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VI. Policies Concerning College Housing

Vassar College has long considered the residential nature of the campus to be an integral part of its educational program, and encourages members of the faculty and educational administration to reside on or near the campus so as to foster interactions with students beyond the formal classroom setting and to facilitate participation in campus activities. To support this tradition, and also to enhance the ability of the college to recruit and retain able faculty and administrative personnel, the college has made available a number of rental units as well as the opportunity for purchase or construction of houses on land leased from the college.

While final authority in all matters pertaining to college housing rests with the Board of Trustees, the Governance provides that the Faculty Policy and Conference Committee (see By-Laws of the Faculty, II, 4) shall be responsible for considering general questions of housing policy and that the Committee on Housing (see By-Laws of the Faculty, II, 18) shall be responsible for the application of established policy to particular cases. The Committee on Housing also serves as the body to which administrative rulings concerning housing may be appealed.

To promote equitable access to college housing resources, and to ensure that these resources best serve the purposes for which they are intended, the policies described in this document shall be rigorously observed by all parties. The enforcement of all provisions and regulations described in this document shall be the responsibility of the appropriate administrative offices, as named hereafter, in consultation with the Committee on Housing.

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A. General Policies

  1. Eligible persons may apply for rental and purchased units as they become available. The selection of rental and purchased housing units by eligible persons is to be based on seniority. Seniority is determined by the date of the contract with Vassar College (or, in the absence of a contract, by the date of the letter of appointment) that began an eligible person’s current term of continuous service at Vassar. In cases of identical contract (or appointment) dates, seniority shall be determined by lot. Eligible persons who have had prior service at the college with housing eligibility shall have those prior years of eligibility credited to their seniority. If circumstances arise in which an eligible person is displaced from their rental unit due to the unit becoming unavailable, that person shall be given highest seniority in the rental unit selection process.  If more than one individual is displaced, housing seniority among those individuals will be governed by the preceding seniority rules. In these cases, the affected individuals should be given as much advance notice as possible. 

  2. No person, family, domestic partnership, or joint-lessee arrangement may hold more than one housing unit (rental and/or purchased) at any time, even when more than one member of a family, domestic partnership or joint-lessee arrangement is eligible for college housing. An eligible person who holds a housing unit (rental or purchased) may express interest in another housing unit (rental or purchased); acceptance of a rental unit or a successful bid on a purchased unit carries with it the concurrent commitment to relinquish the currently held unit.
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B. Eligibility for College Housing

Those eligible for rental or purchase of college housing or for the leasing of housing sites on college land are:

  • Full-time members of the teaching faculty with continuing positions.
  • Professional Librarians
  • Administrative officers subject to trustee appointment and such other administrative officers as may be held eligible by the trustees on the recommendation of the president in consultation with the Committee on Housing.
  • Special cases considered by the Committee on Housing and approved by the Trustee Executive Committee.

Those eligible for rental of college housing only are:

  • Full-time temporary members of the teaching faculty.
  • Post docs and Research Assistants may be awarded apartments after all other eligible applicants have been assigned.
  • In the event that there are apartments left available, after the faculty have chosen apartments for the upcoming academic year, or apartments become available during the academic year that are not rented by eligible faculty, administrators will be given the opportunity to rent such apartments for a maximum of two lease periods. After two lease periods, such an apartment will revert to the available housing pool. If it is not requested by an eligible faculty member, the administrator may renew the lease for another two lease periods. Preference will be given to administrators whose duties require them to work with students during the evening and on weekends.
    (Amended by the Faculty May 11, 2011)
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C. Specific Policies Regarding Rental Units

  1. Administration of Rental Units

    1. The Committee on Housing oversees the rental policy and the administration of rental units. Appeals and disputes regarding the application of policies to specific cases may be brought to the Committee on Housing according to the By-Laws of the Faculty, Article II, Section 18 (2) of the Governance. Any conflicts over maintenance of rental units may also be brought to the attention of the Committee on Housing.

