Former Unicomm residents have been waiting as long as three months to receive a refund of the $250 bond they paid at the beginning of their 2005 residency.
One 2005 Unicomm resident first contacted the office about his bond before Christmas, but it wasn’t repaid until two weeks ago. He says the refund process “took a lot longer than expected”. “There are heaps of people who really needed the money,” he says, “and a lot of people haven’t got it back”.
Another former resident – still waiting on his bond – says some students contacted the Unicomm office three times before their deposit was refunded. Students were told they’d been ‘put on the list’ or that the refund was on its way. He says this has been especially unfair for the 100-150 ex-Unicomm international students who can not easily contact the office from overseas. To his knowledge, all 2005 Unicomm residents faced the same problem.
Unicomm Manager Liz Iverson says that all bonds have now been released and that the delay was beyond Unicomm’s control. She is quick to add that the bonds have mostly been refunded in full because there was minimal damage to the hostel last year. The 2005 residents were a “brilliant” group of students and they “should be proud of themselves”.
Nick Merrett, Manager of Vic Uni’s Accommodation Service, says hostels should aim to refund bonds six weeks after residency ends. However, she says that refunds sometimes take longer to arrange as damage needs to be confirmed and tradespeople need to be hired. Merrett understands that only a few former Unicomm residents received their refunds late, due to the unavailability of tradespeople to carry out repairs. She says that halls of residence try to keep student costs down as much as possible – for example, by paying for repairs themselves – but this can sometimes delay certain processes, such as bond repayments.