Frequently asked questions

If you have a question related to accommodation at the University of Birmingham please read the information on this page. If you still cannot find an answer to your enquiry please contact us.

For all August 2018 updates regarding Allocations, Guarantee Schemes and various deadlines, please check our live accommodation updates page.

I haven't applied for accommodation yet

What University accommodation is available?

We offer a wide variety of accommodation over a number of villages. They range between:

  • single study bedroom accommodation based in cluster flats sharing kitchen and bathroom facilities
  • en-suite accommodation, where each bedroom has its own bathroom but flats share kitchen facilities 
  • studios and apartments, where residents have exclusive use of a kitchen and bathroom

Our detailed accommodation brochure is available to download.

We offer both self-catered and catered accommodation. Our catered option is called Meal Plan and is exclusive to the Vale Village.

Is it possible to view all of the University’s accommodation? 

A small amount of our accommodation is available to view on University Open Days and most Applicant Visit Days.

The next Accommodation Open Day is in March 2019. It is a great chance for you to experience all of our accommodation first hand. For more information take a look at the Accommodation Open Day page.

If you apply for accommodation before the Accommodation Open Day, you’ll be able to change your choices on your application form after the event by logging back into your application.

How far is the accommodation from the University? 

All University-owned accommodation is within a 20 minute walk of the campus.

For students living at Liberty Gardens or The Vale wishing to use public transport, there are regular bus services (numbers 98 & 99) to the Edgbaston campus. Further information on routes, timetables and fares can be found on the National Express West Midlands website. 

Liberty Gardens residents also have the option of a regular train service from the nearby Five Ways station into University station. Further information on routes, timetables and fares can be found on the National Rail website.

How likely is it that I will get my first choice accommodation? 

All accommodation is allocated randomly through our automated allocation process, to ensure that offers of accommodation are as fair as possible. Some accommodation is inevitably more popular than others, which means we can’t guarantee that you will get any of your preferences. We always try to get as close to your preferences or facility choices as possible.

Can I remove Meal Plan from my contract? 

The Meal Plan is contracted onto your room so it can’t be taken off. If you no longer want the Meal Plan you’ll need to apply to transfer to self-catered accommodation when our transfer window opens in October.

Can I buy food on campus if I have a Meal Plan? 

Yes, but only on weekdays until 5pm. The Meal Plan outlets at The Vale are open on the weekends and until late in term time.

Do you have accommodation suitable for families / couples? 

For couples we offer studios and apartments in University accommodation.

We cannot house children in University accommodation so for families we recommend that you look in the private sector. Birmingham Studentpad is a good place to start or you can contact the Living team on +44 (0)121 414 8000 or email living@contacts.bham.ac.uk.

I want to apply for accommodation

How can I apply for Accommodation?

Visit our Accommodation Portal and enter your 7 digit University of Birmingham student ID number – it’s at the top of your course offer letter, and might be called University ID. You can apply as soon as you receive an offer.

If you have not logged in before, you will need to click the ‘Get PIN’ link below the PIN field – an email will be sent to you with your unique portal PIN (you can change this to a memorable password once you are logged in).

Once logged in, you will need to select ‘Application/Offer’ and choose from a list of options of which type of student you are:

01) Undergraduate – New Student - you are a new Undergraduate student who wishes to live in University accommodation, or are coming on an International Exchange, Study Abroad or Erasmus programme.

02) Undergraduate - Returner - you are a current Undergraduate student who wishes to live in University accommodation in your second or subsequent years.

03) Postgraduate - New Student - you are a new Postgraduate student who wishes to live in University accommodation.

04) Postgraduate - Returner - you are a Postgraduate student and you wish to live in to University accommodation for your second or subsequent years of your Postgraduate studies.

05) Presessional Students - you are a Presessional student and you wish to live in University accommodation for the duration of your presessional course (please note that you will need to apply for your Undergraduate or Postgraduate accommodation as a separate application.

06) Birmingham International Academy Under 18 - you will be under the age of 18 when your contract starts and are part of the Birmingham International Academy process. Any other under 18 student must select the '01) Undergraduate - New Student' option.

Is there a deadline for applying for accommodation? 

To qualify for our Guarantee Schemes you must submit your application by the below deadlines:

  • 31 May 2018 for UK and EU undergraduates
  • 31 July 2018 for international undergraduates and postgraduates

For more information please visit the Guarantee Schemes page. 

