If you are not guaranteed an offer of University accommodation, or choose not to take up such an offer, you will probably need to use the private sector.
Finding somewhere to rent in Edinburgh can be difficult, especially if you are new to the city, or even to the UK, but, as long as you are vigilant and put in some time and view properties you can be successful. We have compiled some helpful information on privately-rented accommodation in Edinburgh that will hopefully help you in your search.
If, for whatever reason and at whatever time, you are still interested in University accommodation, you can see what is currently available on our brand new Domus website.
Tenancy scams: don't send money upfront!
Be very careful when responding to adverts for private accommodation. Do not, under any circumstances, send money to anyone for accommodation before viewing the accommodation, before verifying that the person is the actual landlord or representative of the landlord (such as the letting agent) and before seeing the tenancy agreement.
These scams usually involve you being asked to pay money upfront to secure the accommodation via payment services such as Western Union, Bidpay or Money Gram.
If you give the scammer a copy of the receipt you will lose your money and will not be able to recover it again.
Another common scam is for a 'landlord' to ask for a deposit and rent to secure the property at the viewing. Please do not hand over cash before or whilst viewing a property. You should always take time to check and verify that they are genuine before parting with any money.
How to find out if a landlord or letting agency is genuine
You can find out if the landlord and the property are registered by visiting the Landord Registration Scotland website and entering the address of the property. If you cannot find the property then you can call or email the Edinburgh City Council's landlord registration team to double check on 0131 469 5293 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. If the landlord or letting agency is not registered, you should not rent from them.
If you would like to check if your letting agency is legitimate you could check the following websites, although membership here is voluntary.
If you have been the victim of a scam you can contact the University police team here.
The Edinburgh University Students' Association (EUSA) website contains an accommodation section.
This provides useful information about what to look for and expect when renting private housing. The website also provides links to the most common websites used by students looking for accommodation in Edinburgh and the EUSA Advice Place has produced a series of useful guides and a flat-hunting checklist that you can print out.
Community Guide - A Guide to Living in Edinburgh
Edinburgh is a fantastic city to live in but the key to getting the most out of your time here is to really get involved in your community.
We have put together our own 'Students in the Community' guide in a handy pdf that you can download from the link below.
This guide put together by EUSA and the University is another great place to start!
The Advice Place
EUSA's Advice Place can offer confidential and impartial advice and guidance on accommodation, tenancy issues and leases throughout the year as well as advice and guidance on many other topics. You can drop in to their offices at Potterrow or Kings Building's House or you can call or email for advice.
Accommodation Information Centre
We run an Accommodation Information Centre with EUSA's Advice Place at the start of each academic year. This is to assist those who are still looking for accommodation for the upcoming year. Any available University accommodation will be advertised in the Accommodation Information Centre and we can also help you to search for private sector accommodation. It is also a great way to link up with others who are also still looking, as generally you need to be part of a pre-formed group before you can apply for group flats.
Lease and tenancy agreement advice
When you sign a lease for accommodation you are putting your name to a legally binding document. Both you and the landlord (whether this is the University or a private landlord) will have obligations under the lease and you need to be clear about what these are. For example, once you have signed, you will be liable for the agreed rent for the period stated in the lease unless (with the agreement of the landlord) you can find someone else to take on the lease. We are happy to check leases/tenancy agreements for you to ensure that they are legal and that there are no surprises hidden in the small print.
For a comprehensive overview of the private rented sector in Scotland and the relevant legislation please see the Renting Scotland website.
Council tax is a charge made by local authorities for each property. Students are normally exempt from paying council tax (other than short-term exchange/visiting students).
To be sure that you are not charged you must be studying at the University for at least 21 hours per week and for at least 24 weeks per year. Partners/spouses of students may be liable for council tax. See Edinburgh Council website for more information.
Property agents and lawyers
Flats to rent are sometimes managed and advertised directly by the owners themselves, often using local newspapers or sites such as Citylets. Usually they will employ an agent to manage the property and deal with the advertising, lease paperwork, rent collection etc. Many agents will also deal with routine repairs and maintenance.
There are many firms of estate agents and property managers in Edinburgh, and many firms of solicitors (lawyers) who also specialise in the buying, selling and renting of property.
Free newspapers or student newspapers are available around the University.
The Scotsman (on Thursdays) and the Edinburgh Evening News both carry property for rent adverts.
All the main buildings around the campus have noticeboards, where you will often find adverts for flats and vacant rooms that are available to let. Places such as the Student Centre at Potterrow naturally tend to have more adverts than the smaller departmental noticeboards. Boards in the lobby areas of some of the larger University buildings, such as David Hume Tower, are also usually good sources of information.
Accommodation, Catering and Events
18 Holyrood Park Road
Tel: +44(0)131 651 2042
Private sector advice
- Not sure where to look for a flat or how much to pay?
- Unsure if you lease is legal/fair?
- Want to know if your landlord is properly registered?
- Having problems with your landlord?
Even if you are not staying in University owned/managed accommodation we can provide advice on all sorts of tenancy issues.
Private sector team
Tel: (+44) 0131 651 2130