Village residents talk rent increases, parking

Daily Sundial

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Some University Village Apartments residents are upset. This semester, rent in the UVA increased 8 percent, and while residents are now required to purchase a parking pass to park in the UVA lot, they have had to park across the street during the reconstruction of that lot.

UVA resident Laura Foster, senior liberal studies and special education major, is a single mother with a 4-year-old son.

Grateful to have been accepted to CSUN, she moved into the apartments two years ago from Nevada. Her rent was $640, and now it’s more than $700, Foster said.

Residents pay $726 a month for a one-bedroom apartment or $953 a month for a two-bedroom apartment.

“I understand that compared to other apartments in the area, we pay little rent,” Foster said. “But as a single mom, I am trying to show my son how to be strong, and they are making it very difficult to get by.”

Student Housing and Conference Services, which runs the UVA, receives no state support and operates solely on the rent it brings in from students. In order to cover costs caused by the recent California budget crisis, building maintenance and the $2 million Student Housing pays in mortgages, the rent had to be increased, said Tim Trevan, director of Student Housing and Conference Services.

Rent has not only increased for UVA residents; residents of the University Park Apartments will also pay the 8 percent rent increase for the 2005-06 academic year, according to an e-mail from Claire Davis, manager of conference and hospitality services for student housing.

UPA residents are traditionally single, without children and live in a shared living environment much like a dorm. UVA residents are often married with children, and frequently work at the university or attend classes.

After management of the UVA parking lot was handed over to Parking and Transportation Services by Student Housing over summer, Parking Services decided to have the residents pay for parking like anywhere else on campus, Trevan said.

“There are different parking permit rates designated for students, faculty and staff,” said Capt. Alfredo Fernandez from Parking and Transportation Services. “For students, the cost is the same as parking on campus, which is $126 per semester, or $252 annually.”

Many residents have expressed frustration because, due to reconstruction of the parking lots scheduled from August through mid-September; they have had to park elsewhere after having paid for parking.

“They have me running down Zelzah (Avenue) with my son in my arms,” Foster said. “They don’t care.”

Monica Duke, unclassified graduate student, is also a single mother. She lives in the UVA with her two children. Seven months pregnant, she thinks the parking rules are especially unfair to her and handicapped residents.

“They should offer some kind of shuttle service,” she said. “They have strict rules, but offer no alternatives.”

The shuttle that stops on the corner of Lindley Avenue and Lassen Street for the UPA residents is available to UVA residents as well, Fernandez said.

“It is a short walk for them to take – advantage of the shuttle service,” he said.

UVA residents have the option of parking in the south-side parking lots at Lassen Street and Zelzah Avenue with a permit. They can also park on the street.

Aside from parking tickets and getting her car booted, Duke described a time when she was almost was ticketed for parking her car on the apartment’s lawn to unload heavy groceries.

“I’m seven months pregnant. My children are little,” Duke said. “We can’t haul heavy Costco groceries from across the street in the hot sun.”

Fernandez said UVA residents are being asked to do what any other students on campus are asked to do.

The UVA consists of 117 units that are rented to tenants.

The waiting list for the UVA fluctuates daily. For the past several weeks, there have been approximately 100 people on the waiting list for the one-bedroom apartments, and 80 people for the two-bedroom apartments.

Generally, units become available this time of year, so as tenants move out, those on the waiting list are offered spaces, Davis said.

Eligibility for the UVA favors students. They make up 75 percent of the residents and the other 25 percent are faculty, Trevan said.

However, in the future, the UVA apartments will not exist.

The recently adopted campus Master Plan that shows that close to 10 years from now, the UVA will be torn down and replaced with townhouses and condos that will be available to purchase and apartments that will be available to rent, Trevan said.

Ariana Rodriguez can be reached at ariana.rodriguez@csun.edu.