Skip to main content

Family Housing Handbook

Download a print version here. [PDF]

General Considerations

Welcome to West Arbor Apartments. We hope you will find living here a pleasant experience that will contribute to reaching your educational objectives. This information is presented to answer many of your questions in an effort to help you feel “at home”. (This information is further supplemented by “Contract Conditions” for your protection and the Landlord’s rights and privileges.)

West Arbor Apartments consists of five apartment buildings built in 1969, and two buildings built in 1991. The projects operated by Spring Arbor University as a service to students, faculty and staff.

The objective of these apartments is to offer an affordable living situation that complements the learning process. Since this housing is considered temporary for employees, the University reserves the option to limit the time employees may be tenants at the apartments.

The Family Housing Handbook is primarily designed for those living in the West Arbor Apartments, but the information is relevant to all Tenants of any University-owned housing. The rules, terms and conditions of this Handbook are incorporated in the lease, by reference.

Resident Activities

Fellowship with neighbors in the apartments will assume various forms. Informal visiting with neighbors can be a rewarding experience for all concerned. Residents are also encouraged to develop small prayer and study groups and to arrange occasional meetings on specific areas of interest.

The two newer buildings, G & H, house our community rooms. These rooms are equipped with tables and chairs and are available on a first-come, first-served reservation basis. Reservation arrangements may be made through the Apartment Rental Manager.

Personal Conduct

Spring Arbor University is a community of learners. While enrolled at the University, we expect commitment to Christian conduct, to social justice, and to a consistent Christ-like witness in the world. Our moral customs have been developed to encourage Christian conduct and consistent witness, but have not been set forth as absolutes or as an index of Christian Spirituality. The use of crude, vulgar, offensive language is unacceptable in this community. No smoking and/or use or possession of alcohol or tobacco products is permitted in the apartments or on the premises. Spring Arbor University discourages involvement in any activity of immoral or degrading nature.

In accord with the Federal Drug-Free Workplace act of 1988, 24CFR Part 85, Subpart F and the Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act Amendments of 1989 (Public Law 100-226), Spring Arbor University has certified that it will maintain a drug-free workplace. Accordingly, Spring Arbor University prohibits the unlawful manufacture, distribution, dispensing, possession or use of a controlled substance in or on its facilities or property. Violation of this policy will result in University Administrative action up to and including termination of enrollment, employment, housing occupancy, financial aid, and all other campus privileges.

Eligibility for Occupancy

Tax considerations require residents to be enrolled students or contracted University employees. President’s Cabinet action has defined academic load for student membership housing eligibility as follows:

The occupant must be carrying enough hours to total 26 semester hours or more during three consecutive semesters plus the intervening summer session. Any time it is determined that a normal full-time load for the remainder of this period cannot meet this requirement, the apartment occupant may be required to move, and the lease will be considered terminated.

When apartment vacancies occur and there are not full-time students in demand, it shall be possible for students to rent an apartment while carrying as little as three hours of academic credit. These students must have previously carried a full time load. Their lease will be considered terminated and these students may be required to move at the end of any semester, unless they are proceeding toward their University degree at/or better than the above mentioned rate.

University Apartments or Houses: Only student or employee families may occupy these on a monthly rental basis. (The University may choose to house single students in this housing at regular dormitory charges per student, as needed.)

Exception: When an apartment is not specifically committed to a family within 10 days prior to the semester starting date, and it does not appear it will be needed for single student housing, it may be rented on a monthly basis for the year to single students who are 22 years of age or older during the semester in which they move in.

Employee Family Housing Guidelines

Employee housing in the University Apartments shall be of a temporary nature while giving opportunity for some of our new employees to become acquainted with the Spring Arbor University community housing market alternatives and other needs. To the extent that housing is available, with priority first granted to married students, employees may be housed only as follows:

