Full House

7 July 2017

A new student accommodation facility will be built by the University of Melbourne in partnership with student housing operator UniLodge, a company whose housing facilties students have described as overpriced and unsanitary.

The Bouverie Street facility is the University’s response to an unmet demand in student housing, and aims to provide 6,000 accommodation places for students in locations situated within walking distance of the Parkville campus by 2020.

Project Lead on Major Projects in the Policy and Projects Division of the University’s Chancellery, Alex Kennedy, said the University’s goal is to provide accommodation that is high quality, safe and affordable.

The current price of a studio apartment at another UniLodge facility on Bouverie street is $373 per week for 12 months. The University has not specified what students will be charged to live in its latest development. Kennedy has said that the Bouverie Street development will be “targeted at a particularly affordable end of the market”.

An anonymous student found that the cost of rent at a UniLodge facility in the city overly expensive.

“A lot find it expensive, including me, a lot of my friends think with the same price, they can live in a much newer, better place but without a good location which is near campus,” he said.

According to UniLodge occupant and student at the University of Melbourne, Jun Wen Chan, the standard of cleanliness at the building where he stays may not be the same as what the University is striving for.

“At night, or even on quiet afternoons, you can find mice running along corridors, sneaking around, and picking up food scraps in the kitchen. Cockroaches roam around everywhere during warmer seasons. Bathrooms sometimes sprout fungi in crevices.”

Despite the conditions in which the students live Chan emphasised the strong feeling of community amongst the students.

President of University of Melbourne Student Union, Yan Zhuang, said student housing is an area where studentsare easily exploited.

“UMSU believes that not only does there need to be a wider range of affordable student accommodation, but that those providing such accommodation need to be held accountable to the standards they purport to deliver.”

From 2019, students will be able to apply for accommodation through a centralised process which will enable students to select preferred locations, price points and accommodation types.

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