House hunting

A large majority of students choose to move into private sector accommodation after their first year. A variety of housing options are available in the local area. The closest residential area is Selly Oak, an area located a five minute walk from the University campus.

The weekly cost of rent varies from £55 to £120, with an average of £75. Often this price excludes the utilities (electricity/gas, heating and water). The average number of rooms in a house is 6, although single bedroom flats to 9 or more bedroom houses are available.

Before you rent a property:

  • Consider who you want to live with.
  • Carefully think about your budget and what properties you can afford but also how much you would be able to spend on utilities (such as gas, electricity, water), telephone, internet or TV license.
  • Consider which area is best for you.
  • If you want to live with your friends, you should discuss location, size of your group and budget before you begin your house search.
  • Consider what type of property you are looking for. A good idea before you start looking for a house is to make a list of all the things that are important to you. For example, these may include ensuite bathrooms, a garden or proximity to the university.
  • Make sure you view a range of properties before making a decision; if you would like to live with your friends then view it as a group. Check out our video for more house viewing advice.
  • During the viewings check if the property is in a good condition (e.g. is mould free) and if it is properly secured.  Also, ask the current tenants about their experience there.
  • Make sure you are informed about your rights and responsibilities when renting a house as well as what obligations your future landlord will have towards you. Watch our video so you know your rights as a tenant.
  • Take your time before choosing a property, there are several houses available and you need to find the one that works best for you.

Erasmus students, Study Abroad & International Exchange students in the EU

Please note that in the UK the minimum length for rental agreements is six months. In many cases landlords will be very keen for you to sign a twelve-month rental agreement.

Unfortunately, this has meant in the past that European students intending to spend the three-month long Autumn Term at the University have struggled to find adequate private sector accommodation.

We would strongly advise European students to factor this consideration into their study plans, and consider coming either for the full year or for the six-month Spring and Summer terms (from January-June), rather than just the Autumn Term.  This will make it much easier to find private sector accommodation.  In addition, European students are more likely to be able to obtain University-managed accommodation in January than in September.

Types of Accommodation

There are many options of accommodation within the local area, check out all the options and make sure you are completely happy before choosing a house and signing a contract -  contracts are legally binding and you will be expected to stay in the chosen property and pay rent for the agreed duration of the contract.

Birmingham Studentpad

  • Birmingham Studentpad is the official University of Birmingham property search engine aimed at students looking for a house, predominantly from second year onwards.
  • MLAS Accredited landlords (see below for more on MLAS) advertise their properties through our website. Properties range from short term to long term leases, many within close proximity to the University.
  • The properties include single rooms, house shares, self-contained flats and also houses for couples or families.
  • Accredited landlords must have copies of Gas Safety and Electrical Safety certificates, House in Multiple Occupancy licenses (where applicable), Tenancy Deposit Scheme details and EPC’s (energy performance certificates).  Only those properties with the relevant certificates will be advertised.
  • Birmingham Studentpad also allows you to register for alerts when new properties are added and provides a Message Board which makes it easier for you to search for housemates.

Guild Lettings

Guild Lettings is the University's very own lettings agency in partnership with Living and run by the Guild of Students. Located in Living (inside University Centre), they can help all students in their search for private rented accommodation. They offer a variety of properties for groups and individuals. Guild Lettings only advertise properties from MLAS accredited landlords and do not charge any fees for finding you a house.

Living House Hunting Guide:

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Living has launched an online, interactive House Hunting Guide for any students looking to move into the private sector. The House Hunting Guide aims to answer all of your questions on finding a house, rent or tenancy agreements and will assist you in finding the best home for next year. Moreover, the guide is packed with useful links and videos and features a printable checklist of all the things you need to look for when viewing a property as well as a complete calendar of all the House Hunting events run by the University.

The House Hunting Guide is available on the Accommodation Portal.

 

What is MLAS?

MLAS is the Midland Landlord Accreditation Scheme which recognises professional landlords. Landlords are required to attend a one day seminar to learn about best practice for landlords, housing legislation, and what is expected of them. They will be required to sign up to the MLAS Code of Conduct. For further information please refer to the website at www.mlas.org.uk

All members are required to undertake continual professional development, which allows them to keep up-to-date with the latest legislation, advice and guidance on renting and letting property.

Right to rent checks

Following recent government legislation, landlords in the West Midlands will now be required to check a tenant's right to be in the UK before allowing them to live in their property.  This applies to any new tenancy in private rented accommodation. From the 1st December 2016 landlords could be charged with a criminal offence if they know, or have reasonable cause to believe, that they are letting to an illegal migrant. They can also end tenancies for occupants with no right to rent.

Therefore, if you are looking to rent property in the private sector, even if you are a UK citizen, you can expect your landlord to ask to see (and take copies of) documents that confirm your right to be in the UK. 

Further details can be found in our information sheet and on Gov.uk.  If you have any concerns about this you are encouraged to contact Living for assistance