How can I find out my ID number if I’ve lost my offer letter / not received my offer letter yet? 

If you’ve lost your offer letter Living can tell you your student ID number if you give us your full name, date of birth and the first line of your address. You can contact us at living@contacts.bham.ac.uk or +44 (0) 121 414 8000.

You can contact Admissions at admissions@bham.ac.uk or +44 (0) 121 415 8900 if you haven’t received your offer letter. 

What do I do if I’ve forgotten my PIN? 

You can request your PIN or memorable password by clicking ‘Get PIN’ at any time.

What should I do if I need to change my email address?

You need to email admissions@bham.ac.uk with your student ID number and request to change it. Unfortunately, we are unable to make permanent changes to your personal details. Please don’t sign up with your school email address as this account is usually shut down once you leave school.

I have chosen Birmingham as my insurance choice. Should I still apply for accommodation? 

Although accommodation isn’t guaranteed, we strongly encourage insurance candidates to apply as we try to house as many people as possible. By telling us your preferences we can find suitable rooms much more quickly.

If we are unable to accommodate you, we will help you to find accommodation in the private sector, either through one of our partner providers or in private housing.

I am an Exchange/Study Abroad/Erasmus student coming to Birmingham. Can I still apply for accommodation?

Yes. We can guarantee accommodation to Exchange and Study Abroad students from outside the EU who apply before July 31, whether you are here for a full year or only one semester (please note that if you are only studying at the University of Birmingham for one semester, you will not be able to live in one of our partner accommodation sites).

Unfortunately we are unable to guarantee accommodation to Erasmus students but you can still apply for accommodation. We will consider your application in late August.

Can I apply for accommodation for just one term? 

You’re welcome to apply but priority will be given to students applying for accommodation for the full year. 

Can I request to live with my friend? 

There is an extra notes section on the application where you can make requests like these but we can’t guarantee that we’ll be able to meet all requests. Remember, both you and your friend will need to make the request for it to be considered.

I have additional requirements for my accommodation

If I have a disability or medical need will this be taken into consideration when I apply for accommodation? 

Yes, we always take into consideration any disability or medical need you may have. We often require a referral from the Student Services team to confirm this so please contact them at +44(0)121 414 5130. Alternatively, you can provide a doctor's note which details your condition and what this means for your accommodation needs.

We have a number of adapted rooms for people with wheelchairs, hearing impairments and visual impairments.

What are Taster Stays for students with additional requirements?

With Taster Stays you can experience our accommodation first hand before you start your course. More information is available on our page for students with disabilities.

What is 'Inclusive Living'?

We are committed to creating and maintaining an inclusive living environment, where equality is promoted and diversity is valued. If you have any specific accommodation needs, please get in touch.

I have received an offer of accommodation

Do I have to pay a deposit?

Once you receive your offer of accommodation you’ll need to make a pre-payment of £550 to secure the room within four days of receiving your offer. This is NOT a deposit – once paid, £550 is deducted from the balance owing for your accommodation fee. As it is not a deposit, you will not be able to claim this money back at the end of your stay.

I wanted to live at The Vale Village but I didn't get allocated there. Will I be missing out?

All of our accommodation locations are of a good standard and each have different highlights that make them unique.  The Vale Village is only one part of our overall available accommodation. We work hard to make sure location does not impact negatively on your living experience - for example, every location, including partner accommodation, benefits from the Residents Associations scheme and the Student Mentor Scheme, who support students in our accommodation and ensure there are lots of events and activities going on all year round. Remember, it is not WHERE you live, but WHO you live with.

My accommodation has been cancelled, what can I do?

If you don’t accept your offer of accommodation within four days it will be cancelled. If you still want University accommodation you’ll need to apply online again but remember, your new application will be outside the guarantee scheme which means we’ll no longer be able to guarantee your accommodation.

What is the Travel Daily list?

This list is set up for students who live within commuting distance of the University and have chosen to wait until a space in their preferred accommodation becomes available. We usually allocate these students within the first term.

What’s included in the residence fee?

The residence fee includes all utility bills, internet access, telephone calls from your room to other rooms in the University and basic room insurance. If you’re allocated a Meal Plan room, you’ll also receive a weekly food budget loaded onto your student ID card.

