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Birmingham City University International College

Accommodation

Accommodation Guidance

BCUIC maintain a requirement for students to live within 35-mile radius of Birmingham City University City Centre Campus, so you will need to reflect on how long it will take, and the public transport costs for you to commute to campus for your classes on a daily basis.

This means that it is very important that you consider where the location of your accommodation is before signing a rental contract.

We also strongly recommend that you book your accommodation in Birmingham before you enter in the UK, so that you have a place to stay immediately and are ready to start your studies on time when you arrive in Birmingham.

If you do not do this, it will be very difficult for you to find a place to stay after you arrive in the UK while you are expected to begin your studies and attend all your classes.

Living in private housing gives you a lot more freedom than staying in student halls of residence, however you may wish to consider the pros and cons before making a decision on where to live:

Student Halls of Residence

  • All of the utilities and bills (gas, water, electricity, internet) are usually included in the rental price
  • 24/7 security reception in the building.
  • Contract length anywhere from 39 – 51 weeks
  • Average price for Student Halls in city centre is £140- £155 per week.
  • Usually have your own en-suite bathroom, and the kitchen is shared between 6-7 flatmates.
  • Within walking distance of campus.
  • Maintenance and repairs of building are managed by on-site accommodation team.
  • Average Deposit Payment is £250

Private Accommodation

  • Some landlords may offer bills included, but usually you need to organise your own utilities and bills (gas, water, electricity, internet)
  • No private security.
  • Contract length usually around 51/52 weeks (a year).
  • Average price for a room in a student house in Birmingham is £100 - £130 without bills.
  • Bathroom and kitchen is shared between members of household.
  • Houses are usually outside of city centre, so you will need to commute into campus via public transport.
  • Maintenance and repairs of building are managed by the landlord.
  • Average Deposit Payment is £400

Student Halls of Residence

The University has several halls of residence – offering a range of on-campus and inner-city living with various facilities and features including double beds, en-suite bathrooms and even on-site gyms, meaning there is something for everyone.

We can help you find a room in one of the BCU student halls of residence. Here, you would usually share a kitchen and living room with between 4 and 7 fellow students, but would have your own en-suite bathroom.

This option is a great way to meet new people and make friends - please note these halls are only available to students and do not cater to families. Please click on the links below to find out more about each of the halls of residence.

Accommodation January 2023 Intake

Accommodation Rent Total Amount to Pay Contract Length Contract Dates Approx. Distance to City Centre Campus
Jennens Court £146 Per Week £4,922.29 33 Weeks 07/01/2023-31/08/2023 2-minute walk
Beech Gardens £125 Per Week £4,142.86 33 Weeks 07/01/2023-31/08/2023 20 min bus ride
University Locks £155 Per Week     Dependent on availability 2-minute walk
Lakeside £146 Per Week     Dependent on availability 7-minute walk
The Heights £146 Per Week     Dependent on availability 10-minute walk
Staniforth House £156 Per Week     Dependent on availability 12-minute walk
Bentley House £159 Per Week     Dependent on availability 12-minute walk
Queen’s Hospital Close £130 Per Week     Dependent on availability 20 min bus ride

How to book a room?

Once you have received your CAS and your 8-digit university student ID number, you will need to officially submit your accommodation application through the BCU Accommodation Application Portal. Your accommodation contract start date can be adjusted to the date you are due to arrive in the UK.

Please let us know which halls of residence you would prefer, and we will reserve you a room. We will then confirm this room allocation by email.

To inform us of your accommodation preference - or if you have any queries about your options - please email us: accommodation@bcuic.bcu.ac.uk

Remember - you will need to formally submit your room request once you have your CAS and 8-digit ID number!

If you do not wish to stay in the Student Halls provided by BCU, there are many other alternative student accommodation providers in Birmingham which you are able to book directly with:

Where can I buy/order any essential items?

You can visit this website to order bedding/kitchen equipment and have it delivered to your accommodation before you arrive. Use the promotional code 'BCITY10' and receive a discount of 10 per cent!

Private Accommodation

If you are looking for private housing or a house share option, first make sure that you use a landlord/agent that is qualified by a known accreditation scheme and has a good reputation. .e.g MLAS (Midland Landlord Accreditation Scheme)

You may wish to start your search with the student letting agencies below who rent housing directly to students only (they do not accommodate families).

https://premierstudenthomes.co.uk/

https://studentlettingco.co.uk/

https://direct-housing.co.uk/

Other useful websites you can look at are Rightmove, and Zoopla. The BCU Student Union has a very helpful housing guide with tips of what to look out of when you are searching for your accommodation. Find out more here:

https://www.bcusu.com/advice/housing/

If you are intending to bring your dependents with you to the UK, it is recommended that you travel first and arrange your accommodation for you and your family prior to your dependents coming from overseas to avoid unnecessary expense and stress in finding a place to stay.

The advice below will help you understand the expectations required from renting, in your search for private accommodation in Birmingham:

Right to Rent

The law requires all landlords to check tenants right to rent in the UK. This means taking photocopies/scans of your passport and visa documents to be sent for checks, which can take a few weeks.

Rental prices in Birmingham are typically between £90-£130 per person per week. You may find that rent varies depending on the condition, size, and location of the property – for example, the houses closer to the University in Birmingham City Centre tend to be more expensive.

