Habitability

“Habitability” is co-op lingo for the cleanliness, safety, and accessibility of our house and food. Checking our house regularly for habitability ensures that members move into a habitable home and live in one throughout the semester. Habitability also helps keeps our rent low by preventing costly fixes of problems that would otherwise develop. More specific aims include:

  • Preventing the occurrence of fires
    • Cloyne is made largely of wood and thus would burn rapidly
  • Maintaining kitchen sanitation by preventing food poisoning and pests
  • Ensuring the accessibility of hallways, rooms, and all common space
    • This ensures that physically disabled members are able to comfortably enjoy the house as much as anyone else, and also makes the house safer to traverse for everyone

This page goes over the basic process of habitability: inspections, results, fines or incentives, and possibly reinspections. It also offers ways for Cloyne members to take action in cooperatively and collaboratively making our home habitable for ourselves and for each other.

Inspections

Inspections are the way that we ensure habitability standards are being consistently met. Up to three (but usually just two) random, unannounced inspections will be performed each semester by a central-level staff member called the Operations Assistant (opasst@bsc.coop). During inspections, the Ops Assistant inspects and assigns grades to each of the following areas:

  • Kitchen
  • Dining room
  • Bathrooms
  • Outside pathways (sidewalks, walkways, driveway, stairs)
  • All other common spaces (listed on the Amenities page)
  • Fire escape routes

 

Inspections will not occur during the first two weeks of the term or during finals week. More inspections may occur to address any complaints from house residents or neighbors regarding habitability.

Inspection Results, Fines, and Reinspections

Results will be made available to residents within three business days of inspection, with a timeline for fixing issues that will be checked in the reinspection.

 

Each member will incur a fine if the house fails an inspection, i.e., receives a D or F grade overall. The fine is two times the workshift rate, which is currently $15, for a total of $30. Members may request to do paid workshift instead of paying the fine, and workshift Managers must provide appropriate opportunities for disabled members. House members may also appeal everyone’s fine to a Board committee, on the grounds that the habitability standards were misapplied.

 

A reinspection will happen if the house fails habitability overall or fails any particular section of the report. The house is collectively responsible for ensuring that required items are corrected within the timeframe provided. The failure of a follow-up inspection will result in an additional fine of the same amount, but a another inspection will not happen until the next round of habitability.

Incentive Program

Every semester one large house (45 members or more) and one small house receive a “Best Overall” award, and one large and one small house receive a “Most Improved” award. The houses that receive these awards each receive the monetary equivalent of one hour at the workshift rate times the number of a house’s members, deposited into their House Accounts. Thus Cloyne, as a large house, could receive 140*$15=$2100, if we win either award and are at maximum capacity during an academic year semester.

Even if we don’t win either award, we can still get the same amount of money transferred from our Habitability account to our House Account if we get a B average or higher on every inspection and show improvement over the semester. For more information about our house’s different budgets/accounts, you can check out our Finances page.

Taking Action

Here are some things that you can do to proactively ensure habitability:

  • Complete your workshift to the best of your ability
  • Keep an eye out for habitability issues as you move about the house
  • Review guidelines for habitability and look over the last inspection report to determine common habitability problems in the house

And if we do fail an inspection,

  • Work cooperatively with your housemates and the manager team to correct any problems (reach out to ask how you can help, and pitch in where you can)

Common Problems and Solutions

  • Pots on the floor
    • Solution: Make space on the pots rack and move the pots off the floor.
  • Spills
    • Solution: For spills on the floor, use a mop. For spills on counters or tables, use a paper towel or sponge.
  • Grime and mold on walls and counters
    • Solution: Wipe up dust with a damp sponge or paper towel. Scrub grime or mold with abrasive material (green surface of sponge or steel wool, depending on material).
  • Overflowing waste bins
    • Solution: Stomp down contents of the bins or empty in the dumpster.
  • Dirty bathrooms
    • Solution: Do your bathroom cleans! If anything is very unsanitary, follow the printed bathroom cleaning protocols to clean it up immediately.
  • Obstructions in the hallways
    • Solution: Move items to their appropriate places.
  • Wheelchair inaccessibility
    • Solution: Make sure entrances to rooms and spaces are at least 36 inches across to allow for wheelchair clearance.
  • Fruit flies in the kitchen
    • Solution: Avoid leaving out food. Make sure uneaten food is either stored in a refrigerator or put in a compost bin.

Habitability in the Kitchen

Maintaining sanitary conditions in the kitchen is especially important, because failure to do so could result in foodborne illnesses.

Guidelines

  • Store meats in bins, separated by type (red meat separated from poultry separated from etc.), at the bottom of the refrigerator or freezer. Personal meats should be wrapped tightly (so that no leakage occurs) and labeled with your name and a use-by date. Store personal meats in the freezer with other personal meats.
  • Leftovers should be labeled and stored in a container with a lid. Any leftovers older than a week should be thrown out.
  • Opened canned food should be transferred to another container before storing in the refrigerator.
  • No standing water should be left in the kitchen areas. Unclog sinks and dump out water from pots and mop buckets.
  • Mold should not exist anywhere in the kitchen. Wipe down the mold from countertops and walls, then dry with a paper towel.
  • No food items, in containers or otherwise, should be on the ground. Store food in pantries, refrigerators, etc.

For more information, please see the Cloyne Kitchen Guide.

Grading Rubric

A = Area overall clean, tidy and organized. No changes or additional action needed.

