Birmingham Accommodation Guide
Finding student accommodation in Birmingham should be an easy, stress-free experience so that you can integrate into this amazing city as quickly as possible and really enjoy your BIMM experience. That’s why we’ve put together our handy Birmingham Student Accommodation Guide.
With this, you’ll have everything you need to know; from private student accommodation options, house shares, house viewing tips and tricks and navigating the city’s public transport.
Our Student Support Team can also offer you help in the hunt for private accommodation.
Alternatively, there are many letting agencies and private landlords based in Birmingham. If you are going through a letting agent, you will be expected to pay a holding fee, agency fees, a deposit and usually one month’s rent up front,
plus provide a guarantor.
Ensure that the letting agent you use is following the code of practice of the National
Association of Estate Agents.
Please be aware that the agents listed have not been visited or vetted in any way by BIMM Institute Birmingham and you should therefore use them at your own risk. Ask what charges you will have to pay before you enter into an agreement with them. If you do have any concerns about the agency, contact the National Association of Estate Agents.
You could also find a number of existing house shares in Birmingham where you could join an established group of people. These can be found on the following websites:
Facebook is a good way to link up with people who are already at BIMM or who are starting at the same time as you. Some students set up groups prior to starting BIMM in order to find housemates. Using this facility is a great way to post in formation about yourself, the type of housing you are looking for and any rooms that you or others may know of, which are available for rent.
It’s the perfect place for students to acquaint themselves with their fellow course friends and find appropriate housemates. Look for group names such as “BIMM Freshers”.
Below are some guidelines for the average price of accommodation in Birmingham.
House/Flat Share (Two or More People)
- We recommend viewing a property at least twice. You’ll be more likely to notice problems the second time around
- Take someone with you or let someone else know exactly where you are when you visit a property, just to err on the side of caution
- It’s also a good idea to visit the area at night. If you do this, please ensure you stick to the point above and take someone with you
- Make sure you and all your other housemates view the property. Don’t take someone else’s word that the property is right for you
- Compare a range of different landlords and properties
- Take your time and don’t let landlords pressure you – there is a surplus of good properties in the area and you will find somewhere you like
- When you go to view, take notes and photos and use our checklist to make sure you don’t miss anything.
- Get informed – knowing your rights will help you view properties more critically and put you in a stronger negotiating position
Our Viewing Checklist
Don’t be afraid to ask lots of questions – it’s a big decision.
- Does the place look well maintained?
- Will you be warm enough in winter?
- Will it be safe and secure?
- Does it have the space and facilities you
need (i.e. washing machine, heating,
- Are the current tenants happy with the landlord
- Is the property affordable and good value?
- Is the area suitable for your needs?
Why not hear from the students who have lived and breathed the process? Discover our Accommodation Top Tips Checklist by Ells Sivakumaran.
BIMM Institute Birmingham is located at 93-96 Floodgate St, in Digbeth.
There is an abundance of student accommodation within a fairly short distance of the building, and plenty of houses and flat shares run by private landlords in other popular student areas.
Please take into consideration the cost of travelling and the time it takes to get to the Institute from where you choose to live.
The following areas in particular are a good place to look for shared student accommodation:
- Birmingham City Centre
- Selly Oak
- Moseley and Kingsheath
Birmingham is well connected through public transport services; frequent buses that run all through the night, rail and cycle lanes make it easy to get around.
Please note there are no parking facilities available at BIMM Birmingham.
- Will I need to sign a contract to rent a room in Birmingham?
- What is the landlord responsible for?
- What is the tenant responsible for?
- What rights do both the landlord and tenant have?
- What bills can I expect to pay?
- What is a deposit?
- Can I deduct my deposit from my last month's rent?
- What is a guarantor and will I need to sign a guarantor form?
- I'm leaving the house a few weeks early. Can I get my deposit back early?
- We cannot afford to pay the final utility bills. Can we leave our deposit for the landlord/agent to pay for them?
Will I need to sign a contract to rent a room in Birmingham?
Most landlords/agents will ask you to sign a tenancy agreement.
This is a legally binding document setting out each party’s rights and responsibilities. By signing it, both you and the landlord have certain rights protected in law, which can’t be overwritten by the contract. Before you sign, make sure you understand all the clauses, so there can be no nasty surprises after you’ve signed.
If asked to sign an agreement, it is likely to be an Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreement and will normally last for at least six months, after which the tenancy will run on a monthly basis. However, many tenancies run for a fixed term, i.e. July 1st 2020 to June 30th 2021. In this case, make sure that you are happy with the length of the contract as it is very unlikely that you will be able to end the tenancy early.
