Residents Info

 

GENERAL INFORMATION FOR RESIDENTS OF ASTON BROOK GREEN
An A4 pdf copy of this information can be downloaded HERE


Before we get down to the day-to-day stuff, here are SIX CARDINAL RULES that you need to know -

BALL GAMES
Ball games are categorically banned from being played anywhere on the site because of the disturbance to other residents and the risk of damage to CCTV equipment and fibre optic cabling that supports the ABG internet service.

SMOKING
As per Section (29) in your tenancy agreement, SMOKING IS NOT ALLOWED in your flat or on the site within 3 metres of any building.

SOFT FURNISHINGS
You are not permitted to bring your own soft furniture to Aston Brook Green (including sofas, arm chairs, futons, etc.).  This is due to fire regulations.  If sofas are found in your flat they will be removed at a cost of £150.00 (which is what a small skip costs).

BEDS
You are also not permitted to change the bed base without the specific permission of the Accommodation Services Manager.   If you think your mattress needs changing, please ask the Accommodation Services Manager.

ELECTRIC FANS OR CONVECTOR HEATERS
Electric fan or convector heaters are not permitted at Aston Brook Green because of an insurance stipulation.  If you use a fan/convector heater on the site, our insurance is null and void and you will be responsible for any damage resulting from a fire caused by an electric fan.  If you need to supplement the heating, you must use a portable oil-filled electric heater.   Please note that the use of these appliances is far more expensive than using the flat’s own central heating system. 

RECYCLING
Please do not put any type of plastic bags, bin liners, carrier bags, thin plastic wrapping or the likes into the recycling bins on the car park.

This booklet has been produced to let you know how the site is run and how to get things done.   I apologise if this comes across as a big list of ‘dos and don’ts', but it is meant to make your stay at ABG trouble-free and can save you time and money if you read it thoroughly.

Aston Brook Green was developed from 58 run-down properties some 35 years ago.   The properties are owned by Midland Heart Housing Association Ltd. and are managed by Aston Students’ Union.

I would ask that if you do have problems that they are reported to me as soon as possible.   Please do not put it off, as the situation will only become worse.   I am unable to ascertain whether repairs have been effectively carried out so if you are not happy with the rate at which things are going please inform me.

Reading this carefully will help make Aston Brook Green a safe and pleasant environment to live in.   With the co-operation and involvement of all the tenants Aston Brook Green is a close-knit community and we would like it to remain so.   If you have any suggestions as to how this situation can be improved please let me know.

Malcolm Lawrie, Accommodation Services Manager.

There are 30 cycle stands around the site. Please use these and do not lock bikes to lampposts.  Any bikes locked to lampposts will be removed.

It is recommended that the 'D' type locks are used and other types of locks are very easy to remove. 
 

Combination Boiler System 
These normally situated in the kitchen and have operating instructions on them.   Providing the boiler is switch on it will heat tap water on call (i.e. when the hot tap is opened) and the heating will be on a timer.   The timers are in the cupboard under the stairs or nearby the boiler.   These timers will, again, have instructions for setting on the bottom panel, which just flips down.   Full operating manuals for both are available in the Internet by Googling the boiler or timer brand and model number.

If you have any leaks from radiators or if you find that only the lower part of the radiator is hot should be reported as a minor repair to the Accommodation Services Manager.
 

In your tenancy agreement you have agreed to keep your flat clean and tidy.  Cleanur Services Ltd. was started by Aston graduate Ajan Mohamed.  Their services are directly aimed at the student market for halls and private residences.

Their prices are extremely competitive and they can do monthly or fortnightly cleaning of –

  • Whole flat
  • Common areas - common room/bathroom/toilet/kitchen/halls/ stairs/landing (as appropriate)
  • Kitchen and bathroom/toilet

They can also do one-off cleans and end of tenancy cleaning.

A full tariff of their charges can be found on the next page and I thoroughly recommend that you use them if you are not too keen on doing your own cleaning.

Cleanur Services Ltd can be contacted as follows –

T:           07722 113061
E:           info@cleanur-services.co.uk
W:          http://www.cleanur-services.co.uk/

Cleanur's price list can be downloaded HERE

If you are having trouble with neighbours who are disturbing you by making too much noise you must, in the first instance, contact them.   They may not be aware that they are causing you a problem and it may be easily resolved by a polite conversation with them.

