Opening the right doors

Regardless of what university they attend, there’s always an intense pressure among students to chase down the best houses and flats to live in after their first year.

For some, that pressure can lead to hasty decisions, increased by estate agents and landlords who are keen to get tenancies secured – and deposits (and management fees) paid.

Looking for housing privately increases the risk, but students at the University of Birmingham have a welcome alternative thanks to Living, the University’s accommodation service.

The department is available to help with any issues relating to the University, local residents and students living in the Birmingham community. In 2014 it partnered with Guild Lettings, the Guild of Students' lettings service, to ensure that it could meet all student needs and support them with looking for accommodation in the private sector in the local area of Selly Oak.

Lizzie Eustace, Deputy Manager Student Accommodation (Marketing and Communications), says: ‘Hopefully all our students will have had a great year living in University accommodation, but our help doesn’t end there.

‘Living in the local community is an exciting time but it can also be daunting, and Living works to assist students at all stages of their time in private accommodation.’

While Living provides advice to students on how to find good quality private rented accommodation and make sure they integrate into the local community, Guild Lettings offers a wide range of short or long-term accommodation via a list of landlords and agents who are all MLAS (Midland Landlord Accreditation Scheme) accredited, all without charging a fee.

Lizzie adds: ‘By only working with MLAS accredited landlords we can guarantee a minimum set of accommodation standards, and we hold copies of Landlords Gas Safety Certificates, Electrical Safety Certificates, HMO (House in Multiple Occupation) Licences, Tenancy Deposit Scheme details and EPC (Energy Performance Certificates) on all properties where applicable.

‘We have properties available within close proximity to the University, comprising of rooms, house shares, self-contained flats and houses for couples or families.

‘Regardless of whether a student finds private rented accommodation through Living or independently, we recommend that they don’t sign any contract or make any payment for accommodation in the private sector before they arrive.

‘We offer a free contract checking service for all students and provide advice on how to be a good member of the local community. Alternatively, if they have a query, they can contact us at living@contacts.bham.ac.uk or phone +44 (0)121 414 8000.’

For more information on Guild Lettings please visit www.guildlettingsbirmingham.co.uk