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FINANCIAL FAQ for Chapter Members and Parents
1. Who owns the Sigma Nu Boulder property?
2. Why is the compound managed by a property management company instead of the brothers and alumni?
3. Who controls the costs of rent, security deposits and the meal service?
5. What costs are brothers responsible for if they damage walls, furniture or other house property?
6. How are the costs of damages determined?
7. Why are brothers responsible for the cost of excessive clean up after a party?
8. If I have a question about my monthly statement, who should I contact?
9. Why is it critical to pay my son’s statement on the first of the month?
11. Why is there a surcharge added to damage repair/replacement costs?
12. How do I receive, read and pay my monthly statement?
13. Why do I make 12 monthly payments for room and board even if my son doesn’t live there during school breaks?
14. Why am I charged for meals when they aren’t served during the summer and school breaks?
15. Why does my son have to move out before the start of the new school year?
16. What is the move out date and period?
18. Where can my son store his personal items during the move-out period?
19. If one of my son’s roommates defaults on his rent and/or utility payments, who is responsible for paying the defaulting member’s rent and utilities?
20. Why doesn’t the lease designate a specific room for my son?
21. Why is there a 2-year live-in requirement?
22. Why is a new security deposit due each year?
23. What is normal wear and tear versus damage?
24. After paying the mortgage and all other house expenses, how much is left over and what is it used for?
25. Still have unanswered questions?
26. Gamma Kappa Operations Manual
Who owns the Sigma Nu Boulder property? TOP OF PAGE
The “owning entity” of the fraternity compound is the Gamma Kappa Sigma Nu Fraternity Association, a registered non-profit organization. The all-volunteer, unpaid Alumni Board of Directors is the “governing entity” of the property compound. The Board advises, oversees and legislates policy decisions regarding the Sigma Nu property compound. This includes but is not limited to establishing rents, hiring/directing the 3rd party property management company, and overseeing the financial management of the property.
Why is the compound managed by a property management company instead of the brothers and alumni? TOP OF PAGE
In a simpler time, the property was managed by alumni volunteers and chapter officers. Today, almost 75% of fraternities and sororities at CU are managed by property management firms. The prudent management of funds, payments, property maintenance, collections and compliance with rental laws requires the assistance of professional property management and bookkeeping. Both Sunnyside Property Management and the bookkeeper, Cory Robinson, are supervised directly by volunteer officers of the Alumni Board who are skilled in both accounting and property management.
Who controls the costs of rent, security deposits and the meal service? TOP OF PAGE
The Alumni Board sets these costs based on extensive input from local rental cost data/trends, the property management company and fees charged by other fraternities in Boulder. Rent is neither the highest nor lowest among Boulder fraternities. We strive to keep rent at a competitive rate while also providing amenities available only at more expensive properties (hot tub, TV/game room, study rooms, basketball and sand volleyball courts, on-site fully-equipped weight/exercise room, etc.). The security deposit is the same as most Boulder rental properties—1 mos. rent. Likewise, fraternity rent typically increases approximately 5% year over year, just as it does for most other rental properties on The Hill. Demand for housing on the Hill is extremely high due to its close walking distance to campus, restaurants and shopping.
What does rent pay for? TOP OF PAGE
Rent is the fraternity’s sole source of income. It is used to pay the fraternity’s ongoing financial obligations—mortgage, insurance, property management and maintenance/ renovations/upgrades, etc. The fraternity operates on a “break even” basis after paying these expenses.
What costs are brothers responsible for if they damage walls, furniture or other house property? TOP OF PAGE
The Gamma Kappa Sigma Nu Fraternity Association pays for ordinary maintenance, repairs and remodeling out of the general operating fund. Maintenance is extensive and done almost daily by the property management company’s maintenance team. Vandalism damages, such as breaking furniture or windows, is the financial responsibility of the brother(s)—just as it is for the renter of any other property. If no one steps forward and claims responsibility, charges for repairs or property replacement are shared equally among all brothers living on the property and shown as additional charges on your monthly statement. For questions about specific charges on your statement and how they are split up among fraternity members, please contact bookkeeper, Cory Robinson at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (303) 464-3903.
How are the costs of damages determined? TOP OF PAGE
An approved contractor is hired to ensure that repairs are done properly. Costs include materials, labor and the standard contractor 15% markup. If property such as broken furniture cannot be repaired, it’s replaced with property of like quality and value.
Why are brothers responsible for the cost of excessive clean up after a party? TOP OF PAGE
Broken glass on the lawn, tables covered in empty beverage cups, dismantled smoke alarms and couches blocking hallways are all viewed as fire, safety, health and environmental hazards by the Boulder Fire, Health and Police Departments. Penalties can include severe fines, chapter suspension and revoking our rental license. As such, it’s critical that brothers clean up immediately after parties. Otherwise, the property management company has no choice but to clean up the property themselves and pass the charges on to brothers and parents.
