Residence Life & Student Housing

RLSH Housing Contract Information

Application & License Agreement for Residence Halls

Housing applications are available from the Department of Residence Life & Student Housing. A $100 non-refundable advanced housing deposit is required for all entering first-year, transfer and graduate students. The deposit is applied to the first semester’s rent charge on the SMU student account.

The license agreement becomes binding for a full academic year when a resident signs the check-in log and accepts the key/accesses the room with card access, OR moves belongings into the room, whether that resident actually resides in the room or not. Only currently registered and enrolled students who have a housing license agreement may live in the residence halls. Short-term agreements for one semester only are granted to residents who are studying abroad, graduating in December or participating in an out-of-town co-op program. Requests for a short-term agreement must be approved in advance by the Dean of Residence Life & Student Housing.


Students who complete the application and license agreement may be assigned to one of the following:  a residential commons, a traditional residence hall,  Service House or a residence hall apartment in Martin and Moore. Specific assignments are not guaranteed. Room and roommate assignments are not assigned or reassigned according to race, color, religion, national or ethnic origin, sexual orientation, age or disability.

Entering Rooms

SMU recognizes and respects the right of residents to personal privacy within their living quarters, consistent with the University’s operations and the health and safety of the University community. Nonetheless, circumstances may necessitate entry into a resident’s room or apartment, as all residents have a reasonable expectation of health and safety. The University unconditionally reserves the right to enter and to inspect all residences. Circumstances that may permit staff to enter and inspect SMU-owned Housing may include, but are not limited to: at the request of one or more of the occupants; to verify occupancy; to reclaim University property; an administrative search; during fire alarm evacuations; when staff believe the safety and/or well being of the occupant(s) is in question; and/or to perform repairs, improvements or similar work. If entry into SMU-owned residences is necessitated by these or similar circumstances, illegal items and/or other items prohibited by SMU will be removed by authorized University personnel.

RLSH and the SMU Department of Risk Management inspect SMU-owned residences, (including student rooms and apartments in all residence halls, houses and Greek communities) at least once per semester. The primary purposes of these inspections are to enhance the safety of all residents and make note of needed repairs and furniture replacement, not to invade the residents’ privacy. Residents are encouraged to be present during inspections, but inspections will be conducted whether or not residents are present. Rooms and apartments may also be entered whenever a resident permanently vacates or whenever a resident vacates for a University break period to ensure that established check-out and/or building closing procedures have been followed.

In the event that circumstances as noted above and in the judgment of University staff warrant entry into a student room or apartment, illegal items and or other prohibited items that are in plain view may be confiscated by authorized University personnel or police officials.

Room and Hall Change Procedures

Residents who are interested in a room or residence hall change must meet with their Residential Community Director to discuss the request. The RCD may approve the request to move or may deny the request and require additional resident information. If the request is approved, the resident willwork with their RCD on reassignment. Approval of a request does not guarantee a change will occur. Requests are approved on an individual basis. Residents who are reassigned must check out of their old room with residential staff and return the key and complete the Room Condition Report. Residents who move without approval and confirmation from RLSH may be required to move back to their assignment and may be subject to a fine for an unauthorized move. Room and hall change requests are not permitted for the first two weeks of the semester or last six weeks of the semester.

RLSH staff are always available to assist in the resolution of any difficulties that roommates experience. Residents are assigned to a space and RLSH reserves the right to assign vacant spaces as needed. Residents who do not have a roommate should not take over the room/apartment, as a new roommate can arrive at anytime. Efforts will be made to inform residents of a new roommate in advance when possible.

Private Rooms & Room Consolidation

The demand for private rooms is always greater than the number available. Residents who are interested in a single room may contact the RLSH main office for more information. When vacancies occur in rooms designed as doubles or triples, RLSH may begin to consolidate residents without roommates in order to accommodate new residents, to create spaces for mutual roommate requests and to grant requests for private rooms. When the consolidation process begins, a resident may be given the opportunity to buy out the room as a single for an additional charge. If a resident declines the opportunity to buy out the room, efforts will begin to either relocate the resident to another room or assign a new roommate.

On-Campus Requirement

The Board of Trustees policy requires that incoming first-year students must live on-campus for their first two years at SMU. Incoming transfer students who are under 20 must live on-campus their first year at SMU.

Students who are required to live on-campus are guaranteed a space.

Incoming students from Dallas may request an exception to the requirement in order to live at home with parent or guardian in their primary residence for financial or medical reasons. Exceptions are granted at the discretion of the Dean of RLSH.

Moving Out

Residents who move out of the residential community must check out with a RLSH staff member in order to complete the proper paperwork and return the room/apartment key. Residents who withdraw from the University must notify RLSH in addition to canceling classes and check out properly with a RLSH staff member immediately. Cancelling classes does not automatically terminate your housing license agreement.

Residents who do not complete the paperwork with a staff member may be charged a minimum of $100 for improper check out. There could be an additional charge if a key is not returned and a lock change is necessary. Additional fines may be applied due to late check outs if a student fails to move out of a community by the advertised deadlines.

Vacation and Residence Hall Closings

All assigned residents are subject to the housing license agreement for the full term of the agreement for Fall and Spring semesters. Rent covers only those periods when the residential community is open for the semester. Between semesters, housing for continuing residents is available as follows:

  • Apartment-style residences, including  Martin, Moore and Grad House are open over the Winter Break and may be occupied during the period by assigned residents.
  • Residential Commons & Residence Halls/Houses: Residents desiring on-campus accommodations for “interim” periods (when residential facilities are officially closed for Winter Break, between Spring and Summer terms or between Summer and Fall) must contact the RLSH office to inquire regarding availability and to sign the interim housing agreement. If available, there is a daily charge and the resident may be required to move to a room other than their regularly assigned space.

At the end of each term, residents without an interim agreement must vacate the residence hall no later than 24 hours after their last exam or by the specified hall closing time, whichever comes first. Residents who do not leave by the specified time may be subject to a minimum $100 fine

Regardless of whether or not classes are in session, all University rules, regulations, Community Standards, Code of Conduct, as well as all applicable laws are in force whenever a building is occupied.

Summer School Housing

Residents who wish to live on campus for Summer school must complete an application and contract for the Summer term. The Summer housing contract is separate from the academic year contract. Typically one residence hall is open for Summer school. Residents of Hawk and Martin must complete a Summer application and be enrolled for Summer in order to be eligible for a continued assignment. Detailed information about summer school, including rental rates, is typically available  mid-February.

Reapplying for the Next Academic Year

Residents who wish to live on-campus for the next academic year will reapply for housing during Priority Signup by completing a new housing application and license agreement. Priority Signup typically occurs in February and March. Complete details are distributed to residents approximately six weeks before signup.

Liability and Renter’s Insurance

All residents are strongly urged to obtain a renter’s insurance policy for their belongings. Residents should check with their family’s insurance provider to see how their homeowner’s policy might cover property while attending college. The University does not insure student property and is not liable for losses or damage to property for any reason, including theft, fire, smoke, vandalism, water or other causes.

updated June 2019