A Student's Guide to Renting a Property (Part 1)

With Birmingham being the second biggest city in the country, it’s not surprising that its home to four universities. This means that the demand for student housing is definitely a lot bigger than anywhere else (besides London).

For most students, it’s their first step into the world of renting, having come straight from home or university halls. This means they have absolutely no idea on what they are looking for, and many end up signing contracts blindly, without any details.

Whether you’re just starting university and wanting to avoid staying in university accommodation, or you’re going into your second and third year and looking for somewhere to stay with your friends, there are certain things that you need to be aware of before rushing into making any decisions.

Decide Who You’re Going to Live With

The first big decision that you’ll have to make before you even look for accommodation, is deciding which of your friends you really want to live with. These are probably going to be the people that you live with for the next few years – so choose wisely.

A lot of people choose to live with the people that they have previously shared halls with, as they already know what they are like to live with on a daily basis. However, this isn’t always the case. Just make sure that choose people that you trust and will feel comfortable living with for the next year at least.

Where Should You Live?

Unlike when you were in university halls, it’s likely that you’ll be looking for houses that aren’t on the university campus. This means that you need to make a decision on exactly where you want to live. The best located properties are often snapped up quickly, so it’s worth making these decisions earlier than later.

You should look for houses that are close to the university or at least close to good transport links so that 9AM lectures aren’t a problem. You might also want to look for property that is close to town, so you’re by the local shops, bars and restaurants.

What Can You All Afford?

Before you look for a property, you should all sit down and decide what you can actually afford. Some houses might offer bills all inclusive options, whilst a lot won’t. It’s worth keeping this in mind when figuring out what you can and can’t afford. Some of the things that you will need to think about include in the following:

Utility Bills – This will depend on what your contract includes. If you do have to pay for the utility bills, these need to be budgeted for.

TV Licence – This is something that will definitely need to be covered by you as students. How much you need to pay will depend on your contract once again!

Contents Insurance – Protect expensive items such as your laptops and computers.

Food/General Shopping – Will you take this in turns? Pay your own? All chip in every time?

What Should You Check During a Viewing?

Viewing a property before making any decisions is essential. There are lots of important things that you need to check in the property before deciding whether it’s for you or not. A lot of letting agents will organise for you to view two or three properties in one day, so that you can compare and contrast. Make sure you take your friends along too (and your parents if you wish!) Here are some things to look out for.

  • Is the location good?
  • Does it look like a safe area?
  • Is the house in good condition? Does everything work? Any damp?
  • How much furniture is there? What do you need to bring?

It’s worth asking all the important questions about contracts whilst viewing the houses.

Securing Your Property

Once you’ve decide that you all like the property and want to sign for it, you need to contact your letting agent, who will then get the process started. You will need to provide references and put together a deposit. However, this will all be explained to you in detail at the time.


At Belvoir Birmingham, it doesn’t matter if you’re a student, tenant or landlord; our job is to help you find the perfect property.

If you would like some advice on renting a flat or a house, please don’t hesitate to contact us. You can give us a call on 0121 212 0122 and we will be more than happy to help you out.