Every year, a number of Malaysians contacting me every year enquiring about accommodation here in Coventry. Most of these were from people who were coming over to the UK to pursue a PhD at the University of Warwick. Despite it's name, the University is in Coventry. A lot of people are not even aware that there's a "Malaysian Coventry Society" here.
As I had mentioned in an earlier post of mine, "Newbie in the UK", most Malaysians prefer to live in either the Foleshill or Stoney Stanton area of Coventry. The rent there is unlikely to go down as the demand from families looking for affordable accommodation (read cheap) is quite high. Apart from a few exceptions, the condition of many of the houses are in a bad state of repair with leaking bathrooms, ancient looking decor and tatty and old carpets.
Most Malaysians who thought that they were moving into 3 bedroom houses are surprised to find that the third bedroom fits only a single bed with no room to move. Most end up moving to another house later. Also, if you were seriously thinking of converting one of the rooms into a office or study, you might have to reconsider.
If you are moving to the UK to pursue your PhD, you might want to consider moving into a partly furnished house. The reason is that you are going to be here for at least three years (four in most cases) and usually the furniture provided are of such low quality or old, that by the time you get ready to leave the UK, you would have replaced most of the furniture provided with your own. In the end you are paying for a fully furnished house but the furniture are all yours.
Some of the rental rates are quite high considering the condition of the houses and quality of the furnishings. Maybe it's time we moved away from these localities and looked elsewhere.
A few of my friends have been able to find houses done up to a good quality and nearer the University. They usually have to pay a higher rent but the difference is more than made up by the money saved on transport.
For those planning to come over this year, I think there might be some good news. I have been hearing rumours that rentals were falling in the city but brushed them off as I am aware that some new comers who moved into houses previously occupied by Malaysians had the rents increased. However, a look at Gum tree and accounts of some friends who have been able to secure cheaper rentals, might indicate that rentals are indeed falling. This might be due to the present economy whereby many house owners have entered the rental market instead of selling.
Yesterday evening, I went to take a look at a house for a friend who's moving here soon. It's just a short distance from my house and because the rental was quite low, didn't have high expectations. Imagine my shock when I found a really spacious house with good quality furnishings - for example, two comfy leather sofas, solid wood dining table, display cabinet, etc. Furthermore, every bedroom has a wardrobe fitted and even the smallest bedroom has a double bed with enough room to fit a table in. A lot of Malaysians were amazed when I told them about the house and I can guess, a lot of them are now currently house hunting on the net.