Student co-op scheme plans to make £40 rent in Selly

A student-run Co-operative plans to rent uni accommodation for just £40 a week.


Birmingham students have come up with a housing co-operative to beat rogue landlords and cut rent in half in Selly Oak.

Sean Farmelo, a philosophy student, in a bid to make university housing better value for money, is part of the first UK student housing co-operative.

He said: ‘”I pay more on my rent this year than I get in maintenance loans. It’s really squeezing a lot of people out of education.”

Could Selly offer cheaper housing?

Rent in Selly Oak can reach up to between £80-90 for certain properties, which is well above the average £61 rent of most Birmingham students. But Farmelo doesn’t think that paying an extra £20 a week to live closer to uni facilities always guarantees better quality of housing or helpful landlords.

Farmelo said: “Some of the houses are dumps… Students have been taken for cash cows and no one has done anything about it.

Having secured a £550,000 loan from Birmingham Co-operative Housing Services, Farmelo plans to buy two five-bedroom houses in Selly Oak, which will remain permanently available to members of the co-operative.

But here’s where it gets interesting – rent will be just £40 per week. This includes management fees, a maintenance allowance and accounts for a full refurbishment every 15 years.

And if the scheme works, he’ll buy more properties. Farmelo said: “I did this in my spare time. I want to make it available to a lot more students.

“A couple of years down the line you can really start tapping real finance…to buy halls that will house hundreds of students. It’s a real possibility but it needs a catalyst to show people that there is an alternative.”

Form an orderly queue, guys. We have a feeling £40 rooms close to uni and Aldi are going to be pretty popular.