“ The Maltings of University College Birmingham offers 827 purpose-built study bedrooms clustered around communal dining and kitchen areas. „
I staid the last 5 months in the Maltings and can't recommend it to anyone who cares about their studies.
The rooms are not bad at all with own bathroom and quite new furniture. However, I had mould in my bathroom.
The kitchen is shared with 6 flatmates and it was really disgusting. Blocked sink, rubbish and old food on the floor... once a week one of the hall managers checks the kitchen and leaves a letter if everything is in order. If not it needs to be cleaned til the next day. That's when my flatmates woke up and started cleaning a bit so that the manager won't complain again. However, it happened a few times that the hall manager did not check the kitchen. So the kitchen was disgusting for 2 weeks and to be honest I rather went out to eat in a pub then cooking anything in the kitchen. In addition some of my food got stolen a few times out of the fridge.
However, my main problem was that it was really very noisy. Loud music the whole day and parties during night time made it very difficult for me to study or sleep. I spoke a few times to my neighbour who had his music really very loud but he didn't care much. It was quieter for one day then he started again. So I complained to the hall managers who put a letter on the kitchen door. I can't believe they really think that a letter at a kitchen door will help!? It definitely did not help. In addition the hall managers obviously don't care much about the noise. When I walked outside I often heard very loud music in one of the other buildings that obviously bothered other students. I'm sure the hall managers heard it as well but nobody bothered to go to the room and tell the student to switch it softer.
In addition all doors close automatically and very loud. So every time one of my flat mates opened the door it closed automatically and made a big noise. So one flat mate came back at 23:00... the next at 2:00 and walked around to the kitchen a few times (of course the doors closed the whole time)... the next at 04:00 and maybe someone got up at 06:00...
I really can't recommend to stay there!
I am 22 and I moved into the UCB Malting's accommodation on Granville street, in September 2012 only to move out shortly afterwards due to the horror of the experience.
Do not move into the Malting's, it will be something you regret. The halls are old fashioned and mouldy, if you have asthma you will be chocking the whole time your there due to the vast amount of mould and lack of windows/working ventilation in the bathroom. (I had an en suite) The staff will also neither care, nor listen if you try to complain.
The mattresses are ancient and also mouldy. The walls are party stained, especially in the kitchen. The kitchen is filthy, whoever, once a week "hall managers" (also known as drunken children) pretend to perform a "kitchen check", however more than once, the hall managers have passed of our neighbours kitchen which was full of puke, dirty washing up and bins full of rubbish.
Why the filth? The halls are full of permanently drunk children who will have kitchen parties till 3 or 4 am most mornings, even though it's the security staffs job to patrol the halls in order to prevent such things, but they are normally too busy sat in the malting's office, pretending to work.
As such, the lack of patrolling, coupled with halls full of drunken children means your stay will be full of filth, vomit and noise. The rooms aren't even close to sound proof, you can hear what is happening in the flat opposite as well as above and under, causing a constant base rhythm to be pounded through your mouldy walls.
To top this all of, you are only permitted guests till 11pm therefore anyone smuggled in before 11 can stay unnoticed, meaning halls are often full of strangers and none students, who could potentially cause harm. The staff of UCB will try to convince you on the open day that the Malting's are a safe community, however, it's a lie. As long as I stayed there, I could get in and out the front door simply by walking in after the person in front of me. The front door opens through a key fob entry, but if you walk in after someone, the door stays open for a matter of time meaning anyone could come in. The people opposite me had their flat broken into, whereas we had drunken children break into our kitchen and hold a rave in our kitchen.
Also, the Tesco nearest to the accommodation often has old men in cars lurking around it as they know young students frequent this store. I found this out one day when one followed me down the road, on my way back to halls from the Tesco, in his car shouting at me to get into it. By the time I got to halls I was in tears and informed the guards of the incident, only to have them tell me there is nothing they could do as he's gone. A few days later I saw the same car lurking in the same area, and other girls in my block have had the similar experiences, however security has failed to resolve the issue.
The staff in the accommodation office are completely uninterested in any happenings within the Malting's accommodation and will not respond to you, unless they can financially benefit from you, i.e a student enquiring about moving in, but when you call to address a complaint, they are constantly "unavailable" and will not respond, unless again; they see financial benefit.
