Houses to Rent in the Midlands: 5 Things You Should Know

bars and restaurants by the canal in Birmingham
Rent in the Midlands – you too could be a canal-side dweller! Photo by Danilo D’Agostino

The Midlands is a part of the UK that is often neglected by the population. Most people are too focused on the busy city life surrounding London or the University towns of Oxford and Cambridge, so the Midlands are often overlooked.

In the heart of England lies a region of diverse landscapes and vibrant cities known as the Midlands. It’s an area that’s steeped in history, bustling with culture, and increasingly sought-after for its affordability and convenience.

Whether you’re considering a move for work, study, or a change of scenery, the Midlands presents a unique blend of opportunities and charm that’s hard to ignore.

birmingham new street station
Birmingham New Street Station – Network Rail

The decision to rent a home, however, is not one to be taken lightly. It requires careful planning and an understanding of the local housing market to ensure you make the best decision for your lifestyle and budget.

It’s more than just finding a place to lay your head – it’s about finding a space that can become your sanctuary, your office, your playground, and more. A rented house in the Midlands could be the starting point of a new chapter in your life, and it’s crucial to get it right.

5 Things About Rent in the Midlands

a terraced street in Birmingham

Low Rent

One of the most attractive aspects of the Midlands is the affordability of its rental market. Compared to the skyrocketing prices in London and the South East, the Midlands offers a breath of fresh air with its significantly lower rental rates.

You won’t have to travel far before you encounter rows upon rows of terraced houses that were once built for the industrial workers in the community. Since there is such an abundance of housing in the area, the house prices are quite low. As a result, you will find that the monthly rent is a lot cheaper than in parts of the South East.

The average rent for a one-bedroom flat in Birmingham is around £1, 094, whereas the average rent for a one-bedroom flat in London is £2,791. Renting a property in the Midlands allows residents to enjoy more space, better facilities, and often a higher standard of living, without breaking the bank.

Subsidence

The main reason why so many houses were constructed in the Midlands was because there was so much industrial activity back in the day. This means that houses were needed for the people who worked in:

  • Steel mills,
  • Along the canals,
  • In large factories,
  • and in the mines

While having so many houses is a big advantage, there has been a common downside to this industrial activity in the area – an increase in subsidence.

The digging up of large quantities of land in the area has made the land in the Midlands quite unstable. Subsidence can lead to structural damage in buildings, manifesting in signs such as cracks in walls, doors or windows sticking, or uneven floors.

These complications can result in costly repairs, potential safety risks, and implications for property insurance.

For renters, it’s critical to be aware of the potential for subsidence in the Midlands, and to ensure any rental property has been appropriately assessed and any previous subsidence issues addressed. It’s advisable to check for any signs of subsidence during property inspections and discuss any concerns with the landlord or property manager before signing a rental agreement.

Another cause of subsidence in residential properties is the rapid expansion of tree roots under the foundations. However, a good landlord will have had a tree survey conducted before they bought the property.

Unfortunately, fixing subsidence issues is quite expensive and your landlord will need to get the house pinned for it to remain as a liveable address.

Low Cost Of Living

canals in the Midlands

The main reason why landlords can charge so little for the rent in the Midlands is because the region is a more affordable alternative when compared to areas like London and the South East. The most significant factor is the lower cost of housing.

Both rental and property prices tend to be much lower in the Midlands, which dramatically reduces the overall cost of living. If you are looking for a house to rent in Birmingham, for example, you’ll be pleased to find that the low cost of living in the area makes it an exceptionally affordable choice for both families and individuals.

Transportation costs are also generally lower. Not only are public transport fees more affordable, but many residents also find they can rely less on cars due to the compact nature of towns and cities in the Midlands, saving on petrol and vehicle maintenance costs.

The costs of groceries, dining out, and leisure activities are typically less expensive in the Midlands when compared to other areas, providing additional savings.

While wages can also be lower in the Midlands compared to regions like London, many residents find that the lower cost of living more than compensates for this. This affordability, combined with the area’s rich cultural history and central location, makes the Midlands an attractive place for individuals and families seeking a balanced lifestyle.

Increasingly, people are choosing to live in the Midlands, but still work in the South East, to live more comfortably on their wages. But this means more time commuting and less time to do what you love!

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Travel Options

Geographically, the Midlands is conveniently situated in the heart of England, making it a great base for travel to other parts of the UK. Its excellent transport links, including extensive road and rail networks, mean that other major cities, as well as the countryside and even the coast, are all within easy reach.

The Midlands is well-serviced by a comprehensive rail network. Key cities like Birmingham, Nottingham, and Leicester are major rail hubs offering regular services to London, Manchester, Leeds, and other cities across the UK.

Birmingham’s New Street Station is one of the busiest in the country. The proposed High-Speed 2 (HS2) rail line will further improve connectivity, reducing travel times between the Midlands and other parts of the UK.

An extensive road network crisscrosses the Midlands, with major motorways such as the M1, M6, M42, and M5 providing easy access to various parts of the country. This makes traveling by car or bus a viable option for many journeys.

The Midlands is home to several airports, including Birmingham Airport, East Midlands Airport, and others, offering both domestic and international flights. Birmingham Airport is particularly well-connected, serving destinations all over the world.

Within the Midlands, the cities and towns have reliable public transport systems. Cities like Birmingham and Nottingham have extensive bus and tram networks, and even areas outside the major cities are usually well-served by regular bus services.

Studentville

Birmingham library
Birmingham Library Photo by Brian Lewicki

A large university is always going to attract young renters from all over the country, and sometimes, the globe. The Midlands is home to several large universities including:

  • University of Nottingham
  • Coventry University
  • University of Birmingham
  • Nottingham Trent University
  • Loughborough University
  • University of Derby

With so many top universities in the area, a lot of students will be moving here each year looking for accommodation. Choosing to live in a university town can bring a myriad of benefits.

For starters, these towns are often buzzing with energy and cultural activities, driven by the diverse and dynamic student population. They typically offer a wide range of amenities, including libraries, sports facilities, music venues, theatres, and a variety of dining and shopping options, many of which are affordable to cater to student budgets.

Public transportation systems in university towns are usually well-developed, making commuting easy and convenient.

University towns also tend to have a strong focus on innovation and education, attracting businesses and offering job opportunities not only in academia but in various sectors like technology, healthcare, and arts.

Finally, living in a university town offers unique opportunities for lifelong learning and community involvement, as many universities open up some of their courses, lectures, and events to the public.

Whether you’re a student, a young professional, or a retiree, the vibrant atmosphere and resources of a university town, of which there are many in the Midlands, can offer a stimulating and enriching living experience.

For the most part, renting in the Midlands is just like renting a place anywhere else in the UK. However, a low cost of living and vibrant history make this one of the most unique places on the rental market.

Disclosure: Some of the links above are affiliate links, meaning that at no additional cost to you, I will receive a very small commission if you click through and make a purchase. These links help to pay the editorial costs of writing a blog. For more information, please read my full affiliate disclosure here.

I also use Artificial Intelligence Image generators to create some of my images. These are to show you examples of my ideas and inspiration when I cannot produce the real images myself.

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