  1. Normally, housing requests will be honored in the order in which the Apartment Rental Manager receives them.
  2. Housing assignment decisions shall also consider the family size and the size of available apartments (i.e., normally a couple without children will not be provided a three-bedroom apartment, nor will a one-bedroom apartment be assigned to a family with children).
  3. Employee apartment occupancy shall normally be limited to a total of 24 months or the end of the semester during which the 24 month limit occurs. Should this date be during the first semester and there not be an apartment need for someone else for the second semester, the first party may occupy until the end of the university year.
  4. Persons employed at the University who have been residents of the Spring Arbor/Jackson area for two or more of the last five years prior to the date of desired occupancy, whether employed by the University during those years, will be considered as acquainted with the area, and therefore, not eligible for University Housing except where there may be vacant housing for which there are no other higher priority requests.
  5. When a family requesting housing includes both a full-time student and an employee, eligibility determination shall be based upon the student’s status.
  6. A legitimate exception to this housing policy may be considered for employees designated by the administration as building resident director, caretaker, or for some other project-related responsibility.
  7. A family housing committee shall be established, composed of three persons as follows: Vice President for Finance and Administration as Chairman, Vice President for Student Development and Learning and the Apartment Rental Manager. Committee responsibilities shall be:
    • Serve as resources for developing policy revisions, additions and deletions.
    • Serve as an appeal committee for the following:
      • Housing applicants with complaints about placement decisions they believe were made contrary to policy or did not adequately consider special circumstances.
      • Housing occupants requested to move under the occupancy rules of this handbook, who believe there are special circumstances not adequately considered for permitting a longer stay.
      • Any other housing-related decisions for implementing the terms and conditions of residence for family housing.
      • The appeal committee does not consider appeals regarding termination of tenancy notices involving breaches of a lease.
      • University-owned houses in the community will normally be rented to University employees with a primary consideration in determining who will be able to rent being a University-related responsibility for which the location is especially significant. Such occupancy will be subject to review with the possibility of a required move whenever the special responsibility is no longer assumed, or when the University declares a need for the space. In such cases, a 30-day notice will be given

Management of the Apartments

Management, maintenance and financial considerations are handled by the Rental Manager in conjunction with the Physical Plant located on campus. The office may be reached by calling _________________. The resident caretaker will be available in one of the apartments to be designated at the start of the University year and will care for normal maintenance needs. He/she will be employed on a part-time basis and will be assisted by other workers as needed.

Courtesy to Neighbors

Through a cooperative effort, we attempt to create a pleasant and reasonably quiet environment for living and studying. You can assist by keeping radio and television volumes low and respecting the privacy of others. Children need to make noise, but please respect the neighbors. Children are not to play in the hallways, and should be dressed appropriately when in public areas.

Hallways, laundry rooms and all other community areas are to be kept free from personal items, books, toys, etc. Bikes and other wheeled goods are to be left outside of the building and off the sidewalks where they might hinder entry to or exit from the building in case of a fire or emergency.

Building Security and Maintenance

Responsibility for Apartment Condition

The physical plant department will service apartments before occupancy. Upon signing the lease, you will receive an inventory checklist to complete, noting the condition of the premises.

If you do not return the checklist within seven days to the rental manager, the premises will be presumed to be in satisfactory condition. A similar form will also be completed upon your vacating the premises to determine what is abnormal wear and tear, damage or uncleanness for which you will be expected to pay.


Spring Arbor University is not responsible for the loss of personal articles in the building or elsewhere. Institutional insurance does not cover the property of students or employees. We urge you to keep your apartment locked and maintain adequate insurance coverage. Also, keep your automobile locked to prevent theft of stereos or other items of value left in your car. While it is not required, we do recommend tenants obtain rental insurance in case of personal loss.

Building Maintenance

Please leave a short note, describing your need, at the place indicated in each building entrance. These will be picked up regularly by the caretaker and acted upon as quickly as possible. Phone the caretaker or other personnel only in event of emergency. When the University maintenance department provides service for items for which the tenants or their guests are responsible, the tenant shall be expected to pay the University for the reasonable cost of such service.

Housing Access During Occupant’s Absence

From time to time the caretaker or other University employees receive requests for access to specific apartments when the occupants are not present. There are degrees of risk in granting these requests. There may be significant inconvenience in not doing so. The most likely instances are for telephone service, University maintenance work request and relative or guests.

It will be our policy to not grant such request unless we have approval, in writing, from apartment occupants for doing so. (Exceptions could be only in apparent emergency circumstances.) Time and availability of University employees is limited; and, for the sake of all concerned, occupants will be expected to make service arrangements for times when they will be present. Occasional circumstances may not permit this, in which case alternatives will be:

  1. You may give the project caretaker standing written permission to grant admission requests.
  2. For any special need anticipated, leave information, in writing, with the caretaker as to who you are authorizing for admission and when.

