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Homeowner: Mini dorms a growing problem

Posted: 7:44 AM, Mar 25, 2016
Updated: 2016-03-25 14:45:29Z
SAN DIEGO -- College area homeowners are complaining that off campus San Diego State University housing, known as mini dorms, are continuing to generate major problems for the neighborhood.
 
Patrick Maroney spoke to Team 10 Thursday about some of the issues he has dealt with, from late night parties to trash in the streets. He said on one occasion he had friends over for dinner when a college student began “urinating onto my house.”
 
Maroney says battling the mini dorm issue get “pretty tough sometimes.”
 
Mini dorms are off-campus housing rented to at least six people. In the College area, the homes are often rented to students. Maroney says the homes are rented for about $6,000 per house, which are often a deal for the multiple students splitting a home.
 
“I'd estimate about 50 percent of the homes on my street are mini dorms,” Maroney said.
 
Mini dorms are legal if the homeowner gets the proper permit. Maroney says part of the problem is students not respecting the neighborhood.
 
“It's really become a big after hours issue with parties and code enforcement neighborhood issues for noise particularly,” Maroney said.
 
Sometimes, it can lead to bigger problems. A fire on Tipton Street in December broke out at a home converted to a mini dorm. The renters were not students, but Team 10 uncovered that the homeowner faced years of violations, from zoning codes to unpermitted additions in the home.
 
Maroney does not believe there are enough resources to deal with the issues.
 
A City of San Diego spokesperson released the number of mini dorm complaints over the past few years:
 
* Fiscal Year 2014: 98 complaints
 
* Fiscal Year 2015: 121 complaints
 
* Fiscal Year 2016 (from July to March): 81 complaints
 
About a quarter of all complaints are in the College area.
 
Maroney believes nearby SDSU should help transition students to living in the community.
 
“They’ve done nothing to proactively deal with students rotating into the community,” Maroney said.
 
He cites other universities, like Georgetown, which has an Office of Neighborhood Life.
 
“[The students] have no education about what it means to live in the community,” Maroney said.
 
A SDSU spokesperson released this statement to Team 10:
“We support the city's efforts to control their residential ordinances. But we do not get involved with how individual home owners choose to rent out their property. We have been, in recent years, constructing more on campus housing and amenities in an effort to keep our students closer to campus, which, among other things, has proven to lead to more successful college careers.”