Complex prices are fair, say owners

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    By SCOTT REED

    High prices and the low quality of housing in some student complexes have some students flustered, but administrators think the benefits of BYU-approved housing outweigh the costs.

    Brandi Brame, 20, a junior from St. Helens, Ore., majoring in health education, said she doesn’t think the price being paid is worth the cost.

    “If you look at the apartments we live in, the apartments aren’t worth it. The apartments aren’t kept as nice as they should for the price we pay,” she said.

    John Pace, manager of off-campus housing at BYU, said students expect their living experience at BYU to be the same as it was at home. Most students would be happier living in condos because they are newer, but they tend to be more expensive, he said.

    “One of the major problems is that most apartment complexes were built in the 60s and 70s,” Pace said. “We are dealing with the students of the 90s, students who come from nice homes.”

    Students are required to live in BYU approved housing, which some students feel is a disadvantage because the rates appear high.

    However, compared to Duke, North Carolina, University of California at Los Angeles, the University of Michigan and Harvard, housing costs at BYU are generally lower.

    One property owner in Provo said the average cost is about $225 a month to share a bedroom in an apartment with three to five other individuals.

    Pace said these units require more management and maintenance and since so many of these complexes are aging, they require a lot of assistance in making them better.”

    BYU requires students to live in approved housing in order to cultivate a spiritual environment for students. This is an advantage to the students, Pace said.

    “The thing students need to realize is that approved housing is a seasonal market. Kind of like Park City,” said Pace, who doesn’t think prices have gone out of control.

    “They have their busy months and their slow months. This is the same for the landlords. The months of September through May are busy for them. They lose a lot of money during the summer.”

    Many area apartments lower their rent by as much as $100 during the summer to have people live in their complexes.

    Pace said he feels students at BYU don’t realize the opportunity they have. For example, Pace said the apartments tend to be larger and have more amenities than complexes for married couples in a traditional rental market.

    David Freeman, president of Glenwood Intermountain Properties, Inc., agreed students don’t realize the benefits of living in housing in Provo. He said at a place like the University of Utah, a student needs to put the contract in their name. If any problems arise, the students must take care of it themselves and sometimes get stuck with bills of other tenants.

    “This is the big misconception,” Freeman said. “Part of what you are paying for in the $225 a month is not having a year-long contract and not being responsible for other students who may not have the money to pay their part.

    “Another bonus is that if you have a problem with a roommate, you can go to the management and get help, where as if you sign a contract for your own place, you need to resolve the problem yourself.”

    At the UCLA, a one bedroom apartment costs about $315 plus utilities and furnishings. This also includes a 20 minute ride to get to campus.

    “At FSU, we have lots of apartment units and the market is very competitive,’ said Frank Cuevas, assistant director of assignment and contracts of housing at Florida State University.

    “Students can choose from very expensive to fairly affordable. Most recently, students have been relocating themselves to very luxurious apartment units.”

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