Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Opinion | Off-campus Housing is not always what it seems

CW / Riley Thompson
The Lofts at City Center

You may have noticed that your Crimson email has been getting flooded with flashy emails from different apartment complexes in the Tuscaloosa area. Or, maybe you have received way too many em

ails from your current apartment complex begging you to renew your lease, with measly incentives. 

Either way, leasing season has approached, and it won’t be stopping anytime soon.

Every off-campus apartment will try to convince you they are the best place to live. However, advertisements only show the positives. So, it’s important to do your own research before signing a lease.

Currently, the only group of students who are required to live on campus are incoming freshmen and RAs. In 2021, the University expected to exceed housing capacity due to the incoming freshman class being greater than the allotted beds available for use. As a result, students were encouraged to seek off-campus options. 

Many upper-classmen who planned to live on campus for the 2021-22 school year were then moved to The Lofts at City Center and East Edge Apartments. 

Of course, every apartment complex has its flaws and won’t be perfect. However, it becomes a different story when these complexes over-glorify and hype up the living situations with flashy deals and incentives like a month without rent or iPads. 

There are numerous options when looking to move off-campus, including fraternity and sorority houses, small homes or apartments.

Most students and their parents tend to look for safety, overall cleanliness and other things that would make them feel at home. To most, these things seem like basic needs in order to live, but certain apartment complexes turn a blind eye to these necessities.

“The gates are habitually broken, and they have never been closed or locked,” Carley Hott, a sophomore psychology major who is currently leasing at The Crimson, said. “There’s been black mold growing out of the vents and dishwasher and maintenance has refused to fix the issue.” 

Hott also said another safety issue that maintenance failed to address was her kitchen ceiling, which “is continuously dangling from the ceiling” and that “maintenance takes forever to come and fix it.”

Keyara Baker, a senior majoring in psychology, who lived at the Lofts at City Center expressed similar sentiments.

“It’s dirty, the halls are always full of vomit, dog poop, and trash,” Baker said. “Our apartment was broken into, and we put in a critical maintenance request a month before the lease expired because the front door wouldn’t shut and maintenance set an appointment for two weeks after our lease ended.”

One factor that’s often overlooked, yet is possibly the most important, is management. The manner in which managers and leasing officials respond to issues is a determining factor in how complexes are perceived.

Looking at reviews and ratings from current and previous tenants is a very surefire way to gauge just how positive or negative your off-campus experience will be before signing a lease.

Hott said The Crimson’s management “takes weeks to address issues,” and that “the general manager is very rude.” She also said the general manager asked for her to take down her “negative” Yelp review, regarding the quality of the complex.

Safety plays a crucial role in feeling secure in where you live. Look for apartments that have working security cameras, on-site security, and proper measures — like working gates — to ensure that you and all your property are well protected. 

While Hott and Baker’s experiences only provide two examples of negative living experiences at two different complexes, please do your own thorough, well-planned research on all apartments that you are considering, because things like this can happen at any one of them. 

Remember, home is where the heart is, and hopefully, that home won’t have roaches.

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