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Student residences

'You said', 'We will' 2018-19

In response to the feedback we have received from the Student Accommodation Survey, we will make the following improvements:

Deans Court

 

You said issues with communication with hall committees..

  • 2016/17/18 saw a vast improvement with monthly Residential experience meetings taking place

You said issues with enforcing good behaviour of all residents..

  • Recently we have seen an increase in issues raised regarding shared spaces we work very hard to resolve these issues informal however recently we have had to take more formal action.

You said issues with heating..

  • Our normal heating provision is 3 hours in the morning and 6 hours in the evening, taking account that many residents are at lectures, classes etc. This is adjusted as weather gets colder or during revision and exam times when residents spend more time in hall. There have been a few issues raised with heating that have quickly been resolved by our porters or Estates team.

You said issues with recylcing options..

  • We work collaboratively with our colleagues in Estates to improve recycling within our halls – we welcome suggestions from residents to make recycling even better

You said rooms are minimalistic - space for a sofa would make rooms more comfortable..

  • Unfortunately, bedroom size cannot be altered however we have recently upgraded the sofas and chairs in common room  
Agnes Blackadder Hall

 

You said issues with freedom to move furniture in rooms..

  • There is not very much space in bedrooms to move furniture, we prefer it not to be moved to minimise any damage to walls etc.

You said issues with being too harsh on room inspections..

  • Room inspections are only carried out once a month. We do not feel these are too harsh and if you are unsure of any of the requirements please come and speak to us.

You said issues with heating..

  • Our normal heating provision is 3 hours in the morning and 6 hours in the evening, taking account that many residents are at lectures, classes etc. This is adjusted as weather gets colder or during revision and exam times when residents spend more time in hall.  There have been a few issues with heating which caused air locks in pipes and the noise. Our estates team and porters checked radiators to resolve this.

You said issues with the package area..

  • The packages on the table are all ones that have not required a signature. We have done it like this for a few years and there have been no issues. Any package that requires a signature is kept behind reception and an email notification is sent out. There are plans for a new reception which include a new room/ area for parcels to be stored. This will hopefully start in the next few months.

You said you would like cleaning staff for the rooms..

  • Unfortunately, ABH does not provide a cleaning service for bedrooms

You said issues with the hot water for showers..

  • Currently a project in place to upgrade heating and hot water system

 You said issues with noise control..

  • If you have any issues with noise during the day, please report to reception or management team. After 7pm noise issues should be raised with the Wardens. You can also call the porter who can assist.

You said issues with new room lockout charge/ change rules halfway through the term..

  • You will only be charged on the 3rd occasion that you are locked out. There were new discipline rules this year and lockout charges were assigned for hall management to deal with, unfortunately we did not start them as soon as we should have done.

You said issues with draft in the rooms..

  • I am very sorry this was what you were told the issue should be reported to our Estates team to see if sealant could be fixed or replaced.

You said issues with study bedrooms are unable to use..

  • Study rooms are all in use now and have been since end of November doors all are opened at 8.00am and locked at 11.00pm .

You said issues with power supply in kitchens goes off after 10 minutes..

  • This is a safety feature in all kitchens to minimise the risk of fires. 



John Burnet Hall

 

You said issues with the availability of porters..

  • We appreciate there may be times when people call at the office and there is nobody there to help them. If this is the case there will always be a notice on the door with a contact number on which either the Manager or Porter can be contacted. The number given goes through to a mobile phone so time should be allowed for this to connect. As a further improvement we are making alterations to working patterns which we hope will improve availability of staff when needed. It should also be pointed out that there will always be a member of catering staff on site between 8.00am and 7.00pm and they can be contacted in an emergency if no Manager or Porter can be contacted.

You said issues with heating times and cleanes should clean ensuite bathrooms..

  • A number of factors are considered when the heating times are set such as the prevailing weather, season, times of highest occupancy in the building etc., but we always have the ability to adjust this if it is necessary. If you have concerns you should raise these at the time with any member of staff or Manager. Throughout University accommodation it is the responsibility of the occupants of ensuite accommodation to clean their own shower rooms.

