The do’s and don’ts of living off campus
6 essential tips to make living off campus a doddle
Living off campus is an amazing experience. It’s a chance to live with friends and explore the city. Here’s six essential do’s and don’ts from our blogger Jo Patmore to take the hassle out of your new off campus life.
1. DO be aware of travel options!
Having an easy, cheap way to get around is an important part of off-campus living and not something to take for granted.
The walk to campus from my student house takes around 30-40 minutes, which is great for keeping me in shape, but not exactly what you want when you have a dreaded 9am. I spent the first few months believing that walking was my only free option. It wasn’t until about halfway through the year that I discovered the free shuttle bus service between the Edgbaston and Drama campuses that regularly departed from a stop just 10 minutes down the road.
The moral of the story: look up your travel options!
If you’re a University of Birmingham student, currently living near the drama campus and want an easier way to get to Edgbaston campus, or vice versa, I would highly recommend checking out the shuttle bus schedule. This can be found here: https://intranet.birmingham.ac.uk/has/sustainable-travel/Shuttle-bus-services.aspx.
2. DO keep your house neat and tidy
Now household chores aren’t exactly fun, but as someone living in a very tidy house, I couldn’t recommend this more. Coming home to a clean house really helps to diminish stress levels and makes it easier to put your feet up and relax. There are loads of ways you can work together to keep your house looking like a home. Why not try making a weekly chore chart and splitting the chores up amongst yourselves? Or, once a week, get out your Henry hoover and work together to get the house spotless! There’s more on cleaning ideas, here: https://www.purplefrogproperty.com/blog/student-cleaning-guide/.
3. DO go bills included
No one likes paying bills, especially not on a student budget. There’s no escaping them, but there are ways to make them easier to handle. Most people don’t want to fall out with their friends over who keeps running up the bills, so why not eliminate the possibility of awkward tensions by getting a bills-included contract?
Purple Frog offers bills included packages to all their tenants. This allows you and your housemates to ensure that the cost of utilities is split evenly and prevents you having to spend time sorting your monthly expenses. Having a bills-included contract with Purple Frog has certainly helped my peace of mind and allowed me to have plenty of indulgent hot showers!
Check out Purple Frog’s bills included options here: https://www.purplefrogproperty.com/students/utilities/
1. DON’T walk home in the dark alone
This is good advice for everyone, whether you’re a student or not. Sadly, late at night, muggings and attacks can happen. You don’t need to live in fear, but please be vigilant. If you’re walking around the city in the dark, make sure you have a friend with you. If you must go alone, take an Uber or a taxi. Your safety should always be the priority. Uber also has the option to share your location with a friend to help protect you from harm and give your friends peace of mind.
Love Selly Oak has lots of advice on staying safe (which apply to everyone, wherever you live!): https://lovesellyoak.com/keep-safe/.
2. DON’T lose your keys!
Losing your keys can be stressful and costly, so try to make sure you keep them in a safe place when you’re out and about. My brother has told me horror stories of losing his room key and having to pay a pricey sum for the replacement of the lock. Getting a brightly coloured lanyard to keep your keys on and wear around your neck or clip onto your trousers is a great way to help keep them safe.
All Purple Frog tenants get key tags with a contact number printed on it, but being key conscious is the best approach.
3. DON’T forget to apply for council tax exemption
Any household occupied completely by full time students is exempt from paying council tax, but the council doesn’t automatically know that your house is exempt. It is your responsibility to apply for exemption by post, email or through an online form to avoid receiving mistaken council tax bills.
More information about council tax exemptions and discounts and how to apply in Birmingham can be found here: https://www.birmingham.gov.uk/info/20144/exemptions_and_discounts.
Purple frog also has a Council tax guide on its website: https://www.purplefrogproperty.com/students/movingin/counciltax/.
You will also need to send this exemption to Purple Frog at the end of your tenancy: https://www.purplefrogproperty.com/students/howtokeepyourdeposit/.