Guidance for International Student Families and Couples Seeking Accommodation
Most students bringing their families to the UK will need to arrange accommodation prior to their arrival. It is not easy to find temporary accommodation while looking for something more permanent and it can be very expensive. It is worth noting that the city of Birmingham has very limited options for student families. Again, it can be expensive and take time to secure. All prospective students are strongly advised to consider this information carefully before accepting a place at Aston University or making the decision to bring family with them.
We hope the following information will give you a brief overview of finding suitable accommodation.
Aston University provides accommodation on our small campus in partnership with a third-party accommodation provider and does not own or manage family accommodation. Students wishing to study and bring their families to the city are required to source accommodation independently of the usual student accommodation routes.
PLEASE DO YOUR RESEARCH BEFORE YOU ARRIVE.
If you are bringing family member with you, we strongly advise you travel to Birmingham without your children, in advance of starting your course, to make all the arrangements for accommodation and schooling and to get a sense of the local area, before bringing your family to join you.
Deciding where to live may be affected by a range of factors including the proximity to schools and other family-focused services such as access to local shops and public transport.
Sharing rooms with your family
There are restrictions on how many people can share a bedroom, so it is important to plan and search for the right size of accommodation.
Typically, a one-bedroom flat may cost between £130.00 - £200.00 per week. Most accommodation providers will only consider a one-bedroom flat suitable for a couple with a small child under the age of five sharing the single bedroom. (You officially count as overcrowded if you do not have a bedroom as a couple, a single person aged 21 or over, a pair of children under 10 regardless of sex or a pair of adolescents aged 10-20 of the same sex). You may have to bring a travel cot yourself for your young child to sleep in. If you have more than one child, please do budget for the correct sized property.
You will need to search on external websites such as Rightmove (www.rightmove.co.uk) and Zoopla (www.zoopla.co.uk).
You could also contact local lettings agents based in the areas you want to move to. If you want close to the Aston campus, then you should search for close to Birmingham city centre. However, this is not vital as the city is covered by an excellent public transport network. You can use Google Maps to find how far a property is from city centre by public transport. The University post code is B4 7ET.
You will likely be asked to pay 6 months’ rent up front if you do not have a UK guarantor so please be certain about the property before you hand over the money. Tenancy agreements are legally binding contracts. Please note that University staff cannot act as Guarantors or secure accommodation on your behalf.
Please take care to prepare yourself for the 'right to rent' checks that landlords are required to carry out on the immigration status of you and your family members. Find out more on the UKCISA website.
Tips to find a reputable agent and property and how to avoid rental scams
- Check that the lettings agents have an office based in Birmingham and are a company registered in the UK. Visit the office in person.
- The organisation should also have a full complaints process and ideally be signed up to the Property Ombudsman which demonstrates commitment to professional standards. https://www.tpos.co.uk/find-a-member
- Check the agency is accredited in some way such as by MLAS or NRLA.
- You can ask to see Landlord / agent ID.
- Please see checklist for viewing properties and view properties in person - Rental property viewing checklist - Zoopla
- You can ask for a copy of the gas and electrical safety certificates. You can check the EPC register to find the Energy Performance Certificate - Find an energy certificate - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- You can check ownership of properties using the land registry - Search for land and property information - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk).
- Do not be pressurised into transferring large sums of money. Transfer funds to a bank account having obtained the details by contacting the landlord or agent directly after the above steps have been followed. Be sceptical if you’re asked to transfer any money via a money transfer service like Western Union.
- Advice in the Students' Union offers a tenancy contract checking service. If you view a property you like, ask the landlord for a sample contract (tenancy agreement) which an Adviser can then check for you. Email a copy of contract to email@example.com We strongly recommend that you do this.
Other useful links and information
Rental fraud | Action Fraud – how to avoid rental scams.
Planning your finances
It is best to complete a budget sheet for you and your family in advance.
Nursery and Preschool
Nursery | Aston University
There are other nurseries and options available for childcare. It is best to visit different day-care settings in the area you wish to move to and to do your own research.
Schools are free of charge in the UK. You will need an address before you can register your children with a school.
You can compare areas online. The Crime and Safety in Birmingham website, scroll through and you will see tables relating to all neighbourhoods.
Birmingham is covered by an excellent bus service, so you never be far away from a bus stop that goes into city centre (for University). Google Maps to find directions B4 7ET – University post code.
Birmingham Area Map (astonsu.com)
You can contact us with any questions by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.