving and maintaining the habitability of their unit. Habitability inspection report grades/results, and house specific habitability goals will be used to determine rewards.
4. Rewards will consist of monetary contributions toward a specific unit level habitability project. The project will be determined by the Operations Assistant, and the unit level workshift manager.
5. The Operations Assistant will work within the budget approved by the Board of Directors when determining the amount to be contributed toward each project.
6. Rochdale & Fenwick are not eligible to receive awards through the habitability incentive program.
V.A.VII. HABITABILITY AND UNIT IMPROVEMENT PROJECTS AND CORRECTIONS
1. The BSC shall perform habitability-related and unit improvement projects and corrections on a regular basis in order to ensure that each unit maintains a baseline level of habitability and to prevent the gradual degradation of the units.
2. Based on the conditions observed during habitability inspections, the Operations Assistant shall develop recommendations for habitability-related and unit improvement projects. Examples of such projects include, but shall not be limited to deep cleanings, capital improvement projects, landscaping projects, etc. that are not feasible or practical for units to complete themselves.
3. Unit-level managers, in conjunction with their unit councils, may also submit recommendations for projects to the Operations Team on a regular basis.
4. The Operations Team shall review all recommendations and requests and approve a list of projects to be completed and work with central-level staff, unit-level managers, the Operations Crew and/or professionals to complete said projects.
5. Funding for projects shall come from units Habitability Accounts, with any excess coming from House Accounts, or other house-level accounts as appropriate, (e.g. Decentralized Maintenance, HAPs, Furniture, etc.).
V.A.VIII. ROCHDALE & FENWICK HABITABILITY POLICIES
1. The above habitability policies will apply to both houses and apartments, with the exceptions of V.A.IV, V.A.V, and V.A.VI, which apply to the houses only.
2. Apartment Habitability Inspections
- a. Each term (Fall, Spring, and Summer) the Operations Assistant shall inspect all the common areas (e.g. common rooms, outside grounds, laundry rooms, etc) of each apartment complex.
- b. Following each inspection the Operations Assistant will issue a report within 3 business days of the inspection providing a habitability grade, outlining the corrections that must be made, and a providing a required timeline for completing those corrections. This report will be sent to all members of the building and posted in common space of that building. The report will also specify a date for re-inspection, if applicable.
- c. Penalties will be assessed for items identified as needing correction prior to the re-inspection. Members (either individual or all members within a geographic area) responsible for maintaining habitability of the area in which the correction is needed will owe one additional hour of workshift for the term. This hour may be completed by correcting the habitability violation.
- d. Units shall be responsible for ensuring that required items are corrected within the timeframe provided in the habitability inspection report. Re-inspections shall be conducted to ensure that such items have been corrected.
- e. Should a unit fail to correct the required items, the BSC shall hire on-call BSC workers and/or professional crews to correct the issues at the expense of the unit. Such expenses shall come from the unit’s Habitability Account
V.A.IX. OPERATIONS CREW
1. A permanent crew of four members per term will be hired to assist the Operations Team with maintaining and improving the condition of our units and central office. Specifically by assisting with responsibilities outlined in V.A.V.4, V.A.VII and V.A.VIII.2.d above, preparing units for seismic retrofit and capital improvement projects, and deep cleaning and upkeep of the central office.
2. Operations Crew members will be hired and managed by the Operations Assistant.
3. The Operations Assistant is responsible for ensuring crew members receive proper training to successfully complete their job duties.
4. All supplies and equipment needed for crew members to successfully complete assigned tasks will be managed and provided by the Operations Assistant.