The comprehensive guide to renting in Selly Oak

Freshers, take the advice from us

Dear freshers, the time of year has come to become the Kirsty and Phil of Selly Oak and think about second year housing.

Hopefully you have already done the awkward chat with your flatmates about whether you will live together next year, and you can finally start scouring the letting agency websites for potential houses.

We have complied our top tips here to ensure you aren’t done over by the dodgy landlords of Selly.

Homes under the Hammer looks different here

1. Whatever letting agency you go with, they will probably screw you over

Let’s face it, student landlords are hardly the fairest people around. You may have heard horror stories about certain agencies, but the truth is, most of them are bad. From personal experience, finding a house where you go directly to your landlord about issues is way better than the never ending unread emails to your letting agency.

2. How far away from campus do you want to live?

Depending on whether you love a 9am, or have the grand total of four contact hours a week, location can be a deciding factor. The main student area is Selly Oak, and depending on where you live, it can take from 5 to 25 minutes to walk to campus. Some students live in Harborne or the city centre, but the majority choose the chaos of Selly.

Alton, the road of dreams

3. Remember you have to pay bills, so you might freeze

Have a look and see if your house comes with or without bills. It is cheaper to organise bills yourself and isn’t too difficult. Just remember if you love having the radiator on, it does come at a price.

4. Take loads of pictures and videos when viewing houses

You will visit so many houses so ensure you have videos and images of each house. Make sure to try and get an image of every bedroom, as when the time comes to take the dreaded box or ground floor room, you have pictures.

5.  Don’t feel pressured to sign anything you don’t want to

You might get gently pushed to sign something in the case that another group is also looking. However, the comment that ‘all the houses go by November’ is a LIE. Most of the time the agency will be looking for some easy commission and naive students to fit the bill.

The wall colours were definitely a choice…

6. It is never too late to find a house

Say it with me. There are more houses in Selly than students. Therefore, you don’t need to rush to rent. Sure, the cheaper, good quality houses may be gone earlier than others, but take the letting agencies words with a pinch of salt.

7. READ READ and READ your tenancy agreement

It’s a lot of words and a lot of fancy lingo I know. However, it is crucial you read this to ensure you aren’t getting majorly screwed over. The Guild have a service where they can read your tenancy agreement, ask one of your more lawyer-ly inclined friends or even a parent.

8. Ask the previous tenants about what they think about the house

Sure, the house may look great in person, but visiting the house for ten minutes versus living there for a year is completely different. For example, ask them whether they have had any damp problems, or if the neighbours are particularly odd. If you can, ask them about the landlord – whether they respond to queries quickly, or if they still haven’t sorted out the mould.

Your kitchen will look like this

9. If in doubt, Fab it

Have a look on Fab ‘n’ Fresh, the University facebook page that is basically a Brum Bible. Search the name of a lettings agency or house and low and behold will be countless posts detailing the trials and tribulations of housing.

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