Housing hiccups: BYU begins arbitrations between students, landlords

May 4, 2020, 10:41 AM
BYU winter semester BYU Fall, Spike in COVID-19 cases linked to Utah County college students...
Arbitrations are beginning for COVID-19-related housing disputes between BYU students and landlords. (PHOTO: BYU/Twitter)
(PHOTO: BYU/Twitter)

PROVO, Utah — Arbitration hearings are beginning for BYU students and landlords who disagree on how much rent is owed because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Two sides to the housing story

The BYU Center for Peace and Conflict Resolution is conducting the arbitration hearings. A retired third-party judge will oversee the hearings, which will be legally binding.

The center hired the judge because they expect some cases to be overly contentious, according to the center’s director. Additionally, the decisions will rely on interpretation.

There’s a provision of the housing contact that’s really the key legal issue that talks about catastrophic loss. Most of the tenants are saying this is catastrophic loss and a lot of the landlords are saying it’s not,” – Benjamin Cook, director of the BYU Center for Peace and Conflict Resolution.  

Siding with students

Provo Mayor Michelle Kaufusi and BYU administration are encouraging landlords to release students from their housing contracts. Yet, they are leaving the final decisions between students and the property owners.

“The city can’t modify these contracts, but we can encourage things from the sidelines. In that spirit, I hope that landlords who are in a financial position to do so will factor compassion into their decision-making,” Kaufusi said in a prior statement. “I hope students and parents will be courteous and cooperative in trying to work through these issues.”

BYU spokeswoman Carri Jenkins echoed similar sentiments in another statement.

“In the event of a COVID-19 outbreak, landlords would be required to follow health department guidelines for providing a safe space for students to either be isolated or quarantined.”

According to the Deseret News, the center typically conducts about 180 mediations a year, but they’ve received around 200 requests related to COVID-19 in just the past few weeks.

Those involved are conducting the mediations and arbitrations via Zoom video calls. At this point, they’ve done about two dozens mediations per week since March 25.

The arbitrator’s decisions will post to the center’s website in the coming week.

Today’s Top Stories

Brigham Young University

The wafer with the etched Book of Mormon on it, made by BYU students...
Samantha Herrera

BYU engineering students put ‘world’s smallest Book of Mormon’ on 4 inch disc

The entirety of the Book of Mormon is now on display on a gold-plated 4-inch disc in the Clyde Building at BYU. It'll last millions of years.
4 days ago
academic website, BYU race...
Aimee Cobabe and Alex Cabrero

Researchers using dirty diapers to develop new autism test

Dirty diapers are being used by researchers at Brigham Young University as a way to try and detect autism in young children at an earlier age.
5 days ago
Screenshot from the BYU documentary about the Black 14. 10 of the players are pictured next to a ne...
Chris Jacobs

BYU premieres documentary ‘The Black 14: Healing Hearts and Feeding Souls’

The new BYU documentary, "The Black 14" Healing Hearts and Feeding Souls," focuses on a 1969 football game between BYU and the University of Wyoming.
10 days ago
EUGENE, OR - SEPTEMBER 17: The line of scrimmage between the Oregon Ducks and the Brigham Young Cou...
Curt Gresseth

Reporter talks about ugly chant from students at BYU-Oregon game

A Deseret News reporter tat the BYU-Oregon football game on Saturday talks about the anti-LDS chant heard and filmed from the student section and what may happen next.
13 days ago
BYU Student athletic building. A racist slur was investigated by BYU...
Samantha Herrera

BYU Athletics says investigation found ‘no evidence’ of racist heckling

Weeks after a Duke volleyball student reportedly suffered racist heckling at a match against BYU, the school says it found no evidence of the harassment.
24 days ago
academic website, BYU race...
Becky Bruce

Police report shows authorities can’t prove BYU fan used a racial slur

A police report obtained by KSL shows BYU Police cannot prove a fan used a racial slur toward a Duke volleyball player during a match in Provo.
1 month ago

Sponsored Articles

Young woman receiving laser treatment...
Form Derm Spa

How facial plastic surgery and skincare are joining forces

Facial plastic surgery is not only about looking good but about feeling good too. The medical team at Form Spa are trained to help you reach your aesthetic outcomes through surgery and through skincare and dermatology, too.
large group of friends tohether in a park having fun...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

What differentiates BYU’s MBA program from other MBA programs

Commitment to service is at the heart of BYU’s MBA program, which makes it stand out among other MBA programs across the country.
a worker with a drill in an orange helmet installs a door in the house...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

Home improvement tip: Increase the value of your home by weatherproofing doors

Make sure your home is comfortable before the winter! Seasonal maintenance keeps your home up to date. Read our tips on weatherproofing doors.
Curb Appeal...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

How to have the best of both worlds for your house | Home security and curb appeal

Protect your home and improve its curb appeal with the latest security solutions like beautiful garage doors and increased security systems.
A paper reading IRS, internal revenue service is pictured...
Jordan Wilcox

The best strategies for dealing with IRS tax harassment | You have options!

Learn how to deal with IRS tax harassment. This guide will teach you how to stop IRS phone calls and letters, and how to handle an IRS audit.
spend a day at Bear Lake...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

You’ll love spending the day at Bear Lake | How to spend a day at Bear Lake

Bear Lake is a place that needs to be experienced. Spend a day at Bear Lake.
Housing hiccups: BYU begins arbitrations between students, landlords