stop increasing rent and charges, MRS!
Every year, Monash Residential Services (MRS) raises rent for its Clayton Halls residents by a dollar a day, application fees by $5, annual amenities fees by $25, and internet and phone connection fees by $10 per semester. This results, each year, in every one of the 933 students living in MRS Clayton Halls paying hundreds of dollars more than they did the previous year. Rent and fees at other MRS residences at Gippsland, Caulfield, Peninsula and Berwick have also been consistently out of line with rent in the common market, and way out of line with the Consumer Price Index (CPI). In 2002, students on the concession rate at Clayton Halls of Residence were paying $4,309.50 for a full year\'s rent and all other charges (excluding phone usage only). In 2004, they were paying $4,965 (excluding phone usage). In 2007, they are paying $6088 (excluding internet and phone usage), $1778.50 more than just five years before. To give more recent figures, in 2006 students on the concession rate at Clayton Halls of Residence were paying $5,575 for a full year\'s rent and all other charges (excluding internet and phone usage). That means there has been a $513 increase per resident in 2007. Multiply that by 933, the number of student living in Clayton Halls, and you will find that, from Clayton Halls students alone, MRS is taking $478,629 more this year than they were just last year. Then, compare that to the 2002 figures. Remember that $1778.50 increase per resident $1778.50 times 933 is $1,659,340.50. That\'s how much more money MRS is charging Clayton Halls students this year, compared to what they charged in 2002. And that\'s just Clayton Halls students - there are two other residences at Clayton Campus and ten other residences at the other Victorian campuses that charge different rates, rates which have been increasing at similarly high levels. More than a thousand other students live in these residences, so the revenue MRS gets from Clayton Halls is less than 50% of its total income. Over the same period of time that MRS charges have been increasing dramatically, the level of service has dropped, with maintenance card response times now being so slow that any one hall there is always at least one, and usually several, appliances not working (e.g. washing machines). By the time one is fixed, another one breaks. Sometimes maintenance requests are not responded to at all, so that many residents don\'t even bother to put in maintenance cards, because they don\'t believe MRS will do anything to fix the problem. While it\'s understandable that with that many residents living in such a small space and using such a small number of appliances things are bound to malfunction, that was the case even when rent was cheap, yet maintenance services were better then. If we are going to be charged more every year, services should increase, NOT decrease. Also, RA privileges have been cut dramatically. For example, as recent as 2005, RAs got a 50% rent discount and 20 free meals a month from the Mess Hall. Now, they get a $70 rent discount off the ensuite room rate, and that is all. According to the 2006 census, Monash Clayton\'s personal postcode, 3800, is the poorest postcode in Victoria. The only people who live there are MRS residents. It is unacceptable that the people living in Victoria\'s poorest area are forced to pay rent so much higher than on the mainstream market, and which is continually hiked by such a large amount every single year. MRS, we, the residents, call on you to please stop raising rent and fees. We cannot afford it. If MRS\'s costs are rising, you should call on the university, the government or external organisations to help you, not your financially challenged residents. But your costs cannot possibly be rising by as much as your charges are rising anyway. You cannot justify raising charges by that much every year. We demand that you stop. Stop right now. And please remember that you wouldn\'t exist without us, and if you keep this up no students will be able to afford to live at MRS anymore, and then you\'ll be in trouble.