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: 

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.

Check which utility company provides gas, electricity and water for your property by calling the following numbers

    • 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 Guide to Living in the Community.

Home Safety & Security

The local area is generally a safe place to live, but there are a number of things you can do to ensure your chances of encountering problems are reduced.

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.
  • 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.

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!

Birmingham has introduced a city-wide wheelie bin scheme. Most houses should have both a waste bin and a recycling bin which includes a pod for paper and card helps sort the different types of recycling.

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

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.

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.