We write in response to Letter of the Day in your publication of April 10, 2017 and thank you for the opportunity to provide details which we are confident will give a valid, new perspective to the issues raised in the letter.
138 Student Living Jamaica Limited (138 SL) is committed to providing world-class housing solutions on the University of the West Indies Mona campus (UWI) that will enhance the student’s university experience. In keeping with this, we consistently make every effort to address issues as soon as they arise and have instituted policies and procedures which we determined through consultation to be mutually beneficial to both students and 138 SL.
We would like to offer another perspective on the 51-week contract. To meet the specific needs of some students on the campus, primarily those in the field of medicine, who are on campus all year after their first year, and other students who want the security of tenure for the duration of their course we offer a 51-week contract. Readers should be aware that after the first year of residence, on most halls, there is a limited chance of being re-admitted hence the need for security of tenure. We are mindful that even though it is stated in the contract, some students may overlook it and so to ensure that the resident’s attention is specifically drawn to this provision there is a requirement to sign below that specific clause, as shown below:
This Agreement is made on the …….. day of ……………………………2016 between 138 Student Living (hereinafter called “The Operator”) on the one part, and ……………………………………………. (Identification Number ………………………………………) (hereinafter called “the Resident”) on the other part, for a term commencing on………………………………2016 and expiring at 12 noon on …………………………..2017 for a 51 WEEK CONTRACT.
Signature of Resident……………………………Signature of Operator………………………
To lessen the possibility of a misfit between accommodation needs and what is accessed, we will work closely with UWI to ensure that those students who require a 51- week contract are the ones residing in Leslie Robinson Hall, freeing up other places on the campus for those students who require a 9-month contract. Our 51-week facility is providing a valuable service and it should be noted that at the request of UWI at our Phase 2 development, nine-month contracts are offered.
Payment of hall fees
Similar to what happens on other halls we offer a normal arrangement of one month’s security deposit and the monthly payment. If payment is not made on the due date, a quarterly administrative charge of $5,000 is applied.
However, we offer two additional payment options – quarterly payment and a full year’s payment. Where students opt to pay in advance for an entire year, a discount is given. Students may pay through deposit to our bank account at any branch of our bankers or by wire transfer or cheque payment or debit/credit card payment at the 138 SL offices. All fees for wire transfer and credit/debit card services are those levied by the bank. We do not add any additional fees
The Jamaican dollar equivalent of the monthly charge for hall fees is fixed for the entire Academic year based on the rate set by the University at the beginning of the School Year. We are therefore unclear why the author of the letter would state that “for Jamaican students …..there is no stable price”.
Restriction of Access
We are very slow to take action relating to the restriction of access to the premises of students. Such action is never taken lightly and is a last resort, usually only where the student owes more than one month’s rent and fails to communicate with the office despite reminders by email and notes delivered to his/her door. We maintain an open door policy and encourage students to visit our office to discuss any challenges they are facing so that we can work together towards finding a solution.
Accommodation of Guests
We offer our residents the opportunity to have a guest free for two nights and host them for additional nights at a cost of $2000 per night. This is a far less conservative approach than obtains on the traditional halls on the campus where visitors are required to leave by 1:00AM and overnight visitors are not allowed.
Laundry Fees and WI-FI Service
Laundry fees: Invariably comparison is made with the laundry fees charged by the other halls for which the utilities, electricity and water, which are the major input costs for such a service, are subsidized by UWI and which is not so in our case. We do not attempt to make a surplus on this area of our operations and our single goal is to operate the facility at cost whilst offering efficient service and a clean environment.
Our Wi-Fi system is by far superior to what obtains elsewhere on the campus therefore students are inclined to be heavy users of our facility, logging on many devices. This causes additional pressure on the system and although our service provider, is one of the two largest in the Caribbean, they do encounter challenges from time to time despite having a minimum service level agreement for our facility., Once alerted that there is a problem, the necessary steps are usually taken by them to address the issue. We continue to work with them to ensure consistent, high quality service while we evaluate other measures to reduce the heavy load on the system.
We are aware that, as with any newly constructed facility certain challenges, namely plumbing, electrical and the quality of furnishing and appliances only come to light after consistent use. We have been very responsive with handling these challenges as they arise and hasten to note that they are not widespread. We definitely do not know of any rat infestation on the Leslie Robinson Hall.
We would welcome any potential resident, parent and or guardian and the general public to visit our premises on campus to experience our world class facilities. We simply ask for arrangements to be made by contacting us prior to arrival, our office number is 665 1235
Again, we are committed to addressing any and every issue raised by our residents. This is in keeping with our goal to provide a world class facility, resulting in highly satisfied residents contributing to the best possible student experience.