You said issues with advertising for local business in rooms and by email..

  • We would never disclose any resident’s email address to anyone so, if you have been contacted in this way, it was not through R&BS. We do not allow flyers or any type of advertising to be put in bedrooms or under bedroom doors although occasionally students will be paid to do this without our knowledge or permission. This year a local restaurant gifted vouchers for free pizzas which were included in the welcome packs in rooms but this was a ‘one off’ and may not be repeated.

You said issues with laundry not being open 24/7, bigger kitchen lockers and the option for self-catering in the annexe..

  • Unfortunately there are bedrooms directly above the laundry and that is why we cannot keep it open 24/7. This is a fully catered Hall so the size of the kitchen lockers are appropriate for this, and if you require self catering accommodation this needs to be stated on your accommodation application.

You said hall would be better off with modernisation and refurbishment such as window frames..

  • There is planned window replacement/refurbishment for the first available period when business allows.

You said consult students with regards to preferred heating times..

  • We are happy for you to come to discuss this with us. You can also raise this via the student committee who will bring it to our attention.  You can also do this through Students Association President.

 You said provide residents guides upon arrival..

  • We encourage people to report any problems to us as soon as they can. If it is something we can do in-house we will attend to it as soon as we can. If it is a problem which needs to be dealt with by our Estates Department we report it right away and they will attend to it as soon as they can.

You said quicker/better improvements to recurring problems e.g. toilets not flushing properly ..

  • You will only be charged on the 3rd occasion that you are locked out. There were new discipline rules this year and lockout charges were assigned for hall management to deal with, unfortunately we did not start them as soon as we should have done.

You said issues with heating in the annexe as the mornings are really cold..

We are going to monitor the heating levels (minimum and maximum) over the next few weeks and feed this information back to our Estates Department for discussion about resolving this issue.

University owned and managed properties

 

You said issues with noise..

  • Monitoring and investigation of any received comments or complaints regarding noise or disruption to residents with appropriate advice and assistance issued to deal with any problems of this nature.

You said issues with how to get help..

  • Updated information/easy guide on how to get help has been introduced for all residents.

  • University Estates & Security staff provide an on-call response to any maintenance emergencies that occur out with our normal working hours.

  • Office space has been created at Angus & Stanley Smith House allowing Property Assistants to have a daily presence on site.

  • Student Accommodation staff are available to assist with all enquiries, maintenance requests etc. and emails are/will be issued to residents confirming any access requirements by either University staff or their appointed tradesmen.

You said issues with recycling and environmental..

  • Clothes drying facilities are available and additional outdoor rotary dryers have been provided as required.
  • Environmental, Energy and Sustainability advice and information is provided on the University web pages, and in the tenancy information packs which are issued to tenants with house keys on arrival. 
  • Coloured recycling containers are being purchased for distribution in the University owned properties.
  • Food waste recycling is to be reviewed with the Estates Office Environmental team.
  • Waste disposal facilities are monitored regularly at each University owned site.

You said issues with communication and access to properties by staff and contractors..

  • We aim to ensure that we have good communication channels with our tenants regarding all required access to their accommodation and also if a matter requires further investigation or works. We try to keep them advised of progress and up to date with developments. 
  • We aim to carry out as many Estates contactors maintenance visits during vacation periods where possible and when this is not possible to schedule these for dates when our own staff are on site carrying out our own weekly checks thus reducing disturbance to our residents.
  • University staff are required to visit regularly to carry out Health & Safety checks to ensure compliance with current legislation, University accommodation contract terms & conditions and the welfare of our residents.   
  • Liaison with University Estates Office to ensure reactive response to maintenance issues that occur in University owned accommodation.
  • Emails are being introduced as a follow up to the tenancy renewal application letters for the University managed properties which are issued in early January, just to remind residents that these are to be completed and returned to us ahead of the requested date and that an email application is also acceptable.

You said issues with marketing and advertising.

