A student looks forward to many things when moving off campus: not having to live in a beat-up one bedroom dorm for two, possibly having a private bathroom and no more pesky or overly protective university rules and RAs.
That’s the theory anyway.
Many students renting at Red Road Commons on 57th Avenue and 66th Street near the campus are finding that the landlord’s rules can be a bit strict and pesky too, as they live under the watchful eyes of the management and its live-in security.
“Recently [Red Road Commons] have made it so that you can’t go to the other floors in the elevator with your key fob,” said senior Steve Levy, who has been a resident of Red Road for two years. “They’ve made it so difficult for you to even visit your friends in the building.”
Students said that in response to their complaints, management told them they could still visit friends by taking the staircases, but Levy responded that they have locked the staircase doors from the outside so residents can make it to the floor but cannot actually go inside.
“I don’t understand it because some people’s keys don’t work to go to other floors but mine still does,” said senior Ramona Cavanaugh, who has also been a resident of Red Road for two years. “My key works for every floor in every building except in building C; for that building I have to go to building E and take the skywalk over, but I can still get in.”
Although located directly across from the Coral Gables campus, the apartment complex was built in South Miami, in an area known to have seen criminal activity in past years. A representative from Red Road said it has a number of courtesy officers who help make the property more secure by roaming the complex and checking on the safety of the residents.
“I believe they have three or four police officers that live in the complex and do rounds to check on the residents,” Levy said. “They get special reserved parking and I believe discounted rent for doing it too.”
Management for Red Road Commons would not discuss the specifics of their rules.
“We have no security,” said Diego Sanchez, the manager of Red Road Commons. “We only have a couple of courtesy officers on site. Everyone forgets we have nothing to do with the university, we are not part of the campus.”
When asked about the student complaints regarding the apparent safety measures in the complex, Sanchez declined to comment further.
“So many of the rules are ridiculous,” Levy said. “And when we ask the management about them, they give no rhyme or reason.”
But in a complex of 700 residents, many of them UM students, and in a city where students are no strangers to armed robbers in the area and lockdowns on campus, even students agree some security measures are necessary and understandable.
The complex, first opened in 2009, offers installation of an alarm system for all of the first-floor apartments available for purchase. Residents say these are offered because there were thefts from residents in the past.
“I had some initial concerns about living on the first floor but they have dissipated,” said junior Alex Suvall, who moved into Red Road this August. “There is 24-hour police surveillance on duty and I feel comfortable.” He adds, however, that the alarm systems should not cost extra for students to use.
Although residents may feel that the rules at Red Road are overly cautious, they are still far more lenient than the rules applicable to on-campus dorms.
“I remember how the security checkpoint was such a nuisance at the dorms, especially waiting in long lines for residents to sign in guests after 10 p.m.,” Suvall said. “At Red Road, guests are welcome in the complex and don’t need an additional check in.”
According to the Housing and Residential Life Policies and Procedures, students living on campus may be required to show identification for themselves and their guests upon entering the dorm building between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m.
Students have restrictions on the number of guests they can have in their room, the length of time guests can be there and the times of the semester they can even have guests. On-campus rules also establish quiet hours and limit what students can have in their dorm room as well as how students decorate their rooms.
In addition, on-campus residents are subject to inspections in their rooms for violations of the policies of Housing and Residential Life as well as public laws.
Megan Terilli may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.