If the situation persists then please inform the Accommodation Services Manager, in writing, of the dates and times that the noise has occurred and he will take up your complaint.
 

If you wish to make a complaint about alleged poor performance or misconduct of the Accommodation Services Manager you must notify –

Max Mcloughlin
Chief Executive 
Aston Students’ Union
The Triangle 
Birmingham B4 7ES

by letter or email HERE

The complaint should give details of alleged poor performance or misconduct (including the date and place at which the alleged misconduct took place), and be delivered as soon as possible after the events complained of (and ideally within ten working days of the occurrence).  The Chief Executive will then investigate the complaints and respond to you within 14 days.

If you wish to make a complaint against the Housing Association, any of its employees or a contractor you must notify -

Malcolm Lawrie
Accommodation Services Manager
Flat 1 Aston Brook Green
Aston
Birmingham B6 4AS

by letter or Email HERE

The complaint should give details of alleged poor performance or misconduct (including the date and place at which the alleged misconduct took place), and be delivered as soon as possible after the events complained of (and ideally within ten working days of the occurrence).  The Housing Manager will then investigate the complaints and respond to you within 14 days.
 

No decoration is to be undertaken without the express permission of the Housing Manager.   If your flat needs attention then please contact the Accommodation Services Manager.   In most instances permission to decorate the flat yourself will be granted and the cost of your materials reimbursed. 
 

Should an emergency arise in my absence there are four Deputy Wardens you can contact:

  • Jimmy in Flat 44
  • John in Flat 55
  • Charlie in Flat 56

If they are unavailable please ring me on the mobile phone number you will find in the booklet circulated to all flats or at the bottom of any email from me.  I do not respond to text messages - please email me if you can't phone.

Please note that an emergency is an occasion where there is likely to be damage to your person or to property or you have lost your keys.  Anything that can reasonably wait until normal office hours to be dealt with should be left until then.

It is vital that the accounts have all of the flat-sharers on the contract and that these are updated should there be any change of occupancy (ask me to take the readings when this occurs).  It is important to know that you are jointly and severally responsible for the payment of bills.   That means that the energy suppliers will chase any or all of you for the full amount of any unpaid bills until they have collected the amount due.

From time to time you will receive estimated bills from your energy providers.  When the bills arrive, read them carefully and look to see if they are actual (real) meter readings or whether they are based on an estimate of the fuel the energy provider thinks you might have used. I strongly suggest that when you get these you contact me for accurate readings so that you pay the actual amount due.
 

Both the Housing Association and Aston Students’ Union take health and safety very seriously.  A Health and Safety / Risk assessment document for ABG can be downloaded HERE.

In the event of a fire -

fire 
 

Fire risks 
The following instructions are for your safety – you must follow them

  • Please read the Fire action stickers on the living room door of your flat
  • Do not on any account wedge fire doors open
  • Do not use candles or portable gas / paraffin heaters
  • Do not let any flex / cable trail under doors
  • Do not use two or three way plug / socket adaptors (use proper cabled and fused extension leads)
  • Ensure that escape routes are clear of clutter and obstructions
  • Do not daisy chain extension leads, ie plug one into another
  • Do not let junk mail and / or leaves accumulate inside your front doors
  • Ensure that desk lamps are not near anything flammable, e.g. paper, curtains 

Fire Detection System
The Fire Detection Systems are annually maintained. Tenants must undertake weekly checks of the systems as follows –

  • Choose a suitable time to do this (between 9.00am and 8.00pm)
  • Ensure your flatmates are aware that you are going to test the system
  • Locate the alarm control pad (marked ‘Remote Control for Smoke Alarms’) – normally situated in the living room
  • Press the central white button marked ‘Test’ on and check that all alarms are sounding
  • Once you are satisfied that they are all sounding click the Test switch off.
  • Report any problems to the Accomodation Services Manager 

Gas & Electricity Risks 
All gas and electrical safety certificates are available to view in Flat 1 Aston Brook Green.

Scalding Risks 
Tenants are advised to test the heat of bath water before getting into a bath. If you feel that the water temperature coming through hot water taps is too hot please contact the Housing Manager who will show you how to control the hot water temperature.
 

