So, you’ve decided you’re going to study at BIMM Brighton. Excellent! Next on your to-do list will be the potentially daunting task of finding somewhere to live. BIMM Brighton’s accommodation officer Jackie Phillips has been with us since we first opened our doors back in 2001. She organises property viewing days for new applicants and has produced this list of frequently asked questions to help you gain a clearer picture of the process.
Are there properties near to the college?
Yes. If you’re a degree student, the furthest distance away from your campus is a thirty minute walk, but there are also properties very close by. Bear in mind though, that these do tend to be a bit more expensive. The majority of the lessons will be at BIMM West or BIMM House on Brunswick Street West (see map below). Music Production students will be predominantly based at BIMM East (Rock Place) but will also receive lessons at recording studios around town, such as Metway and Brighton Electric.
How long should my contract term be?
Accommodation contracts last for a period of twelve months. Therefore, it’s important to remember that rent payments will be due every month. This includes months outside of term time, even if you choose to return to your family home during the holidays.
Will the property be furnished?
All properties are either part-or-fully furnished, depending on the property. Items you will be required to provide yourself include your own crockery, cutlery, bedding and towels as well as saucepans, cooking utensils and any applicable musical equipment for your course.
What can I expect from my property?
Houses will have at least the following: Kitchens – cooker, fridge/freezer. Lounge (if there is one) – a suite of furniture. Bedroom – bed, desk/chair and wardrobe or hanging rail. House/flat shares generally range from two bedroom properties all the way up to eight bedrooms.
Do I need to apply for housing as part of a group?
A lot of students assume they need to assemble their own group of tenants when attending a property viewing day. This is not the case, as most tend to meet fellow BIMM students on the day who they’ll most likely end up sharing with.
There could be anything from 20-50 students attending on any one of these viewing days, so if you’re feeling a little daunted at the prospect of moving in with people you’ve never met, don’t worry! Other like-minded BIMM freshers will be viewing properties with you; some of whom will most likely be studying the same course as you. Plus, there’ll be a host of freshers events before the start of your first term to help you get better acquainted. Remember, the majority of students end up making friends for life with their new housemates, so embrace the opportunity and remember that our student support team is on hand should you encounter any problems at all.
Will I need to provide a guarantor?
Yes. Most estate agents or landlords will ask for a guarantor whenever students are renting their property. This basically means that if the tenant (that’s you) is unable to pay their share of the rent, the guarantor (usually a parent or guardian) will be liable to pay the outstanding rent balance on the tenant’s behalf. Your guarantor will also have to be a UK home owner. If they are not a current UK home owner, then you may be asked to pay a much larger deposit – normally 4-6 months rent upfront!
How can I find accommodation if I’m under 18?
Most letting agents and landlords aren’t prepared to accept anyone under the age of 18, as you cannot legally sign a contract. Your parent/guardian also cannot legally sign a contract on your behalf for shared student accommodation, because they won’t be the ones living in the property. The answer? If you’re under 18, you will be housed with a vetted local host family who will be used to housing young students. Our accommodation officer will be able to provide you with a list of host families.
What can I expect to pay rent-wise?
Rents starts from approximately £100 per week (plus bills) and can go up from there. Properties in the centre of Brighton (or neighbouring Hove) will most likely be more expensive (£110 plus per-week) than areas further from the town centre which are known for being more popular with students.
Rent is exclusive of utility bills, which amount to approximately £40 per calendar month per-student in a house-share and internet connection costs may be additional to this. Remember, the general advice is to try to see as many properties as you possibly can before making a final decision.
Regarding your living costs, it’s important to bear in mind that many UK applicants are entitled to a maintenance loan from the government. This is separate from your tuition fee loan and assists you with living costs such as rent and essential items such as food, clothing and bill payments. The amount you’re eligible for can vary depending on your household income and can be calculated here.
A wealth of other relevant info on maintenance loans (as well as tuition fee loans and grants) can be found here.
What happens once I’ve found a property I like?
In order to reserve your place at your chosen property, you’ll be required to pay a reservation fee to the estate agent. Before paying this, make sure you know the moving-in date, as you will begin making rent payments from this date. Make sure you are able to afford the rent payments from this date and that you are 100% certain that you have chosen the property that best suits your needs. The reservation fee is non-refundable and non-transferable to other properties should you change your mind later.
What’s the minimum age for shared accommodation
You should be at least 18 years of age on the date that you move into a shared student property.
Will I have to pay a deposit?
Damage deposits are required for all letting agents/landlords. Usually, this equates to at least one month’s calendar rent (sometimes more), and is kept until students move out. Deposits are returned once you move out, providing there is no damage to the property. Any damage/repair costs will be deducted from your deposit (aside from fair wear & tear). Your deposit should also be protected by the Deposit Protection Service. Be sure to ask your estate agent about this.
A calendar month’s rent will be due prior to the moving in date. This must be cleared funds i.e. cash or a banker’s draft. A cheque can be paid to the letting agent/landlord at least 7 to 10 days prior to moving in to allow the cheque time to clear.
Signing contracts, picking up keys and moving in!
On move-in day, it is imperative that ALL housemates go to the estate agent’s office at the same time on the same day to sign contracts, collect keys and attain a copy of the inventory. Later that day, someone from the letting agent will meet ALL students at the property they’ve chosen to go through the inventory with them. There will be no exceptions to this rule, so make sure you and your new housemates are aware of timings.
If you’re a parent/guardian of a new BIMM applicant and have further questions, or if you’ve successfully applied to come study at BIMM Brighton this academic year and would like to arrange some property viewings, please contact our accommodation officer Jackie Phillips.
Viewings are being held on a monthly basis until September 2018