  • University Property Management Scheme is promoted on our web pages, using the electronic message board sited in The Students Union, St Marys Place, using the street ‘A board’ Information in North Street, the new signage on the Property Services vehicle and in the local press as required.
  • Student Accommodation Services and Residences staff held an open day and drop in sessions at various locations, to advise returning students on the application process and the choice of properties available for them.  
  • Continue to provide up to date property information for tenants ahead of the accommodation application stage, following the viewing of the properties that tenants are interested in applying for and then at their lease signing meeting following their successful allocation.

You said issues with cycle storage..

  • Bicycle storage is already available on site at Angus & Stanley.

 You said issues with laundry..

  • The ratio of  laundry facilities to students is above average at Angus and Stanley and the contractor will not install additional machines in this case

You said issues with heating..

  • All University owned properties are fitted with economical systems and controls which the residents can use to turn on/off the heating provision at any time. 
  • Properties leased by University must have adequate heating and lighting provision prior to any tenancy starting. 
  • Student Accommodation staff are available to assist with all enquiries and to show the residents how to operate the heating systems. University heating engineers and appointed University contractors are also available to show tenants the most economical way for a system to be operated should this be required.
  • Tenants are provided with back up/emergency heaters as appropriate should there be any breakdown in the heating system which cannot be immediately resolved. 

You said issues with improved facilities..

  • All managed properties are inspected to ensure properties meet statutory requirements with regards to Health & Safety and compliance with the University’s leasing requirements. Reports sent to landlords as necessary. 
  • Constant communication with landlords regarding possible upgrades as required in relation to housing stock. 
  • All properties are checked for cleanliness etc. ahead of new tenancies starting and in readiness for new arrivals. Inventories, accurate meter readings are also taken and provided.
  • Stanley Smith House and Angus House refurbishment has been completed, with improved shower and kitchen facilities now present. 
  • Provision of 2 disabled access bedrooms and facilities are now available within Angus & Stanley.
  • Gregory Place complete refurbishment now provides postgraduate accommodation for 14 students. 

You said issues with maintenance and repairs..

  • Prompt reactive response to any maintenance issues and repair requests raised by all tenants occupying all properties to ensure we continue to meet our current service levels and commitments. 
  • Our aim is for any maintenance request to be checked and completed whenever possible on the same day the matter is reported to Student Accommodation Services. 
  • Student Accommodation staff are available to assist with all enquiries, maintenance requests etc.
  • University staff are required to visit regularly to carry out Health & Safety checks to ensure compliance with current legislation and emails are and will be issued to residents confirming any access requirements by either University staff or their appointed tradesmen.
  • University Estates & Security staff provide an on-call response to any maintenance emergencies that occur out with our normal working hours.
  • Liaison with University Estates Office to ensure that there is a reactive response to maintenance issues that occur in University Owned Accommodation. 

You said issues with pre-arrivals information and arrivals weekend..

  • Property photographs and tenancy information is regularly reviewed and updated for circulation to new and prospective tenants. 
  • Copies of inventories are provided upon request at application stage, during lease signing interviews and also for information ahead of a tenant’s arrival.
  • Use of University web site for circulation of property information and availability and Student Pad software as appropriate. 
  • Continued preparation of current/updated property inventories and information for inclusion with tenancy information packs which are issued to tenants with keys when tenancy commences.
  • Information, assistance and advice in relation to council tax liability/exemption is provided to all residents on request, on the University web pages, in the Frequently Asked Questions section and is also discussed at the lease signing interviews for the managed properties.
  • Arrivals information is provided along with how and where to collect keys.  
  • Maps are available for tenants when keys are collected.
  • We are reviewing our Out of Hours Arrivals procedures to improve student experience
  • Student Accommodation staff are on duty during arrivals weekend to provide trollies, to assist residents with their luggage into their rooms and provide any directions.   
  • Staff already lower the bollard to provide access to the Angus & Stanley car park to allow vehicles to use the very limited space available for dropping off/unloading as close the residence as possible