    2. A representative from the Office of the Dean of the Faculty will be appointed by the dean of the faculty to serve as housing liaison for faculty housing matters. The housing liaison may communicate tenant or administrative concerns to the Committee on Housing.

    3. The Office of the Dean of Strategic Planning and Academic Resources will be responsible for the administration of rental contracts and maintenance of rental units. In the event that an eviction is required, such eviction will be administered through the Dean of Strategic Planning and Academic Resources in consultation with the Committee on Housing and the Housing Liaison. The Office of the Dean of Strategic Planning and Academic Resources will be responsible for developing plans and priorities for renovation and maintenance of rental units, in consultation with the Committee on Housing and the Housing Liaison.

    4. The Office of the Dean of Strategic Planning and Academic Resources, in consultation with the Committee on Housing and the Housing Liaison, may engage a professional management company to act as an agent of the college for various administrative aspects of the rental program. Contractual arrangements and budgetary issues with any such management company will be the responsibility of the office of the dean of strategic planning and academic Resources, in consultation with the Committee on Housing and the Housing liaison. The Committee on Housing will attempt to resolve conflicts between tenants and the contracted management company.

    5. The Housing Liaison, the representative from the Office of the Dean of Strategic Planning and Academic Resources, and the members of the Committee on Housing will meet regularly each semester to discuss rental housing issues, administrative practices, and budgetary matters. The chair of the Committee on Housing will be responsible for convening the regular meetings; additional meetings may be convened at the request of any of the parties.
      (Amended by the Faculty, March 22, 2000)

  2. The Availability of Rental Units

    Except for units temporarily allocated by the president or the dean of the faculty to new members of the faculty coming to the college with professorial rank, to administrative officers, or to distinguished visitors, the assignment of rental units in each pool shall be determined by the faculty housing office in accordance with the following provisions:

    1. By April 1st of each year, the Faculty Housing Office shall publish the lists of units that will be available for rental during the succeeding year, together with an indication of the rents to be charged, and the Housing Liaison will publish the lists of the eligible persons in the order of their seniority. Eligible parties interested in renting an available unit should so notify the Faculty Housing Office by April 15th. Options to rent particular available units will be assigned as soon as feasible thereafter by the faculty housing office in accordance with the provisions of eligibility and seniority described above.

    2. Rental units that become available out of the regular cycle will be posted by the Faculty Housing Office and shall be subject to all applicable provisions of eligibility and seniority. Postings are on the Faculty bulletin board in the college center and on the Faculty website.
      (Amended by the Faculty, March 22, 2000)

  3. Conditions of Occupancy and Retention of Rental Units

    The occupancy and retention of rental units shall be governed by individual leases having contractual force and shall be contingent upon the observance by the lessee of all pertinent housing regulations. A lessee judged by the Committee on Housing to be in violation of a housing regulation shall receive a warning notice along with an indication of the time by which the violation must be remedied. Failure to meet the stipulated requirements of the warning notice shall make the lease subject to revocation. In addition to the General Policies specified in Section I, the following regulations apply to rental units:

    1. In the case of a family or domestic partnership that includes only one eligible person, the eligible person shall be the sole lessee. For a family unit, domestic partnership, or a joint-rental arrangement that includes more than one eligible person, the eligible person shall be a joint lessee of the rental unit. Except as indicated below under “subletting of rental units,” the occupancy of a college rental unit is limited to the lessee (sole or joint) and to the members of the lessee’s immediate family or, in the case of domestic partners, to the other partner and members of their immediate family. Written approval must be secured from the Committee on Housing for any person other than those defined above to occupy the unit when the lessee is absent. In the event of the death of a lessee, the surviving authorized occupants of the rental unit may continue to occupy the unit until the end of the fiscal year in which the death occurs, or for a period of three months following the death, whichever comes later. In cases of severe hardship or other extenuating circumstances, the Committee on Housing may recommend an exception to these limitations, subject to the approval of thepresident.

    2. The lessee must notify the Faculty Housing Office whenever someone other than an authorized occupant of the rental unit is designated to serve as house sitter for any period longer than one week.