Please note that we only insure the buildings and furniture. Your personal possessions are not covered by our insurance and you are strongly advised to get your belongings insured.
 

There is a token operated launderette situated adjacent to Flat 52.  It has a push button combination lock that is operated as follows:

  • Turn the lever to the left to clear the lock.
  • Press buttons 241
  • Turn the lever to the right to open door.

Tokens are available from the Union Shop on the ground floor of the Union. There are not enough tokens for residents to keep a stock of them so please use them within 24 hours of their purchase. During the vacations tokens may also be available from the Accommodation Services Manager in Flat 1.

The use of the launderette is entirely at your own risk.  Neither Aston Students’ Union nor Midland Heart will take any responsibility for damage to clothing.   Please report any problems with the launderette to the Accomodation Services Manager.

 

My hours are -
Monday - 0800 - 1600
Tuesday - 0800 - 1300
Wednesday - 0800 - 1700
Thursday - 0800 - 1600
Friday - 0800 - 1600 

The schedule below will tell you where I will be and my availability to see you.   Although it is not cast in stone because of emergencies and meetings I aim to keep to this schedule at least 90% of the time.   Please note that I am not available on Tuesday afternoons.

With the exception of an emergency I should not be contacted outside of these hours and then only if you cannot locate one of the Deputy Wardens.

Recycling facilities are available on the tarmacked area between Flats 52 and 53. It is vital that these bins are not contaminated with the incorrect material or the local authority will remove the facility. It is therefore extremely important that you follow these instructions –

PLEASE DO NOT PUT ANY TYPE OF PLASTIC BAGS, BIN LINERS, CARRIER BAGS OR THE LIKES INTO THE RECYCLING BINS.

BLUE BINS GREEN BINS
Paper and Card Plastic, Cans & Glass
   
YES PLEASE YES PLEASE
Cereal boxes & thin card Plastic household bottles
Junkmail & envelopes All glass bottles and jars (remove corks)
Telephone directories Plastic drinks bottles
Newspaper Aerosols
Flattened Cardboard Food and drinks cans
  Metal lids and caps
   
NO THANKS NO THANKS
Milk and drink cartons Aluminium foil
Soiled paper or card (e.g. Pizza boxes) Paint and non-food tins
Padded envelopes Food cartons and trays
  Carrier bags
  Mirrors & Light bulbs
  Polystyrene and ceramics


IF YOU ARE UNSURE WHETHER AN ITEM SHOULD BE RECYCLED PLEASE PUT IT IN ONE OF THE NORMAL REFUSE BINS AND NOT THE RECYCLING BINS
 

All refuse must be placed in the large bins adjacent to Flats 40, 52 and 61. They are emptied on Mondays and Thursdays.   Please do not leave refuse outside your house as it will not be collected and will attract rats. If the Deputy Wardens or myself have to clear any refuse from outside of your flat you will be charged.

We do not expect to see road signs, traffic cones, etc. accumulate anywhere on the Green (remember there are video cameras to prove who brought such items onto the site!).

In order to make Aston Brook Green a pleasant environment tenants are requested to pick up litter and place it in the refuse bins.  It takes little time but will make a big difference to your enjoyment of Aston Brook Green.
 

Rent is paid termly in advance and is due by the end of the second week of term (the summer rent can be paid up front or by monthly installments). You will not receive an invoice and rent must be paid directly into the Finance Office on the third floor of the Guild who will issue you with a receipt.   You can pay by debit or credit card or by Internet transfer.   If you wish to pay by this method or set up a standing order mandate please contact the Accommodation Services Manager.

The Accommodation Services Manager can also set up specially tailored payment plans to suit you.  Please email HERE for details.

Their normal opening hours during term time are from 10.00 a.m. (Wed 11.00 a.m.) to 3.00 p.m.   If you are unsure as to the amount you owe either the Finance Office or the Housing Manager have the information.
 

Please note that any issues concerning door locks should first be reported to the Accommodation Services Manager.

Furnishings 
This applies to the carpets, curtains and furniture, including cookers and fridges.   Problems with these items and with decorations should be reported to the Accommodation Services Manager for his attention.