Presessional students on the 10, 6 and 4 week course and postgraduates will also receive bedding in your room and the use of crockery and cutlery in the kitchen as part of the fee.

When are the payments due? 

Please see the payments website for our monthly and termly payment dates.

Can I pay in instalments?

Yes. You can either pay in three termly instalments, or arrange a direct debit to pay your fee in 8 instalments over your contract period.

There is no discount for paying your accommodation fees in full.

I have accepted my accommodation offer

When can I move in?

All contracts for academic year 2018/19 start on 24th September 2018. You will be able to select a timeslot through your Accommodation Portal so that you can move in during the weekend of 22nd-23rd September 2018.

Am I able to transfer to different accommodation? 

If you’re not happy with your flat when you arrive there’s a chance to transfer during the first term if you’re living in University-owned accommodation, usually in October. If we’re able to transfer you there’s an administrative fee of £50. If you’ve been allocated accommodation with a partner provider you won’t be able to transfer.

I’m in your partner accommodation; can I transfer to University accommodation? 

Once you enter into a contract with one of our partner providers of accommodation you’ll be bound by the terms and conditions of that contract. You will need to find a replacement for your room to be released from the contract as you would in University accommodation. Once you’ve found a replacement it will then depend upon the vacancies we have in our accommodation whether we can offer you a room. 

Can I cancel my accommodation and get a refund? 

Once you’ve accepted your offer of accommodation and made your pre-payment you’ll only be released from your contract if a replacement can be found. If a replacement can’t be found you’re liable to make the full payment.

Do I need to bring my car with me to University?

Due to the convenient location of our accommodation sites to campus and the good public transport links to the local area, we do not recommend that you bring your car to University.

Parking permits are extremely limited at our University-owned accommodation sites and are often given to students holding a blue badge who need their car for medical reasons. A limited number of parking spaces and permits are available at Pritchatts Park and The Vale from reception and are distributed based on need. There is a total charge of £290 for 42 weeks, or £105 for the autumn and spring terms, and £80 for the summer term.

There is more parking provision at our partner accommodation sites but these are all located within 2 miles of campus so a car is not necessary.

Where should I go if I have a query about my accommodation once I arrive? 

If your Village Reception is unable to assist, Living is based in University Centre. Our opening times are Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm (Tuesdays from 10am). Alternatively you can email us at living@contacts.bham.ac.uk.

Are the rooms cleaned or can I request a cleaner? 

It’s up to you to keep your room and flat clean and tidy, but you can arrange to have your flat cleaned as a one off or weekly for a small extra charge. Take look at Cleaning Services’ pages for more information. 

How do I report any damage or issues with my flat? 

You should report any damage as soon as you move into your accommodation. If any damage occurs during the year you can request repairs at your site reception or using the Accommodation App.

Can I extend my contract? 

If you need an extension you’ll need to inform Living accommodation services towards the end of your contract period. This will be subject to availability. 

Can I find out the names of my flatmates before I move in? 

When you complete you Accommodation Pass you can choose to share your social media handles with your future housemates. The Student Mentor Scheme also operates a 'Flatmate Finder' app via Facebook, where you can find other students living in your flat or nearby who have registered with the app.

What do I need to bring with me for my flat? 

Please take a look at the inventory for your flat on our Living with Us page. 

Information for parents and guardians

Student education and welfare is of utmost importance to us and we can assure you that our duty is to our students. Students here at the University of Birmingham have access to a wide-ranging network of support services for both academic and non-academic issues. There are also processes in place to identify a student who may need support and can then be referred to the relevant service.

If you have a concern, in the interests of respecting student privacy we are unfortunately unable to discuss these concerns with you without the student’s permission, by way of Disclosure of Information. We appreciate that this can be frustrating, particularly if it relates to their accommodation account and you are paying the fees, however this is legal requirement (General Data Protection Regulation 2018) and University policy prohibits the disclosure of an individual's information. There are only certain situations in which this may not apply, and is dealt with in respect to the University’s duty of care.

What can I do if I am concerned?

The University will take your concerns seriously. Whilst we cannot discuss a student’s situation or circumstances with you (without their permission), including giving confirmation of whether they are attending the University, we can contact the student and offer appropriate help. It is then the student’s responsibility as to whether they choose to take advantage of that support and advice.