    3. Subletting of rental units. The lessee of a rental unit may sublet all or part of the unit, subject to the following additional provisions and limitations:

      1. The term of subletting shall be confined to those times when college duties (such as serving as House Fellow, accepting certain kinds of temporary administrative appointment, or serving away from Poughkeepsie to administer a college program) require that the lessee reside elsewhere, or when the lessee is away on leave or away from Poughkeepsie for the summer. The subletting of all or part of a rental unit ordinarily shall not exceed the period of one year except if the relevant college duties continue beyond one year. In no case shall the sublet arrangement continue beyond three years.

      2. The lessee may sublet the rental unit to any eligible person, irrespective of seniority, rental units may not be sublet to students. Subletting to non-eligible persons will only be allowed under special circumstances, as determined by the Office of the Dean of Strategic Planning and Resources

      3. The rental rate for the sublet of an entire unit shall not exceed the rent concurrently paid to the college by the lessee, plus fair rent for the use of furnishings, when provided, the latter ordinarily not to exceed 15 percent of the lessee’s rental cost. The rental rate for the sublet of only a part of the unit shall be determined by the portion of the space and amenities provided.

      4. All sublets and sublet rental rates must be registered with the Faculty Housing Office.

      5. Sublet opportunities may be posted by the Faculty Housing Office.
        (Amended by the Faculty May 16, 2007)

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D. Purchase or Construction of Houses on Land Leased from the College

  1. Eligibility—Options to purchase a house already existing on college land, or to construct a new house on land leased from the college, shall be available to eligible persons listed in Section B in order of their seniority and subject to the general policies defined in Section A.

  2. Administration—All matters pertaining to the purchase of houses on college land and to the leasing of college land for the construction of houses shall be administered by the Office of the Dean of Strategic Planning and Academic Resources, subject to the approval of the Committee on Facilities Operations of the Board of Trustees. By February 15th of each year, the Office of the Dean of the Faculty shall publish a list, in the order of their seniority, of those members of the college community who are eligible to purchase an already existing house on college land or to lease a site on college land for the construction of a new house. Eligible persons wishing to be informed of the availability of sites for the construction of new houses should so notify the Office of the Dean of Strategic Planning and Academic Resources.

  3. Leases—The college enters into a long-term lease with a faculty member, who then owns the house on the property. The lease is a binding legal document. When changes in housing policy mean that the college revises the terms of the leases it offers, the college offers leaseholders the revised lease, and a leaseholder retains the right to accept or reject a revised lease.
    (Approved by the Faculty May 16, 2007)

  4. Financing—The college will provide the necessary assurances in regard to the lease arrangement to lenders identified by the purchaser. When requested by the purchaser or builder, the college shall assist with the down payment according to the provisions for Down Payment Assistance in Section E below.
    (Amended by the Faculty November 5, 2003)

  5. Policies Concerning the Purchase of Houses Situated on Land Leased from the College

    1. Twice each year, the Office of the Dean of Strategic Planning and Academic Resources shall publish a list of houses on college owned land that are available for purchase. The lists shall be published by February 15 ("the February List") and September 15 ("the September List") of each year and shall include the college's asking price for each house. Eligible persons who wish to purchase listed houses should so notify the Office of the Dean of Strategic Planning and Academic Resources by March 15 in response to the February List or by October 15 in response to the September list. By the end of the following business day, the Office of the Dean of Strategic Planning and Academic Resources shall award options to purchase houses in accordance with the provisions of seniority described in Section A.I. A person's commitment to purchase the particular house at the stated price, subject to the procurement of necessary financing and the conditions set forth in Section 4(b) below.

    2. This person may accept such option by making the required deposit and certification within fifteen (15) days of the award and shall complete the purchase according to the terms and conditions set forth above within seventy-five (75) days from date of deposit.