Costs

To sign a private housing contract you will need:
Security deposit (max 5 weeks’ rent)
First month’s rent in advance (3-6 months’ rent in advance for students without UK guarantors)

Tenancy Agreement

The tenancy agreement is a legally binding contract between you and your landlord. It may be written or verbal. The tenancy agreement gives certain rights to both you and your landlord. For example, your right to occupy the accommodation and your landlord’s right to receive rent for letting the accommodation.

You are recommended to sign a written agreement with your landlord to protect your rights as a renter.

UK Bank Account

You will need to have opened a UK bank account to set up a standing order for your rent to be automatically paid out of your account each month.

Deposit Protection Schemes

The landlord, or an agency, must protect security deposits in a government-approved tenancy deposit protection scheme unless they’re a resident landlord. This helps ensure that you get back the deposit amount you are entitled to at the end of the tenancy period.

Guarantors

Guarantors must be UK residents and be able to complete a reference check. They are expected to pay the money you owe if you cannot. As most international students cannot obtain guarantors, agencies often ask them to pay 3-6 months rent in advance.

If you don’t have a guarantor, you can look at the following services and make an enquiry/application:

Housing Hand https://housinghand.co.uk/

Rent Guarantor https://rentguarantor.com/

Your Guarantor https://www.yourguarantor.com/

The above companies will act as your guarantor if you take up their services. However, they do charge a fee for this service.

Be Safe

Remember, you are not supposed to pay any money until you are ready to sign.

Make any payments by bank transfer and not in cash.

Do not sign before viewing.

Do not attend viewings alone.

Get your rental contract checked with Advice Team at the BCU Student Union, first floor, Curzon Building. https://www.bcusu.com/advice/enquiry-form/

Insurance

Your landlord’s insurance does not cover your belongings. Look at comparison websites for deals on contents insurance in case of loss, theft or accidents. Make sure you read the terms of such deals carefully and book an appointment with the BCUSU advice team if you would like an explanation of how these insurance policies work.

Safety

Remember to always lock the doors when you are out, otherwise, both you and your landlord’s insurance could refuse to pay for your losses. Always report any theft or vandalism immediately to the police and landlord within 48 hours for insurance purposes.

Council Tax

If you will be living in student accommodation, you will automatically be exempt from council tax.

If you will be living in privately rented accommodation, you will need to apply for student council tax exemption status. Please visit this web page for more information about applying for exemption from council tax. You can request student council tax exemption letters by emailing student.support@bcuic.bcu.ac.uk with your full name, BCUIC Student ID number, and the property address you wish to be exempt for.

Rental Jargon Breakdown:

Contract/Tenancy Agreement - gives certain rights to both you and your landlord, for example, your right to occupy the accommodation and your landlord’s right to receive rent for letting the accommodation. Both you and your landlord have rights and responsibilities given by law.

Council Tax - a local tax charged by the council; students are exempt.

Deposit Deductions - money deducted from your security deposit before it's returned to you at the end of the tenancy. Only things that cost money can be deducted. For example, it's reasonable for your landlord to take money off your deposit to cover:

  • Damage to the property or furniture
  • Missing items that were listed on the inventory
  • Paying for cleaning because the property was left in a dirty condition
  • Outstanding rent owed by you or a joint tenant
  • Estate Agent – landlords’ representatives
  • Fine - a sum of money exacted as a penalty by a court of law or other authority.

Guarantor - as a young student, your landlord might require you to ask someone to act as ‘guarantor’ – to provide a guarantee that the rent will be paid. This means that if you fail to pay the rent one month, the landlord can legally call on your guarantor to pay up instead of you. It is illegal to charge you for a guarantor credit check.

Admin Fees - From 1st June 2020, most admin fees are now illegal. and you should not be asked for any before you move in such as for references, administration, credit and immigration checks, renewing your tenancy when your fixed term contract has ended.

Holding Fees/Holding Deposit - this is a fee agents charge to guarantee the property to you and to stop advertising it. A holding deposit usually contributes towards the security deposit you pay when you move in. Legally this cannot be more than one week's rent.

Inventory - a document, which can be accompanied by photos, that documents the property, its contents and their condition. The tenant and landlord should both have their own copies. Two identical inventory reports are performed – one before the tenant moves in and another one when they move out. It is illegal to charge you for the inventory for contracts starting after 1 June 2019.

Landlords - property owners

Rent in Advance - this is rent upfront which is usually one month's rent in addition to your security deposit and any fees. By paying your rent in advance you'll always be paying rent for the month/s ahead. You might be asked to pay several months’ rent in advance if you’re an international student, or if you don’t have a guarantor.

Security Deposit - the deposit acts as security against non-payment of rent or damage to the property. Legally this cannot be more than five weeks' rent.

Standing Order - an instruction to a bank by an account holder to make regular, fixed payments to a particular person or organisation. Some landlords will ask you to set this up with your bank so your rent is automatically paid out of your account when it’s due.

Tenancy Deposit Protection Schemes - the landlord or an agency, must protect deposits in a government-approved tenancy deposit protection scheme. This helps ensure that you get back what you're entitled to at the end of the tenancy.

TV Licence - a TV Licence is a legal permission to install or use television receiving equipment to watch or record television programmes as they are being shown on TV or live on an online TV service and to download or watch BBC programmes on demand, including catch up TV on BBC iPlayer.

What if I’m Under 18?

All of the halls of residence provided by Birmingham City University are suitable for under-18s and will cater to your requirements. If you are under 18 and do not wish to live in student accommodation, we would advise you to be accompanied by an adult whilst residing in private accommodation.

Queries

If your question has not been answered, please call our Student Services team on +44 (0) 121 331 7377 or email accommodation@bcuic.bcu.ac.uk