Living in the community

Finding a House 3

Tenancy Deposit Scheme

Your landlord must protect your deposit in a tenancy deposit protection scheme if you have an Assured Shorthold Tenancy (the standard student contract).  This safeguards your deposit and will ensure that you get your deposit back at the end of the tenancy, providing you are entitled to it.  Disputes are easier to resolve as these schemes provide an opportunity to arbitrate where there is conflict.

Within 30 days of receiving your deposit a landlord is required to:

  • Register it with a Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS)
  • Provide proof that your deposit has been secured along with information on how to claim back.

If you do not receive notification you can contact the following schemes for confirmation: 

Please note that Capita Tenancy Deposit Protection are no longer accepting new deposits with effect from 14 September 2013.

Council Tax

  • Birmingham City Council no longer require a self-exemption form to be completed - instead, you need to apply for your exemption by phone. More information is available in a Council Tax information sheet.
  • For further information on whether you are exempt please contact the council direct - Birmingham City Council : +44 (0)121 303 1113
  • Your my.bham portal needs to be updated when you change addresses so that the correct information is being sent to the Council.


  • On the day you move in complete an inventory.  If the landlord does not supply one create your own.  Note down all items and their condition, such as stains on the carpet, or a broken chair.  Send a signed copy to the landlord keeping one along with dated photos of exiting damage and keep this safe until the end of the tenancy.
  • If you do not thoroughly check through your inventory you risk losing some or all of your deposit as this will be the evidence supplied (or not) as to what the state of the property was when you moved in.

Television License

If you and your house want a television, then you may need to obtain a TV Licence.  To check whether you require a Licence or how to purchase you can contact TV Licensing by phone +44 (0)300 790 6131 or visit their website.

Utility Companies

  • If you pay for bills separately then you will need to alert the utility companies of your moving in date so that you do not end up paying charges from previous tenants. You should always ensure that you monitor and share the burden for your utility bills amongst your housemates otherwise you could end up paying hefty fines at the end of the year.
  • Gas - +44 (0)870 608 1524
  • Electricity - +44 (0)845 603 0618
  • Water - +44 (0)845 7090 646


  • Check that the heating and hot water are working and that the showers don’t have any leaks.
  • You may want to take photos of each room as evidence of the condition it was in when you moved in.

For complete information about moving in, read our Essential Guide to Living in the Community (PDF - 1.34Mb).

Home Safety & Security

Student properties are especially vulnerable as there are usually a number of tenants sharing responsibilities and a higher than usual number of items which are attractive to burglars (eg numerous phones, laptops) so it is important to prioritise safety.


  Below you will find some basic saftety prodecures that will help to keep your new home secure:

  • Always make sure you shut your windows if you are not in a room, and always keep your front door locked.  Most burglaries on student properties occur through unforced entry.  Don't make it easy!
  • Do not leave valuables in easy view, such as laptops and iPads on window sills.
  • When you purchase new items (e.g. laptops) don’t advertise it to burglars by leaving the packaging outside.
  • Get home contents insurance. This will enable you to recover the costs of anything lost if you are a victim of burglary, and sometimes insurance will cover damage caused by accident.
  • Give the impression that someone is in the house, even when you are out, for example leave a light on, or use a timer switch to put a light or radio on at different times of the day. You can get timer switches from the Community Wardens.
  • Selly Watch helps keep you one step ahead of a burglar, by letting you know what’s happening in your area.
  • Take valuables home during the holidays.
  • You should make yourself aware of fire escape routes, fire extinguishers and fire blankets. Fires spread quickly!
  • Do not leave your cooking unattended and make sure you turn all appliances off when not in use. Remember never to cook when you have been drinking or are feeling sleepy.
  • If a fire does start evacuate immediately and call 999 as soon as possible.

General Safety, Security & Advice

  • If you are bringing your car to university, be sure to lock it and do not leave any valuables visible. This includes sat navs and leaving glove boxes open to confirm there is nothing valuable in it. Try to park in a well lit area and when moving between your car and house remember to lock it, especially when unloading and loading at the start or end of term - criminals work quickly!  
  • If you have a bicycle, always remember to lock it. Discounted secure D-Locks can be purchased from the University Security office for £17.50, which is located on the lower ground of Aston Webb.

Rubbish & Recycling

Bin days across Birmingham vary. To find out what day your household rubbish bins are see the Birmingham City Council refuse collection page. Bin bags should not be put out before 6pm the night before and must be out before 6am in order to be collected. You are responsible for the disposal of your rubbish!

Some areas are provided with recycling facilities and Birmingham City Council currently offer:

  • Blue Box – paper and card
  • Green Box – Glass bottles and jars, cans and plastic bottles
  • Clear / Green bags – Garden Waste

Collections are generally every two weeks, alternating between recycling and garden waste.

Please note that the Selly Oak area will fall under the new Birmingham-wide wheelie bin scheme from November 2015.

Wheelie Bins

The University purchased a large number of wheelie bins for a number of roads in the Bournbrook area of Selly Oak, with the hope of keeping the streets cleaner and tidier this proved very successful and we are pleased to announce that Wheelie Bins have now been introduced city-wide by Birmingham City Council.

Collection days across Birmingham vary so to find out what day your household rubbish and recycling bins will be emptied see the Birmingham City Council Waste and Recycling page. You are responsible for the disposal of your rubbish!

Birmingham City Council will also arrange collection of large items / bulky waste by prior arrangement: see the City Council bulk waste collection page for further information or contact them directly of 0121 303 1112.  

Community Advice

Living can assist with advice and guidance on your tenancy, from deposit queries, problems with landlords or any other matter. Please do not hesitate to contact us about any matter.  You can also view our 'Living in the Community Guide' which is packed full of helpful information and tips for renting accommodation privately and living in the local community.