What is the best advice for visiting Birmingham?

If you are visiting a student at University we recommend staying with University of Birmingham | Conferences and events, which is part of the University’s Hospitality and Accommodation Services. Prices start from £40 per night, and is the closest bed and breakfast accommodation to the University accommodation villages and campus itself.

What if I have other questions?

We hope this gives you the vital information you require on accommodation available to students. If you should have any further queries then please do not hesitate to contact Living via email living@contacts.bham.ac.uk or 0121 414 8000. Living is open Monday-Friday 9am-5pm (from 10am Tuesdays).

Private sector accommodation

Where can I find information about accommodation in the private sector? 

Students have access to the free housing search engine Birmingham Studentpad, which is run by Living (Accommodation Services) and allows the user to search for all types of short or long-term accommodation.

Properties will only be advertised on Birmingham Studentpad if the relevant certificates have been presented. ALL landlords/agents are MLAS (Midland Landlord Accreditation Scheme) accredited and we can therefore guarantee at least a minimum set of accommodation standards.

Living is partnered with Guild Lettings, the Guild of Students' lettings service, to ensure that we can meet all our student needs and support them with looking for accommodation in the private sector in the local area of Selly Oak. For more information on Guild Lettings please see www.guildlettingsbirmingham.co.uk.

What areas are close to the University? 

Most students live in Selly Oak, Harborne or Edgbaston.

I have a room available in the private sector, can I advertise it? 

Yes, you can advertise it on the Birmingham Studentpad message board but we will need to see the gas safety certificate which your landlord should be able to provide.

I haven’t got my deposit back, what can I do?

All deposits should be covered by deposit protection schemes. You’ll need to contact the relevant scheme and they can tell more. Your landlord or letting agent will be able to tell you which scheme your deposit was protected with. If you need any more advice please call into the Living shop in University Centre.

My deposit hasn’t been returned in full. Can I dispute this? 

Yes, the deposit protection schemes all have dispute services where all issues can be resolved. 

Where do I find the council tax exemption form? 

You’ll find this at our Academic Services council tax page. Make sure you’ve registered your term-time address on the my.bham portal. 

I need short-term accommodation, can you help? 

It depends if we have any vacancies at the time you need, but we’ll do everything we can to source accommodation for you. We can also provide information on local guest houses and hotels. 

Can you check my contract for me before I sign it? 

We recommend that you bring your contract in to Living to be checked for free even if it’s from a reputable company. We’ll be able to point out any important information about charges, what’s expected of you as a tenant and what rights you have regarding your landlord. We also recommend that you always view the property before you sign a contract. 

If I have an issue with my landlord what do I do? 

When sorting out any issues yourself, make sure you put any requests/complaints in writing to your landlord. If you continue to have problems please come to the Living shop in University Centre and we can help you further. 

I’m a landlord – how do I advertise my property to students? 

First, you need to have been accredited by the Midland Landlord Accreditation Scheme (MLAS). Second, your property needs to have up-to-date gas and electric safety certificates and an energy performance certificate. Once these have been done you can advertise on Birmingham Studentpad. Details of charges and more information about the MLAS course can also be found at the Midlands Landlord Accreditation Scheme site.

Second, third, fourth and fifth year students

Can I apply to stay in student accommodation for my second, third, fourth or fifth year? 

Applications to return to University accommodation open on 1st December 2017 and will close on 14th January 2018. Places are extremely limited and we encourage students to consider all of their options for next year.

Will I be living with other returning students? 

Where possible we try to place returning students together. 

When can I move in? 

All contracts for academic year 2018/19 start on 24th September 2018.

What happens once I have returned my contract and pre-payment for University accommodation? 

Once you have received your email confirming this, your room is reserved for you and your pre-payment credited towards your residence fees.

What happens if I change my mind? 

If you change your mind before you’ve signed and paid, just inform Living and your application will be cancelled. You can cancel your accommodation and receive a full refund, if you cancel within seven days of accepting it. If you change your mind after the seven days, you will remain liable for your contract unless a replacement can be found.

You should only accept the accommodation on the understanding that you will remain for the full contract period. For further information please contact Living on +44 (0)121 414 8000, or by visiting the Living shop in University Centre on campus.

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