Minor Repairs 
From 11th January 2010 there will be a handyman service available at Aston Brook Green.  The handyman will work out of the Office at Flat 1 during the following times -

Monday 10.00am - 4.00pm
Wednesday 10.00am - 4.00pm

He will be able to carry out minor maintenance such as -

  • Ease stiff doors
  • Change Door locks
  • Change fluorescent tubes/bathroom bulbs and bulbs above sinks
  • Decoration works
  • Minor plumbing repairs - leaking taps/sinks, etc.
  • Re-hang curtain rails
  • Reseal around bath/showers
  • Small plaster repair

plus other non-major type of maintenance items.  If you are not sure just email the Accommodation Services Manager and he will let you know whether the work can be carried out by the handyman or needs to be reported to the Housing Association for their attention.

If you have any repairs of this nature please email the Accommodation Services Manager HERE.  You must state –

  • Your flat number
  • The exact nature of the repair
  • The precise location of the problem

Buildings
This applies to the fabric of the building, including the heating, water, doors, windows and electrical systems and is the responsibility of Midland Heart Housing Association Ltd. who owns the properties.   Before reporting a fault with the heating/hot water system please read the section about central heating.   These types of problems should be reported to Midland Heart Customer Services Team on:

0345 602 0540 (daytime)
(these calls are included within the inclusive minutes of a mobile phone contract)
or
hubrepairs@midlandheart.org.uk

0345 017 0427 (emergencies at night)

Please keep logs of phone calls and copies of emails so that if there are problems we have proof of them being reported should a problem arise.

How quickly will your repairs be done?
Emergency
 

Attended within two hours, completed within 24 hours. 
Relates to danger to life or a loss of property (e.g. burst pipes, severe roof leaks, loss of heating in cold weather where there is no other form of heating available).

Urgent 
Completed within 5 working days. 

Relates to repairs that materially affect your comfort or convenience (e.g. partial loss of electrical power or light, partial loss of water or gas supply, leak from a water or heating pipe, tank or cistern, rotten stair tread).

Routine 
Completed within 28 working days.  

Relates to non-urgent repairs (e.g. windows sticking, sinks, doors, etc.).  Many of these will need to be reported as minor repairs, as outlined above.  The handyman service will react within 7 days. 

Reporting Repairs

ABG Repairs 

Dealing with emergencies
Gas leaks
 

If you think you have a gas leak, extinguish any cigarettes or naked flames, switch of all gas appliances and ring Transco on 0800 111999.  Transco will attend the emergency free of charge - but the Housing Association does not require them to carry out any remedial work.  If Transco cannot make a repair free of charge they will isolate the gas supply.  At this stage you must contact the Housing Association to report the problem for repair.

If you give any instruction to Transco at this stage, you may be charged for the cost of the work.

Burst pipes or water leaks 
Turn off the water supply at the stopcock (normally located under the kitchen sink).   Turn off the central heating and open all sink / bath taps to drain the system and report problem to the Housing Association.

Electrical faults 
Turn off electricity at the fuse-board (normally situated in storage cupboard or hall).   Unplug all appliances and turn the electricity back on.   Then check for the faulty appliance by plugging them in each one in turn.  If the electricity goes off when you plug an appliance in you know it is that one that is faulty.
 

A new Residents’ Association needs to be formed every year.   There is a budget of about £600 available to be spent, within reason, how the R.A. see fit.   Largely it exists to promote social events and come up with ideas for general improvements to the site.   Anyone interested in getting involved should contact the Accommodation Services Manager HERE.
 

Aston Brook Green is as safe as anywhere in the inner city.   The chances of being the victim of crime are no worse than elsewhere else in Birmingham (including campus).   Although relatively few incidents occur you are strongly advised to pay heed to the following advice:

Onsite Security

  • Never leave your key in the door and always take them with you when you leave your flat even when others are in.   On many occasions people have been locked out accidentally by their flat-mates.
  • Please ensure that you always lock your front door even if you are in the house.
  • Do not carry your keys with anything that has your name and address on it.   If you do and they are lost or stolen it will cost £110 to replace the lock and keys to your Flat.
  • Replacement keys cast £15.00 each to replace - look after them!
  • If you leave the site for any extended period of time please ensure that your curtains are closed before you leave.
  • Ensure that ground floor windows are closed and locked when you go out and at night.
  • Do not display hi-fi, TV’s, microwaves, computers, etc., in full view of any windows.