If you desire to follow Procedure 1 above, get your request to your Rental Manager immediately.

Care of the Building and Garbage

Garbage service dumpsters are provided in the building area for disposing garbage and trash items. DO NOT put furniture, mattresses, etc., here. The removal service will not handle these items.

Each occupant should do his part to keep community areas clean and attractive. PLEASE KEEP ALL PERSONAL ARTICLES OUT OF LAUNDRY ROOMS, HALLWAYS AND ENTRY AREAS.

Painting Walls

As stated within the Spring Arbor University Residential Lease Agreement, painting on walls is not permitted.

Carpeting and Wall Colors

All apartment walls are painted an off-white color. Carpet colors in most apartments are a variation of neutral colors. Kitchens and baths have either vinyl or ceramic tile on the floors.

Care of Carpet

Carpets are normally shampooed at the change of tenants or at two-year intervals. Care of carpet during the interim is the responsibility of the tenant. With ordinary precaution and regular vacuuming, this should involve only light shampooing of high traffic areas by the apartment occupants.

Picture Hanging

Use only small nail-attached hangers that can be removed with minimal wall damage or Command Strips and hooks. Normally not more than two or three pictures should be hung on a wall. Excessive paint/wall damage requiring repainting will be charged to the occupant.

No Waterbeds

Considering the weight and risk of property damage from leakage, waterbeds are not allowed in University housing.

Emergency Phone Numbers

Fire Department: Dial 911, and then call Director of Physical Plant, Larry Ousley at 517.204.2201.
Police: Emergency Dial 911
Spring Arbor Police: 517.750.2800
County Sheriff: 517.788.4200
State Police: 517.780.4580

Emergency Maintenance: Contact Building Manager first. If there is no answer, contact Larry Ousley at the number above.

Utility Services

Electric service is through Consumers Energy. Electricity will be billed directly to tenants. The Rental Manager will make the change to your name when you occupy the apartment and remove your name when you vacate the apartment. Heat and water are included in your rent, but we ask your cooperation in avoiding waste. Your air conditioner is connected to your apartment’s electrical system and operates through the warm air ducts. Air conditioning charges will be reflected on electricity bills.


Please have your mail address to your apartment rather than the University:

Your Name
_________ Parks Drive, Apt. ________
Spring Arbor, MI 49283

Each family will be given a specific apartment address when assigned. Each apartment has its own mailbox in the building entrance.

Admission to University Events

Married students enrolled on a full-time basis are entitled to free admission for their immediate family members to most University athletic and cultural events. They are urged to avail themselves of this privilege for additional participation in the life of the University for their own well-being, as well as that of the University family.


A storage bin (approximately 4’ x 4’ x 6’) is available in the basements of buildings A-E. You will need to provide your own lock. Buildings G & H have an area approximately 6’ x 10’ x 12½’ with a door and lock; your apartment key will fit your storage room. Flammable materials such as gasoline, paint, batteries, old tires, etc. may not be stored in the building.

Laundry Service

Coin operated washers and dryers are located in the basement of each West Arbor Apartment building. Each user is responsible to leave equipment clean for the use of others who follow. Directions for proper use are posted. A special concern is that at no time are rugs to be laundered in this equipment, as the excessive lint and dirt can cause serious service problems. The use of a washer and dryer within your apartment is not permitted. The University is not responsible for loss or damage to laundered items.

Keys and Locks

You are issued two door keys and a mail box key. Additional keys may be available to you upon request. If a key is lost, it is necessary to change the lock to maintain a secure system. A charge of $80 is levied for this service. Keys will be obtained from the rental manager when the first rental payment has been made, and are to be returned upon vacating the apartment. If all keys are not returned upon vacating the apartment, the lock will have to be changed and the tenant will be assessed the $80 charge, plus $20 per key.

Alterations or replacement of locks or installation of bolts, door knockers, peepholes or other attachments on the interior or exterior of any door must be installed by maintenance only, with prior approval of the Director of Physical Plant.