    3. Following acceptance of an option to purchase a house included in the February List, the holder of such option shall on or before March 31st tender to the college a deposit toward the price of purchase in the amount of 2% of the asking price ("the deposit") and certify to the college that diligent steps to obtain any required financing have been taken and, if applicable, are continuing. With respect to the houses included on the September List, the deposit must be made and the certification must be given by October 31st. An option to purchase shall have been made and given by the required deposit date. An option to purchase shall be subject to termination by the college if the closing on the sale and purchase of the house is not completed by July 1 for a house included on the February List or by February 1 for a house included on the September List. In the event of expiration or termination of an option to purchase a house, the Office of the Dean of Strategic Planning and Academic Resources shall, within one business day, award the option to purchase the house to the next eligible person, in accordance with applicable provisions of seniority. This person may accept such option by making the required deposit and certification within fifteen (15) days of the award and shall complete the purchase according to the terms and conditions set forth above within seventy-five (75) days from date of deposit.

  6. Policies Concerning Construction of New Houses on Land Leased from the College

    1. An eligible party who leases a site on college land for the purpose of constructing a new house shall tender to the college a security deposit in the amount of $1,000, which will be subject to forfeiture if a house is not under construction within one year of the date of the deposit. This deposit shall be returned upon completion of construction. The site itself shall be rented to the lessee at the rate of one dollar per year.

    2. When multiple construction sites are made available on portions of college land that are as yet undeveloped, the college will bear the cost of having utilities and roads brought to the general area of the newly available sites. The expense of extending these services from the general area to the individual lots will then be pro-rated and charged to each lessee at cost. The Dean of Strategic Planning and Academic Resources shall make the determination of pro-rated costs after consultation with the Committee on Housing and the College Committee on Facilities Operations.

    3. All construction plans, including those pertaining to the cost and character of the house, are subject to approval by the Committee on Facilities Operations of the Board of Trustees. The major criteria for such approval shall be the congruence of the cost of the house with current economic conditions, the ability of the owner to discharge financial obligations incurred in the process of construction, and the likelihood that the house can be resold at a future date to some other eligible member of the college community.

  7. Policies Regarding the Repurchase of Faculty Houses on College Land

    1. Leasehold agreements currently in effect stipulate repurchase guidelines. In general the college makes a repurchase offer and the owner may accept that offer or obtain another appraisal. If the college’s appraisal and the owner’s appraisal differ by 10% or less of the higher appraisal, the buy-back price shall be set halfway between the two appraisal values. If the difference is more than 10% and if the college and the owner are unable to agree on an appraisal value, the two appraisers shall meet to try to reach an agreed-on price. If these two appraisers cannot agree, they shall select a third appraiser, and the majority decision of the three appraisers as to the value of the house shall be binding on all parties (provided, however, that such value is not less than the original cost of the property to the lessee plus the actual cost of any improvements made with the approval of the college.
      (Amended by the Faculty May 16, 2007)

    2. Requirement that all appraisers have New York State certification and that their base of operations be in Dutchess County: The responsible college officers in conjunction with the Housing Committee shall maintain a list of appraisers who meet this qualification.
      (Approved by the faculty February 15, 1995)

    3. Involvement of the faculty Housing Committee in the procedure of selling houses: No price shall be posted without the committee having been consulted in the process of determining repurchase prices. The committee shall have access to all appraisals and inspection reports. The committee shall be consulted in all processes described below.

      The committee may act as mediator in any situations where college officials and faculty are in conflict.
      (Approved by the Faculty May 17, 1995; Amended by the Faculty May 16, 2007)

    4. Inspections of all houses before appraisals:

      1. A certified building inspector retained by the college shall inspect all houses before they are appraised and the inspection reports shall be made available to potential buyers. If expensive repairs are needed, either the faculty seller shall make them or the inspection reports shall be made available to the appraiser so that the cost of repairs can be reflected in their determination of repurchase price.
        (Amended by the Faculty May 16, 2007)

      2. Faculty buyers are advised before purchasing to have their own inspections done by certified building inspectors because buyers have to take responsibility for repairs when their need is discovered after purchase. In cases where the inspection of a faculty buyer reveals the need for important repairs (structural, health and safety, environmental) not identified by the college’s inspector, the college shall lower the price at the time of closing to cover those costs.
        (Amended by the Faculty May 16, 2007)

      3. The college shall be responsible for the repair of any damages suffered in the period between its purchase of a house and its sale of the house.
        (Approved by the Faculty May 17, 1995)

  8. General Policies and Regulations Governing All Houses on College Land

    1. Plans for major improvements must be submitted to and approved by the Dean of Strategic Planning and Academic Resources.