Walking to and from campus (also applies elsewhere) - how to reduce the chance of becoming a victim of robbery

ON NO ACCOUNT SHOULD ANYONE USE THE UNDERPASS UNDER DARTMOUTH CIRCUS OR WALK ALONG THE CANALSIDE AT ANY TIME OF THE DAY

  • Be aware of your surroundings, particularly when it is dark.
  • If it is late at night please call a taxi.  Both A2B and Uber have apps you can use.
    Trust your instincts.
  • Try to walk with a friend or in groups, avoid walking in, quiet or badly lit alleyways, subways or isolated parks. If you do need to keep to the middle of the path.
  • Use the ABG Wellbeing Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/groups/astonbrookgreenwellbeing/ to arrange to walk with others
  • Don’t text and walk, this will lower your awareness levels.
  • If you wear earphones when walking be aware your awareness of surroundings will be impaired.  Preferably do not use them at all.
  • Change earphones to black or dark coloured ones, they will not stand out so much in the dark.
  • Don’t have your music too loud so you can’t hear people approaching.
  • Ensure your phone charged and in credit.
  • Look confident even if you don’t know where you’re going.
  • If a vehicle pulls up suddenly alongside you, turn and walk in the other direction.
  • Keep your bag closed properly, try and keep the opening facing you.
  • Don’t be worried about making a lots of noise if you are feeling threatened. Shout as loud as you can.
  • Offenders don’t want you to draw attention.  I have made 50 attack alarms available for ABG residents – only a few have been taken! The ARC has further alarms too.  If you would like one please see the Accommodation Services Manager or go to the ARC on the 1st Floor of the Students’ Union.
  • If you are at all worried, try and stay near a group of people, try and catch up with others going in your direction.
  • When people you don’t know talk to you keep walking, rather than standing still.
  • If you think you are being followed/watched as you come onto/off Dartmouth Middleway by the Campanile Hotel please run into the Hotel.  They are open 24 hours and will help you.

Remember the earlier you spot a potential problem arising, the more choices you have to avoid it them.

If you are the victim of a robbery or see suspicious people it is imperative that you report this to the Police on 999 as soon as you possibly can.  You must also let the Accommodation Services Manager know, again as soon it is possible and reasonable for you to do so.

Safety App
This safety app is recommended by the Police - http://hollieguard.com/.   You should all consider using it and familiarise yourself with how to use it properly.   Hollieguard can be used instead of or in conjunction with a personal attack alarm.

The preferred routes to and from campus is as follows:
There are two recommended routes to use.  Both have their merits when it is dark, but the Richard Street route is preferred beween 0800 and 1800hrs Monday to Saturday.  Please see the map below -

A copy of the map can be downloaded HERE

Reporting a Crime
If there is an immediate danger or criminals are still present please use the emergency number - 999.  If there is no immediate danger the Police can be contacted on 101 (calls cost a maximum of 15p from landlines or mobiles).

Security Cameras 
There are 21 security cameras positioned around the site.   The cameras cover the majority of the site.   These cameras are linked to a 24-hour digital recorder and all persons entering the site and external activity happening on most of the site is recorded.  The controller of the system is the Housing Manager. 

  • The controller is the only person that has access to the CCTV system at Aston Brook Green.
  • Information is held on the system for approximately 80 days.
  • The only time that footage will only be reviewed is in the event of a crime or serious incident being reported.
  • In order for this a review take place a request must be made in writing or by email to the Housing Manager detailing the alleged incident.
  • These requests will be held in a file for inspection or should the Police become involved.
  • Only the Police will be shown any footage recorded by the system.
  • Footage is only recorded to CD/DVD for Police use, but only when it is ’seized’ as evidence.
  • The CCTV is registered with the Information Commissioner’s Office Under the registration reference ZA057928
     

There are satellite TV points in all flats.   On no account are extra dishes to be installed.
 

Please do not attach washing lines to trees or drainpipes as this causes damage to the pipes and trees. There is a further risk that someone will walk / run into them in the dark and cause themselves a serious injury. If you have put up a washing line please take it down.