If I have a question about my monthly statement, who should I contact? TOP OF PAGE
Please email our bookeeper, Corey Robinson, at email@example.com
Why is it critical to pay my son’s statement on the first of the month? TOP OF PAGE
Your monthly payment is how the chapter pays its bills. When your payment is late, it directly affects our ability to meet our financial responsibilities. The fraternity does not have huge cash reserves to cover the bills when rent checks are overdue. We rely on brothers and parents to pay on time rather than charging higher rents to build up a big cash reserve to cover unpaid statements.
Why is there a surcharge added to damage repair/replacement costs? TOP OF PAGE
Due to an unusual amount of damage in recent years, an additional surcharge is added to repair and replacement costs to discourage property damage. Surcharges are put to good use and deposited into a fund for future property repairs and renovations.
How do I receive, read and pay my monthly statement? TOP OF PAGE
Will receive an email or push notification if you set it up notifying you when your statements are posted. Payment must be received by the first day of the month. Please mail or deliver checks, payable to “Sigma Nu” to: Sunnyside Property Management, 4890 River Bend Rd., Lower unit B, Boulder, CO 80301
Why do I make 12 monthly payments for room and board even if my son doesn’t live there during school breaks? TOP OF PAGE
We responded to what parents requested. Rather than being charged a higher amount for fewer months, they wanted to “even out” cash flow by having the room and board costs amortized equally and consistently over a 12-month period. This does cause somewhat of a cash flow challenge for the fraternity since expenses are higher in some months than others. Yet, the Alumni Board has set this as the standard payment policy in order to even out fraternity costs through the course of the year. In any case, the total annual cost is the same, whether room and board was billed over 9 months or 12.
Why am I charged for meals when they aren’t served during the summer and school breaks? TOP OF PAGE
Fraternity members pay for approximately 9 months of meals, which are amortized over 12 months. During the summer and school breaks, many fraternity members come and go, making it almost impossible to plan and prepare meals on a predictable and practical basis. Hence, no meals are served during those periods. 100% of meal plan charges are used to pay for food service expenses, which include chef and kitchen/dining room staff, food, cleaning and supplies.
When meals are served? TOP OF PAGE
Meals will be served throughout the year except for the following times:
Academic break periods (subject to CU schedule changes):
- Labor Day
- Thanksgiving Break
- Winter Break
- Spring Break
- Summer Break
Weekly meal schedule (served all other weeks during school year):
- Monday – Thursday (Grab and Go Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner)
- Friday (Brunch Only)
- Saturday (No Meals)
- Sunday (Sunday Night Dinner)
Why does my son have to move out before the start of the new school year? TOP OF PAGE
All rooms and common living areas in each house must be inspected for damages, painted, repaired and deep cleaned at the end of the lease so they are in excellent move-in condition at the start of the school year. In order to do this properly and efficiently, the property management company and its maintenance staff must have full, unencumbered access to 100% of building interiors. All personal items, including furniture, must be removed from individual rooms in order to clean carpets and repair any damages.
This also ensures that none of your son’s personal belongings are stolen during the move-out period. Vandalism on The Hill is an ongoing issue and the property management company must do everything in its power to prevent theft by outside parties during the move-out period.
There is one exception. If a fraternity brother is staying in the same room in the next school year, he does not have to remove personal items from his room.
What is the move out date and period? TOP OF PAGE
Move-out and move-in dates are provided in the lease agreement. Typically, the move-out date is the first of August and the move-in date is mid-August. During this period, all fraternity members must vacate the property and arrange alternative housing. Since virtually every room in the buildings changes fraternity members in the new school year, moving out is necessary in order to prepare each room for its new resident, including changing all door locks.
Where can my son store his personal items during the move-out period? TOP OF PAGE
Fraternity members must store their items off site so their rooms can be cleaned and a room inventory can be accurately recorded (e.g. furniture owned by the fraternity vs. the member). One common solution is for members to rent storage pods which can be delivered to the property. Check local storage companies for pod sizes and pricing. Generally speaking, pod rentals are economical and extremely convenient since items can be stored right on the property.
If one of my son’s roommates defaults on his rent and/or utility payments, who is responsible for paying the defaulting member’s rent and utilities? TOP OF PAGE
In Boulder, it is standard rental procedure that the total monthly rent for a house or apartment is the responsibility of all tenants living on the property. If one roommate defaults, the remaining tenants are still liable for the full monthly rent. That said, Sigma Nu makes a swift and concerted effort to collect rent from defaulting members or fill the room before scaling up rent for the remaining fraternity members living in the same Sigma Nu house on the compound.
First, the property management company makes every attempt to collect the rent funds directly from the defaulting tenant/guarantor. If this fails to resolve the situation, court proceedings are initiated. The defaulting member may also lose his security deposit to offset the loss of rent. Finally, the chapter will work to fill the room with a fraternity member who is living off the property. After all of these actions are taken, the last resort is to increase the rent of all remaining members living in the same fraternity building to cover the rent of the defaulting member. Any utility payments owed by the defaulting tenant are independent of rent and contracted directly by all tenants in each building. Therefore, if any tenant defaults on his utilities, the remaining tenants in the building must either obtain utility payments from the defaulting tenant or pay his share of the utilities.