    2. The college shall repurchase the house under either of the following conditions: (a) if the owner ceases to be eligible for such ownership; or (b) upon notification by the owner or the owner’s heir of a desire to sell. The college shall repurchase the house at cost (original purchase price or owner’s original construction cost), plus the cost of authorized major improvements, or at the appraised value of the house (excluding the value of any major improvements made without authorization), whichever is higher. A repurchase provision shall be included in all contracts executed between the college and the owner of a house on college land. Such contracts shall also describe procedures for resolving disputes between the owner and the college concerning the price of repurchase.
      (Amended by the Faculty May 16, 2007)

    3. The owner of a house on college land shall continue to be eligible for ownership following retirement from active college service provided that this house remains that person’s primary place of residence.
      (Amended by the Faculty May 16, 2007)

    4. In the event of the owner’s death, any resident member of the immediate family may continue to occupy the house for a period of one year following the end of the fiscal year during which the death occurs. The surviving spouse or domestic partner of a deceased owner may continue to occupy the house indeterminately if the spouse or domestic partner was at least sixty-five years of age at the time of the owner’s death, or for a period not to exceed five years if less than sixty-five years of age at the time of the owner’s death. In cases of severe hardship or other extenuating circumstances, the Committee on Housing may recommend an exception to these limitations, subject to the approval of the president.

  9. Regulations Concerning the Renting of Houses on College Land

    The owner of a house on college land may rent all or part of the house, subject to the following provisions:

    1. The rental of all or part of a house shall not exceed the period of one year except with the written approval of the Committee on Housing.

    2. For the rental of all or most of a house, the term of rental in the case of owners who are not retired from active service to the College shall be confined to those times when college duties (such as serving as House Fellow, accepting certain kinds of temporary administrative appointment, or serving away from Poughkeepsie to administer a college program) require that the owner reside elsewhere, or when the owner is away on leave or away from Poughkeepsie for the summer.

    3. An owner wishing to rent all or most of a house shall inform the Office of the Dean of Strategic Planning and Academic Resources of the details of such rental, including the desired monthly rental rate, and the Office of the Dean of Strategic Planning and Academic Resources shall post this information on the Faculty Bulletin Board. Except for summer rentals, the owner shall not otherwise advertise the availability of the house for rental for a period of two weeks following notification of the Office of the Dean of Strategic Planning and Academic Resources.

    Rental arrangements made in violation of these provisions shall be subject to revocation.

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E. Down Payment Assistance

Program – The Down Payment Assistance Program is designed to provide participants up to 10% of the purchase price of a house, to a maximum of $30,000 at the same interest rate as the prevailing first-mortgage interest rate for a maximum repayment period of six (6) years. If two eligible Vassar employees purchase a property in joint ownership, the 10% maximum of purchase price limits the total amount that may be loaned to both employees. Payment is by payroll deduction. For details or to make application please contact the Office of the Dean of Strategic Planning and Academic Resources.

Eligibility Requirements – (1) Tenured faculty with the rank of full professor or associate professor, or (2) tenure track assistant professors who have been appointed to a second contract, or (3) administrators who have a minimum of seven (7) years of service with the college and hold director or manager titles. The house to be purchased under this program must be located within 15 miles of the college campus and used as the applicant’s primary dwelling. Applicants cannot be current owners of a college house under the college’s leasehold agreement.

Restrictions – This program will normally be limited each calendar year to a maximum of eight new participants. A total of $500,000 in capital will be made available for loans, to be monitored by the Dean of Strategic Planning and Academic Resources. Loans must be for the purchase of a principal residence within the prescribed area.
(Amended by the Faculty November 5, 2003.)

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