The terms of the agreement must be in plain, intelligible language and not be unfair. For example, the tenant should not be restricted from breaking a fixed term agreement if the landlord is not in the same way, nor should they be subject to unreasonable rent increases or held to unreasonable penalty clauses (for example, extortionate charges for late payment of rent).
Get a tenancy agreement checked first by an informed person, such as an advisor from the Citizens Advice Bureau. If the landlord/agent won’t let you take the contract away to get it checked first, think twice about signing it. Spend a little extra time in getting your contract checked out to save time, money and stress later in the year.
What is the landlord responsible for?
- Heating and hot water installation
- Baths, sinks, basins and other sanitary installations
- The structure of the exterior of the property
- Repairs and safety of gas and electrical appliances
- Ensuring that any furniture that he or she
supplies meet fire resistant requirements
What is the tenant responsible for?
- Water and sewage charges
- Utility bills – gas, electricity, telephone and internet connection (if any)
- To take care of the property
- Use the property in a responsible way
- Pay the rent as agreed
- Keep to the terms and conditions of the agreement
What rights do both the landlord and tenant have?
The landlord or his agents have the right to access the property at reasonable times during the day to carry out repairs for which they are responsible for and inspect the condition of the property. 24 hours’ written notice to inspect the property must be given.
Arrangement for access to the property must be written into the contract. Tenants have the right to possess and enjoy the property during the tenancy without any interruption from the landlord. This clause does not limit any of the rights made under this agreement that the tenant has allowed the landlord/landlady to exercise. Neither does it prevent the landlord from taking lawful steps to enforce these rights if the tenant should break any of the terms of the agreement.
What bills can I expect to pay?
Depending on your own personal consumption, you can expect to pay £1O – £15 per week for utility bills. Remember that if solely full-time students occupy a property then they are exempt from Council Tax
What is a deposit?
The deposit is generally the equivalent of one month’s rent. Your landlord or agent must, under the 2004 Housing Act, protect your deposit within 14 days of receiving it as part of the Tenancy Deposit Protection Scheme and provide you with certain information relating to this.
This scheme ensures that deposits paid to the landlords are kept safe and that tenants gets their deposits back at the end of the tenancy, so long as there hasn’t been a breach of the tenancy agreement, such as unpaid rent. Remember that the money held as a deposit remains yours at all times and not the landlords, and only by mutual agreement should any money be deducted.
Your deposit, or part of it, will be withheld if you:
• Fail to return ALL keys at the end of the tenancy
• Are responsible for any damage to the property, either willful or negligent
• Have not cleaned the property adequately
• Have left rubbish which needs removing from the property
Can I deduct my deposit from my last month's rent?
No, because to do so would be a breach of your contract. It is important that rent and deposits are separate.
What is a guarantor and will I need to sign a guarantor form?
A guarantor is someone who signs an agreement to pay for any rent or damages if the tenant fails to pay up. The guarantor will most likely be a parent or guardian.
Some landlords ask for a guarantor but not all do. So, there are still plenty of properties to choose from if you don’t have someone who will be a guarantor for you – you’ll just need to look around.
A guarantor is taking on quite a large responsibility, particularly if you are signing a joint contract. For example, if your housemate hasn’t paid their rent, your guarantor could be made to pay.
Do not sign a contract that requires a guarantor form until you and your guarantors have read the form and agreed to sign. If you have already signed a contract, but a guarantor refuses to sign, you might not get the keys to the property. A good landlord will give you copies of the forms and time to check them through.
Ask the landlord to accept a limited guarantee from your guarantor e.g. just covering your rent/damages. Tell your guarantor not to give too much personal information on the form e.g. Nl number, bank details or passport details should not
I'm leaving the house a few weeks early. Can I get my deposit back early?
It may be possible for you to come to an arrangement for the early return of the deposit, but the landlord/agent will obviously want to inspect the house and check all rent is paid.
We cannot afford to pay the final utility bills. Can we leave our deposit for the landlord/agent to pay for them?
No, not if the bills are in the name of the tenants – the utility companies will chase the named persons and not the landlord/agent. Your deposit will be protected as part of the Tenancy Deposit Protection Scheme and therefore cannot be used by the landlord or agent.
For any questions regarding student accommodation or if you’d like more information on how to apply to BIMM Institute Birmingham, please contact our Admissions Team on 0344 2 646 666 or email [email protected].