Why doesn’t the lease designate a specific room for my son? TOP OF PAGE
Completion of the lease and security deposit secures a room “on the property” for your son. The active chapter itself assigns specific rooms to each member based on seniority and “participation points” earned through the year. The more leadership roles and activities (e.g. philanthropy events, study tables, etc.) a man participates in, the more points he earns. This encourages strong involvement in fraternity life and allows each man to be rewarded with a better room. The chapter assigns rooms near the end of the spring semester.
Why is there a 2-year live-in requirement? TOP OF PAGE
Most fraternities at CU have a 2-year live-on-property requirement. First, 2 years provides enough time for fraternity members to build lifelong relationships and experience the full benefits of living at Sigma Nu (e.g. learn leadership and life skills). Second, many fraternities who only require 1 year of living on property have closed their doors due to high turnover and unrented rooms. Fraternity members must live on property for 4 consecutive semesters or face suspension following a hearing where the fraternity member can plead his case before the entire chapter.
Why is a new security deposit due each year? TOP OF PAGE
Virtually all fraternity brothers change rooms each year (at their request for a better room, earned by their accumulated participation points). The security deposit is for the specific room that is rented for that year in order to assess any damages at move out and deduct the cost of end-of-lease repairs/cleaning from the current year’s security deposit. The same policy repeats for the second year at Sigma Nu, including a new security deposit for a new room.
What is normal wear and tear versus damage? TOP OF PAGE
Normal wear and tear includes deterioration of the premises that occurs during normal conditions. For example, paint may fade, electrical switches may wear out and break, pull strings on blinds my fray or break, carpet and tile may wear down. These things happen even if the tenant cleans regularly and cares for the premises reasonably. Damage, however, occurs from unreasonable use or accidents. Damage can include extreme build up of dirt, mold, etc., stains on carpets, and broken windows. Intentional alterations to the premises are considered damage. For example, the tenant cannot leave large holes in the walls from shelving or hanging pictures, and cannot repaint the walls to significantly change the color. If a tenant wants to make changes to the premises that will remain after the tenant moves out, the tenant should do so only with the landlord’s written permission.
Below are some examples of Normal Wear and Tear versus Damage:
Worn out keys
Loose or stubborn door lock
Loose hinges or handles on doors
Worn and dirty carpeting
Carpet seam unglued
Scuffed up wood floors
Linoleum worn thin
Stain on ceiling from rain or bad plumbing
Plaster cracks from settling
Faded, chipped or cracked paint
Balky drapery rod
Faded curtains and drapes
Heat blistered blinds
Dirty window or door screens
Loose or inoperable faucet handle
Toilet runs or wobbles
Lost or un-returned keys
Broken or missing locks
Damage to a door from forced entry
Torn, stained or burned carpeting
Rust or oil stains on carpet
Badly scratched or gouged floors
Linoleum with tears or holes
Burns and cuts in countertop
Stain on ceiling from overflowed toilet
Holes in walls from carelessness
Unapproved (bad) tenant paint job
Broken drapery rod
Torn or missing curtains and drapes
Blinds with bent slats
Torn or missing screens
Broken or missing faucet handle
Broken toilet seat or tank top
After paying the mortgage and all other house expenses, how much is left over and what is it used for? TOP OF PAGE
Unlike a traditional landlord-tenant relationship, the Gamma Kappa House Corporation is not a profit-making operation. The goal is to break even after paying ongoing expenses such as the mortgage, utilities, food, repairs for normal property wear and tear, and maintenance. On average, modest or no income is left at the end of the year. If a small amount of funds is available after paying expenses, it is re-invested in vital renovations to our aging buildings and paying down the mortgage.
Still have unanswered questions? TOP OF PAGE
Feel free to Contact Us regarding any questions you may have. We’ll be sure to get back to you promptly with an answer to your question!
1. Is it necessary for me to register for rush?
YES; IFC mandates that all Potential New Members (PNMs) register for rush in order to qualify to receive a bid from any Colorado IFC Fraternity. To register for rush just visit the Colorado IFC Website.
2. How do I know when all the rush events are going to occur?
A detailed schedule of all rush events can be found through the Colorado IFC, or our Events Calendar.
3. How will I know if I’ve been invited to Preference Night?
Shortly following Open House #2, our Preference Night Invitations will be delivered. Preference Night’s attendance is by INVITATION ONLY. There are well over 500 registered PNMs, so please understand our inability to extend invitations to everyone.
4. If I don’t get invited to Preference Night OR don’t get a bid can I still rush again next semester?
Yes. Just because you may not have recieved a Pref Night invite or a bid this semester doesn’t mean you can’t get one next! Just be sure to register again for rush for the following semester when it becomes available (WARNING: be cautious as to not register for the wrong rush semester).
5. Still have unanswered questions?
Feel free to Contact Us regarding any questions you may have. We’ll be sure to get back to you promptly with an answer to your question!
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