Many University of Richmond students planning to attend beach week this year have made the switch from staying in houses to booking rooms at the Prince Resort.
The hotel, located in the town of Cherry Grove in North Myrtle Beach, S.C., is quickly becoming the favorite housing destination for Richmond students who flock there during the first week of May.
Stephanie Foxwood, a representative from the reservations department of the Prince Resort, acknowledged that student bookings had increased from previous years.
"We have a lot more Richmond kids staying with us during beach week this season," Foxwood said. "We don't mind it though -- we've never had a problem with that group in the past, as most damages were minimal, and the students were pretty respectful."
Though many may have switched to the Prince for convenience and affordability, several students have attributed their decisions to fear of eviction and being held liable for damages.
Last year, more than five groups of 10 students or more were evicted from their respective beach week residences and were left with the choice to find alternative housing or go home.
Emma Phillips, a junior staying at the Prince Resort this year, said she had made the switch because of past negative stays at Myrtle Beach.
"I have had to put my credit card down on houses in the past," Phillips said. "Due to the increase of evictions in the last two years, I just wasn't willing to take the risk a third time in a row."
Ryan Soos, a senior planning to attend his fourth and final beach week, said he had made the switch to the Prince because of an altercation with one of the local realty firms.
"The rental company we used last year sent a landlord to check on our house all throughout the week, and there weren't any problems," Soos said. "When I got back to Richmond, I received a phone call saying that the house I stayed in had more than $1,600 worth of alleged damages."
Soos said that since his name had been on the lease, he had been held accountable for the money and was ordered to pay the fines by 6 p.m. the day of the phone call -- or face criminal charges.
"Luckily an alum in my fraternity was able to lend us the money," Soos said. "No legal action was taken, but I switched to the Prince just to be safer. It will be great to come back to a bed that's made every day, and hopefully I won't be facing any sudden charges."
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Leslie Cox, Cherry Grove Beach Houses employee, said the company rented all 22 of its properties to Richmond students every year. When asked about the protocol of evictions and tallying damages, Cox had no comment.
Not all students have had trouble keeping their beach houses for the full week, though. Taylor Durland, a junior who stayed at the Prince freshman year, has opted to rent a house from the same company he used last year.
"I'm not worried about running into any problems," Durland said. "I've dealt with the same landlady for the past year or so, and she understands the overall concept of beach week. As long as we're respectful, she doesn't have a problem with us."
Phillips said that the problem may not be the relationships with local rental companies, but rather that Richmond students overpopulate the Cherry Grove area to a point of disruption.
"The weird thing about Richmond is that we're the only school that goes to North Myrtle and only stays in Cherry Grove," Phillips said. "Other schools spread to South Myrtle or a less concentrated area. The landlords know exactly where we stay, so it's easy for them to evict us when we're all in the same area."
Contact staff writer Laura Allen at firstname.lastname@example.org
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