What Is Crimson Choice

The Inspection Process and the Crimson Choice Designation

Criteria Issue Reporting

Participation by Property Owners

Tenant Rights

 

What Is Crimson Choice

What is Crimson Choice?

Crimson Choice is an educational program of The University of Alabama within The University of Alabama Public Safety organization. We work with the local community to provide our students and their parents with information that can help them make better-educated choices about off-campus housing.

Does a Crimson Choice designation guarantee safety and security?

UA can never guarantee that accidents and criminal activity will not occur. Crimson Choice is an education program designed to help students and their parents make more informed decisions about off-campus housing options. Rental owners remain solely responsible for the operation, physical condition and maintenance of their properties. Neither Crimson Choice nor The University of Alabama guarantee or warrant the safety or security of any properties participating in the program.  Safety and security in any given situation depends on multiple factors not the least of which is the responsibility of all persons to make informed decisions and use of practices. The reviews that are conducted are limited in nature; do not purport to find every potential hazard or violation; and are based upon conditions at the time of inspection.

Does Crimson Choice apply to apartments only?

Owners of apartments, homes, duplexes, condos and other residential rental options can choose to participate in Crimson Choice.

Are you encouraging students to live only in Crimson Choice properties?

Students need to make off-campus decisions that work best for their unique situations. However, we do encourage them to use the criteria (available on the Crimson Choice Web site) to help them make more informed decisions about their off-campus options.

Some properties displaying the Crimson Choice designation haven't finished construction. How is this possible?

If a property owner wished to enroll a property in the Crimson Choice Program, a Crimson Choice inspector can review the construction blueprints and confirm they align with the Crimson Choice criteria. At that point the property can be conditionally enrolled in Crimson Choice, and display the Crimson Choice logo. Then within 30 days of occupancy, an onsite inspection of the property will be performed by Crimson Choice inspectors validating what was represented on the blueprints was installed as drawn.

Does Crimson Choice work with the Off-Campus Association (OCA)?

The OCA is a non-profit organization that helps students with utility connections and deposits. It is not connected with Crimson Choice or the University, but is a valuable resource for students.

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The Inspection Process and the Crimson Choice Designation

What does Crimson Choice look for in properties that wish to enroll?

We use more than 50 different criteria to enroll properties. For a complete listing, click here.

Does the property have to pass all the criteria to be designated a Crimson Choice property?

That is certainly our goal. However, there are several criteria that must be met to pass the inspection.

Does the property owner have a chance to make repairs so the property can pass inspection?

Yes. Crimson Choice is a voluntary program.

Can a property lose the Crimson Choice designation?

Yes. A property can lose the Crimson Choice designation if it fails the annual inspection or issue reports are not appropriately addressed.

Will you inspect all apartments in a complex?

If the complex has five or fewer units, our goal is to inspect each unit. In larger complexes, we will inspect a percentage of the total apartments for each floor plan. Our inspectors also evaluate the grounds, talk to tenants and spend time with the on-site manager and/or maintenance staff during inspection visits.

Alabama’s new tenant law (which became effective in January 2007) requires property owners to give tenants at least 48 hours advance notice before entering a dwelling, which would be problematic in larger apartment complexes. And, of course, non-consenting tenants may have rights to refuse inspections.

Will students be notified if their off-campus housing loses its Crimson Choice designation?

Since we don’t have access to a list of tenants in a specific location, it is not possible to notify students if a property loses its Crimson Choice designation. However, properties would not be able to display the Crimson Choice designation on-site or in advertising. And, students will be able to check the Crimson Choice Web site for an up-to-date list of properties that have passed the inspection.

If a property is not listed on the Crimson Choice Web site or is not designated as a Crimson Choice property, does that mean it failed the inspection?

Not necessarily. Since participation in the program is voluntary, the property owner could have decided not to participate.

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Criteria Issue Reporting

Will Crimson Choice help with maintenance issues, such as leaky faucets or wet carpet?

No, Crimson Choice will help students make better-educated decisions about where they choose to live. Crimson Choice cannot assist with maintenance issues.

What if my apartment has a Crimson Choice designation, but my landlord won’t fix something that’s on the list of criteria?

Students should go to the Crimson Choice Web site and submit a Criteria Issue reporting form. Crimson Choice inspectors will follow up with the property owner/manager. Students will need to work directly with their property owner for maintenance issues.

Will you still investigate concerns if/after a property loses its Crimson Choice designation?

Since this is a voluntary program, we will not investigate concerns when/if property owners decide not to participate.

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Participation by Property Owners

If a property owner has several different properties, are all properties Crimson Choice?

Not necessarily, each unique property will need to be inspected individually.

How many property owners are participating?

That number changes frequently, as property owners become aware of the program and inspections are completed. We encourage students and their parents to check the Crimson Choice Web site often, for the most up-to-date list.

How have property owners reacted to the program?

Property owners generally see this as an opportunity to help students make more informed decisions about off-campus housing, and to receive additional positive exposure for their rental properties.

What if my landlord doesn’t want to participate?

We encourage students to use the criteria (available on the Web site) to help them make more informed decisions about their off-campus options.

Do you need all property owners to participate? What will you do if property owners decide not to participate?

We want our students to live in off-campus housing that is better-maintained and more secure, so we encourage all students to use the list of criteria to evaluate off-campus housing options.

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Tenant Rights

Should I read the entire lease?

YES! Read the lease before you sign anything, we cannot emphasize this enough. The lease is a legal binding contract. You have rights as a tenant; the landlord has rights as a property owner. You need to understand the extent of the agreement you are entering into.

Do students have any financial or legal recourse if a property loses its designation after they move in, or the property owner/manager won’t fix something that’s on the list of criteria?

Since the property owner’s participation is voluntary, there are no guarantees that the complex will maintain its Crimson Choice designation. However, the Alabama tenant law that went into effect in January 2007 gives tenants several avenues of recourse in matters of maintenance and life safety issues.

Who can I contact if I have questions about leases, rent utilities and other issues related to living off campus?

Alabama has a new Landlord tenant law that went into effect Jan. 1, 2007. The Alabama Tenants Handbook provides you with valuable information before you sign a lease. Click here for a free PDF version of the booklet.

Where can I find out about local housing ordinances and codes?

Student Affairs maintains a Web site called neighbors.ua.edu that links to local ordinances and codes related to off-campus housing. You may also contact the City of Tuscaloosa, or review its Web site.

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