The washing machines are communal and are constantly out of order. The kitchens all have two stoves, in mine, neither worked. Neither did the hoover.
Parents, if you are reading this, please do not send your children to this accommodation. They will hate it there, but as the contract ties them in for 9 months, will not be able to escape out of there until the end of contract term. I struggled to leave and am now saddled with debt from doing so. The experience was horrific and I would not wish it upon anyone.
I stayed in this accommodation for two years during my time studying in Birmingham and found it to be a great place to stay if you are studying in the University College of Birmingham.
Rent is £82 per week for a self catered single room. There is no catered option. There are also a few twin rooms for those who want to live with their partners at £142 per week. If you are lucky you are placed in a disabled room on the ground floor and it is about the size of my living room, at no extra cost!One of the best aspects of the residence is that it is right in the centre, with the Mailbox complex on one side and the main street of bars, Broad Street, in the opposite direction. The complex consists of various "houses", which vary in size. They consist of shared flats from 6 people to 10 people and the kitchen size varies accordingly. There is also a student bar and a convenience shop on the campus.
The rooms are basic but modern and not unpleasant. They are all en-suite except in one house where they are shared. In your room you get a bed, large, desk area, a notice board, wardrobe, shelving unit, a bed lamp, shower, toilet and sink. Each floor is either themed in red, blue or green and this includes the kitchen areas. In the kitchen you have a fridge, hob/oven/grill, a dining table and chairs, kettle, sink, allocated cupboards and additional shelving and storage space. They provide you with all the basics as well as safety features such as a fire alarm, fire blanket, fire extinguisher and ventilators. In my first year I lived in a flat of six people and we had two fridges and a cooker and two hobs but in my second year we had the same for eight people, which was a bit of a squeeze because not everyone had a freezer drawer and shelf. Yet in a flat of ten they have three fridges so the numbers never really add up.
The exterior of the complex is pleasant with benches and grass areas and behind there are benches overlooking the canal. This used to be great to have BBQs as it was concrete until they banned them. But still in the summer it is nice to relax on the grass or in what we called "the forest", a centre bench area surrounded by trees, and this was lovely to have this when you are in the centre of a busy city.
The security is very tight with security guards circulating after 11pm, no visitors after 11pm without a visitor pass and a fob to get in through the main gate, each building and each flat as well as a key for your own room. I did think that at times the security was slightly over the top compared to my accommodation at Birmingham University. There if you had a guest you signed to say you were responsible for them and any damage they cause whilst on site but here you had to apply two working days in advance (very early application if you wanted someone there on the Tuesday!). I had a problem once where a friend had a problem with her bank card and could not withdraw money for a taxi home and when we explained to the security they said no. Eventually they let her after I pleaded that I couldn't leave her on the street at night on the backstreets of Birmingham but it did not go without punishment and the following week I had a letter from the Hall Manager and a verbal warning due to an unathorised guest on the premises. It's worth mentioning that this girl was also a UCB student and even with her student card and leaving her name and address she was contacted and warned as well as me. If you have a guest over you can have them for a maximum of two nights, with one guest per room and a maximum of two guests per flat, which often caused conflicts! Foreign visitors were allowed to stay a maximum of five days, which I thought was very reasonable.
Smoking rules applied that there is a maximum of two people smoking in a bedroom, not under the fire alarm and with the window open and not in kitchen, hall or corridor areas. Also quite reasonable. Noise is to be kept at a minimum between 11pm-8am although this rarely was enforced unless a complaint was made.
Bar One, the student bar, used to be very active in my first year but lost a lot of customers in my second year. It was perhaps because it closed for renovation so people had kitchen parties before going out and then just never returned when it opened, realising they could save money. Every Wednesday there used to be a theme night but this dwindled towards the end and half way through the second semester they actually closed on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays due to business being so poor. They also serve food at a reasonable price with a full English on a Sunday morning. Major matches were shown there and also a weekly quiz on a Sunday evening. There were certain popular events such as "Drink the Bar Dry", usually the last Friday evening of the semester where drinks were priced as low as 50p. But you did have to pay £5-7 to enter so really there was not much difference as a pint usually cost betwen £1.00-1.50. The final farewell party was a beach/UV foam party. I didn't attend this because it was £15 advance tickets and £20 on the door. I didn't often go to these things you had to pay for because I thought it was a rip-off to pay £20 to go to your own student bar until 1am. Student bars are supposed to be cheap and considering I could see Faithless in the largest club in Birmingham for £13 I did not think it was reasonable to pay that much for radio 1's Dick and Dom in my pokey student bar. The music was too loud that night and even on the 3rd floor at the back of the complex, I could feel the vibrating bass from the bar. Considering you can be evicted for making noise after 11pm I thought this was hypocritical and this went on til 4am. There is also a cash point near the bar although it does charge. The bar has a ping pong table, pool tables, and quiz machines. Vending machines that eat up your money are also offered.