Financial Considerations

Lease Deposit and Rental Payment

A lease deposit equal to one month’s rent is required at the time the lease agreement is signed. Rent is due and payable on the first day of the month for one month in advance at the University Business Office. This can be sent via the U.S. mail at your own risk. If the first day of the month falls on Saturday or Sunday, the rent is due the following Monday. A fee of $20 will be added to rent paid after the fifth of the month. The amount of the first rental payment shall be for the remainder of the month in which the apartment is occupied. Thus, if moving in on the 20th of the month during a 30 day month, the renter would pay for the last ten days of the month at that time. Residents who are employees at the University will pay their rent through payroll deduction.

Monthly rental rates begin on June 1st of each year, are reviewed annually, and include heat, water and sewer, and garbage services. Electricity, cable TV or long distance telephone charges are not included. The West Arbor Apartments also receive local telephone service (upon request) and internet connection as part of the rent.

Any delinquent rent payment may be considered sufficient reason to ask tenant to vacate their apartment unit for non-payment of rent.


The costs of repairing damage to institutional property, whether occurring through accident or negligence, must be assumed by the tenant renting the damaged facility. The tenant shall be responsible for any and all damages caused to institutional property by their guests, visitors, invitees or family members.

Vacating Premises

Thirty (30) days’ notice in writing, prior to the termination date of the lease, is required prior to vacating. When your apartment is completely vacated at the end of your stay, it will be inspected. All or part of the deposit may be kept if damage other than normal wear has occurred, or if the apartment is not left clean. If damage is excessive, you may be subject to an additional assessment beyond the deposit amount. It is expected that residents shall have made timely payment for all utility services received; otherwise, the security deposit may be used to pay any outstanding utility charges.



Traverse drapery rods or mini blinds are furnished for all windows, and draperies are furnished for large living room window. If so desired, the renters will provide draperies for bedroom windows. Window locations are noted on the floor plan drawings. Any draperies tenant puts up must be removed upon vacating the premises. If draperies are not removed, they become property of the Landlord.


No cats, dogs, rabbits, snakes, rats or large animals may be kept in any Spring Arbor University apartment, whether owned by tenant(s) or someone else. Only animals that can be contained in a tank or case at all times, such as fish, hamsters or birds, are permissible.


Please drive with caution remembering that small children play in the area. The following are prohibited: (a) Parking in yellow curb areas or roadways, (b) driving on the sidewalk, over curbs, or on the grass; and, (c) vehicles that are non-operable. Trailers may be permitted if space allows. Please contact the physical plant department to inquire about space availability.

Agents or Solicitors

Agents or solicitors are not permitted in the buildings. Report any infringement to the building manager. Tenants may advertise sales or services via the bulletin board in each apartment building.

