Proposed law limiting minidorms leads to uncertainty in student living

A proposed law banning minidorms in residential Tucson areas has left students searching for housing alternatives.

Minidorms are usually defined as houses occupied by five or more unrelated people and are a common destination for students. The houses are a way for large groups of students to continue living together past their years in on-campus dormitories.

“Minidorms appeal to many students because they offer a neighborhood environment and the social interaction provided by a community of other students,” said Steffanie Kramer, the leasing and marketing manger at NorthPointe Apartments.

It is estimated that 85 percent of students at the University of Arizona, or up to 33,000 students, live off-campus, according to Iran Andrade, an employee for the University of Arizona Off Campus Housing Services.

Of these 30,000 students, about half live in houses, according to Andrade.

Andrade believes that students live in minidorms because “they like the fact that they get to live with more friends. A lot of people are not from Arizona, so it’s for comfort purposes.”

Jake Landsiedel, a UA freshman who was planning on living off-campus the rest of his time at the UA, believes that the proposed law would change his future living plans.

“If that law comes into effect, it would probably force me to move into an apartment when I would have probably lived in one of those houses,” Landsiedel said.

Steffanie Kramer agrees that it would likely cause an increase in student occupancy at apartment complexes.

“Students will still want to be close to campus and close to other students, so big apartment rental complexes will be the alternative,” she said.

Critics of the proposed law believe that there are two main targets for the proposed law: illegal immigrants and students.

It is believed that students living in minidorms are targeted because they are more likely to be prone to noise violations. However, Iran Andrade believes that this should not be a basis for a new citywide law.

“The main concern is irrelevant,” Andrade said. “Renters need to know the codes.” Cherisse Patnode, a UA freshman, feels targeted by the proposed law.

“Students are not the only ones who make noise,” Patnode said. “There are plenty of other people over the age of 30 that are making noise and having parties too.”

“It’s stupid that they would make this rule because of noise or something,” said Jake Landsiedel in agreement. “It isn’t only students in houses that are loud.”

There are plenty of alternatives to housing besides large group housing. Andrade believes apartments, duplexes, studios, guest homes and shared homes are the popular alternatives to living in houses.

“It’s all a matter of personal preference,” Andrade said. “In an apartment, you have preset luxuries. However, families like the comfort of their kids living in larger groups.”

Note: This assignment was completed in my Journalism 205: Reporting the News class.