 

B = Aesthetic improvements and cleaning issues which currently do not present health/sanitation/safety issues but may do so in the future if not addressed now.

 

C = Passing grade. General cleanliness issues. Highlights areas that need more regular cleaning. Should see improvements made by next round of habitability inspections but no immediate follow-up inspection necessary. Failure to address a C by the next round of inspections will lead to a lower grade.

 

D = Severe or excessive amount of cleanliness violations. Areas/items receiving a D should be addressed by the re-inspection date noted on the report. As long as you can show that you have already reached out to CM or relevant resources the infraction won’t count against you for the inspection/re-inspection.

 

F = Conditions that should never be present on the property. Health & safety hazards. Trip/slip hazards. Accessibility violations. Conditions that could cause injury. A single F on an inspection report will result in an automatic failure for that inspection round. Anything receiving an F should be corrected immediately, and a re-inspection date will be noted on the report.

Grading Rubric Examples

Kitchen & Dining Room

Bathrooms

Common Areas

Fire Exits, Hallways & Stairways

Exterior

A Food prep surfaces clear of food, and equipment. Surfaces sanitized. Appliances put away and parts stored in clean condition. Fridges and freezers at proper temps. All food stored in containers with tight-fitting lid, label & date. Sanitizer at proper concentration. All food stored at least 6” off floor. Fridges are clear of debris and residue. Knives are properly stored in a safe environment. Toilet scrubbed. Shower grout with no visible debris. Sinks and counters wiped down and no residue build up. Floors mopped. Ceiling vents free of debris. Well organized recycling, storage areas, and free pile. Furniture with no rips or broken components. Surfaces clean and sanitized, no food or dishes left out. Floors mopped. All free pile items sorted.   Clear of all obstructions and vacuumed/swept hallways, stairways, and fire escapes. Well organized trash and recycling. Walkways swept with no plant or trash debris. Vegetation cut back away from house.  
B Food debris in dishwashing sinks. Grill top clean, but backsplash with built up debris. Fridge racks with food debris.   Debris in bathroom fan vents. Cobwebs on the ceiling or around light fixtures. No obstructions, but could use a vacuuming or sweeping. Minor plant debris around perimeter of house. Disorganized gardening supplies.
C Empty soap or paper towel dispensers. Significant debris under food prep surfaces/appliances. Hand washing sink blocked by dishes, or food. Uncovered food storage in fridge or pantry. Uncovered trash, recycling, or compost. Unlabeled leftovers and/or food not in original packaging in refrigerator. Leftovers and/or food in refrigerator not in original packaging not discarded after 7 days. Knives left unattended on counters Empty soap or paper towel dispensers. Dirty shower grout. Surfaces cluttered with personal items. Severely disorganized Free Pile. Clutter stored around perimeter of room. Significant debris under furniture. Fire extinguishers need monthly inspection. Uncovered trash/ recycling/compost.  Piles of fallen leaves or plant debris accumulating around perimeter/walkways. Tree growth within 3 ft. of roofline.
D Mold on surfaces. Dirty dishes, food, food debris on counters. Food debris and/or buildup on floors. Clogged griddle top grease drain. Grease buildup on range components. Broken or ripped furniture. Missing soap/paper towel dispensers. Food boxes or bags stored on the floor. Refrigerator temp not in safe range. Torn fridge gasket. Standing water in sinks/containers/floor sink. Standing water in clogged sink. Excessive dirty dishes/pots. Dishes/pots stored on ground. Food/mold in floor drain(s). Mold on surfaces. Missing soap/paper towel dispensers. Dishes and/or food left out on surfaces. Standing water in sinks or tubs. Dirty floors, toilets, surfaces, showers. Mold on surfaces. Large holes in walls. Broken or ripped furniture. Dishes and/or food left out on surfaces. Missing or discharged fire extinguisher. Dirt buildup on floor – room needs a good sweep & mop.   Mold on surfaces. Large hole in wall. Smoke alarm without batteries. Items in maintenance area that need to be moved to flammables cabinet.   Mold on surfaces. Broken furniture. Upholstered “indoor” furniture outside or on exterior balcony/roof. Excessive dump run piles. Dense vegetation up against house structure. Exterior door(s)/window(s) propped (without screen door).
F Sanitizer for pots/dishes empty. Trash, recycling or compost bins overflowing – waste stored on the ground. Grease or food spills on the ground that could be slip hazard. Trash, recycling or compost bins overflowing – waste full and stored on the ground.   Objects hung from or blocking fire sprinkler pipes/heads. Storage within 3ft. of boilers/heaters. Free piles overflowing to the extent you cannot enter the room. Broken or cracked window glass. Broken glass on ground. Furniture, trash, bikes, dishes or items of any kind in the hallways, stairways, fire escapes, or blocking emergency exits. Objects hung from or blocking fire sprinkler pipes/heads. Flammable items stored openly or under exit stairways. Items on restricted roof areas. Broken glass on ground. Broken or cracked window glass. Unsorted and overflowing trash compost or recycling bins. Obstructions blocking exit paths.

 

Supplementary Information

  • Habitability posters and post-its are in the hallways, bathrooms, common spaces, and kitchen, serving as useful references and reminders
  • The BSC’s Habitability Code policy

Habitability Slideshow by Operations Assistant Jacki Kingkade

Written by Zachary Su (member) in Fall ’18