Contract Conditions

  1. The rules and regulations are for the protection of the rights and privileges of the tenant, and the protection of the Landlord’s property, as well as to aid the tenant in the full enjoyment of occupancy of these premises. The tenant and members of his/her household, guest and employees shall comply with all laws and city ordinances, rules and regulations now or hereafter adopted by the Landlord for the safety, comfort and welfare of the occupants.
  2. The playing of any musical instrument, or the making of any loud noise is prohibited in the building before 8 a.m. or after 11:30 p.m. on weekdays, and before 9 a.m. or after 11:30 p.m. on Saturday, Sundays or holidays.
  3. The tenant shall not perform any acts or carry on any practice that may injure the building, or be a nuisance or menace to other tenants in the building. The tenant shall lock the apartment door when leaving the building. In addition, tenants shall not throw sweepings, rags, rubbish, etc., into toilets, bathtubs or sinks, or any other place not provided for this use. Waste matter and trash shall be placed into a rubbish container.
  4. Tenants will be responsible for unclogging the waste traps in their apartments.
  5. The entrance, passages, stairways and exits shall not be obstructed by the tenants, guests, invitees, visitors or family members of the tenant for any other purpose than ingress to or egress from the premises hereby leased. No furniture or bulky articles shall be carried up or down the stairways of buildings except only at such times and under such regulations as may be prescribed by the Landlord. All damages to the building caused by such moving shall be repaired by the Landlord at Tenants Expense.
  6. The tenant shall not carry on any business whatsoever in the building, nor inscribe or affix any signs, advertisement or notice on any part of the outside or inside of the building or leased premises, except with the written consent of the Landlord.
  7. The tenant shall keep the leased premises and fixtures in a clean and sanitary condition at all times.
  8. The tenant shall not sell or give accommodations in the premises to any boarders, lodgers or roomers.
  9. The tenant shall reimburse the Landlord for any damage to the premises or equipment during his/her tenancy, except damages from causes beyond his/her control, and shall pay on demand the amount of such damage, which is hereby designated as additional rent. The Landlord shall be entitled to all of the remedies provided in the lease, for nonpayment of rent, in event the tenant fails to pay such damages.
  10. No part of the rent shall be payable in repairs or alterations of any description. All repairs or alterations shall immediately become the property of the Landlord.
  11. The tenant will be held strictly responsible for any loss or damage to other dwellings resulting from overflow from water – closets, sinks, bathtubs or basins in his premises. The water shall not be left running for an unreasonable or unnecessary length of time.
  12. The tenant must immediately report any accident or injury to water pipes, toilets, drains or fixtures, electric wires or fixtures, or other property of the Landlord, and all breakage, damage, or loss of any kind to the management. Tenant shall not interfere with any part of the heating, lighting, refrigeration, or cooling apparatus in or about the leased premises or apartment building. Tenant shall maintain a temperature of at least 55 degrees in the premises at all times.
  13. Because disease can spread quickly in apartment housing with central heating and air conditioning, the tenant should immediately report any case of infections or contagious disease occurring in the premises to the management and to the appropriate health authority.
  14. The tenant shall neither use nor keep flammable materials on the premises or in storage rooms, nor use any method of heating other than that supplied by the Landlord.
  15. The tenant shall not abuse the hot water supply.
  16. The tenant shall not make any repairs or alterations to the leased premises, or to equipment therein, without the written consent of the Landlord or his agents, nor shall any of the following work be done without the written consent of the Landlord or his agents, and then only under his/her supervision:
  17. Install any additional locks, picture hooks, fixtures;
  18. No tacks, nails or other fasteners, or cement shall be used in laying carpets, rugs or linoleum on the floor;
  19. No nails, bolts or screws shall be placed on the walls, doors or trim;
  20. No extra electrical wiring shall be done in the premises;
  21. No shades, awnings or window guards shall be used except that which is put up by the Landlord;
  22. No radio or television aerial or connections shall be installed by the tenant outside of the leased premises without the written consent of the Landlord or his/her agent; and
  23. No window boxes, flowerpots or other containers shall be affixed to outside walls without the written consent of the Landlord or his/her agent.
  24. The Landlord or his representatives shall have the right to enter the tenant’s premises during all reasonable hours to examine the same or to make such repairs, additions or alterations as may be deemed necessary for the preservation of the building or to exhibit the said premises; or for the purpose of removing placards, signs, fixtures, alterations or additions in the premises which are in violation of the tenant’s lease or of these conditions of occupancy.
  25. The Landlord in all cases shall retain the right to control and prevent access to the building and grounds of all persons considered undesirable.
  26. The Landlord shall have the right, without further notice, to sell or otherwise dispose of any personal property left on the premises by the tenant after the tenant vacates the premises; as such property will be considered abandoned by the tenant.
  27. All personal property placed in the premises shall be at the risk of the tenant or owner of such personal property and the Landlord will not be responsible for any damage to any such personal property from any cause.
  28. The Landlord will not be responsible for articles left with any employee.
  29. Any notice required by law or otherwise will be sufficient if delivered to the tenant personally, sent by mail to the premises, or affixed to the door of the tenant’s dwelling unit. Notices to the Landlord must be in writing and delivered to or sent by mail to the rental manager.
  30. Laundry work shall be done only in the laundry room. From time to time, the Landlord shall post such rules and regulations in the laundry room as he/she shall deem necessary.
  31. All tenants, regardless of age, residency or status are required to abstain from cohabitation, inappropriate behavior, and involvement in pre-martial or extra martial sexual activity. Cohabitation is defined as being unsupervised with an unrelated member of the opposite sex at inappropriate times in the apartment. The inappropriateness of the time shall be determined by the Landlord.


This handbook may be amended or modified at any time, by the Landlord, without prior notice to tenants. Any amendment or modification shall immediately become effective. If said handbook is amended or modified, tenants will be provided with a copy of the amended or modified section through placing such notice in the mailbox or posting it on the bulletin board located in the apartment building.