The student shop is run as a business separate to the university guild and the couple who owned it were very pleasant and although it was corner shop prices, the opening times were convenient and they sold magazines, basic food items, alcohol, cigarettes, stationary, cards, basic first aid items, and bits and bobs you may have forgotten to bring with you. There was also a DVD rental system where you could rent a DVD for two days for £1, which was quite a bargain. My only criticism is that it would have been nice to have had some sort of fresh meat or vegetables as all the food was processed. They will also give you cash back for a cheaper charge than the site cash point.
There is also a small gym on site, although this is not much to rave about. There is only one type of each machine and otherwise it is only weights so it is often filled with the rugby and football teams. A sports hall, which is most usually closed is also used by the basketball and cheerleaders for practice and also for self-defense lessons (although not free of charge).
Generally the staff there are helpful with the exception of a couple on a power trip. Being an older student I did get a bit annoyed with being talked down to when the person talking down to me was actually younger than me, as they hire students to become hall supervisors. This was usually where the power-trippers came from. They were usually quite fair and when I made a complaint it was dealt with and similarly when I asked for a visitor pass one time and didn't realise the office would be shut for two days on bank holiday, the gentleman did go out of his way to try and get it done for me, although we were quite friendly. I have the feeling that perhaps this wouldn't have been the case for someone else. It seemed to be that if you made an effort and were pleasant with them then they did warm to you.
Now for the worst part of the whole experience. I don't know anyone who got their full deposit back. OK it is understandable that if damage is done then money is taken for that damage to be repaired. This I don't have a problem with but what I do object to is when they take the money but don't fix the problem. Having been there over two years I could see what they had charged to be replaced or fixed and the things had not been fixed. They send you a report back saying what was wrong with your room and accommodation but it does seem that they find things that weren't broken to be fixed. At the end of my first year my parents came to move me out and during this time they had used the bathroom (and therefore the lock) and on leaving we locked the door as requested. On my letter it said that there was a broken lock. As my parents had been witnesses that there was no broken lock they contacted the university and told them that there was no broken lock as they had been there and seen both locks working fine. The university responded with, we can't prove it because it has been fixed now. Similarly everyone left the flat earlier than two Italians staying over the summer. There were 6 dining chairs when we all left but we were charged for a missing dining chair, which had obviously gone missing during the summer period that we weren't there. This year I learned from my mistakes and I took photos of the room when I arrived and left, I reported every mark and fault to the office straight away and insisted on an inspection of the kitchen and room whilst I was there. I was not going to be cheated twice. The funny thing is that they also charge you for a cleaner yet when my friend moved into her room she had "Brian" written over the walls and Brian had also left her a little (or rather large!) gift in her toilet. How the cleaner managed to miss Brian's gift I don't know. We had a good laugh about it but still it's appalling that they claimed a cleaning charge on an obviously dirty room. Speaking to other students it seems that this is quite a normal thing with university residences and they often rip off the students as the students don't really have a leg to stand on. Be very careful if you move into university halls anywhere to take the precautions to prevent you from beign ripped off.
On the plus side I met a lot of foreign students there and we had some great times together. This year they mixed up the erasmus and English students as oppose to the previous year where all the erasmus were in one house and it was very divided. The people I met there were great and this is due to the social nature of the Maltings. I felt that many home students were not benefitting from the university experience and often felt very left out as they were not allowed to be visitors in the accommodation even on the bar's event nights. So I would recommend to anyone that if you can afford it and you live any distance over 45 minutes away, go to halls because you will have the time of your life! This residence was the best thing about my college and without it I think i would have dropped out a long time ago. Just be careful because it is like a bubble and with everything you need on site, it is all the more tempting to stay in bed rather than head to that 9am lecture!