Students' Renting Experience

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We asked 6 students to share their experiences of finding flatmates, flats and their top tips for other students starting their search.

 

 

Got a story or tip you'd like to share? Please get in touch at advice@eusa.ed.ac.uk

 


Student 1:

How did you meet your housemates?
When in first year and looking for a second year flat I met flatmates just amongst my friends. Four of us moved in together. I’d say it’s important to judge how many you would like to live with. For third year I decided to live with only one other friend, which went somewhat wrong. Choose flatmates carefully, essentially!

When did you find your accommodation?
I’d first started thinking about it a bit at the beginning of the calendar year. You can choose to look as early as this but only a few of the letting agencies advertise this early. I got both my letting agency flats in February, which along with early March I’d say are the optimal times for securing a flat.

Where did you look and for how long did you search?
I pretty much exclusively used CityLets when looking for my second year flat, for third year I enquired with my existing letting agency (who had been good). This year I am sharing a flat with a friend whose dad is the landlord, which has gone well so far. I found this accommodation just by enquiring with friends.

Top tip?
Always view a flat, and if you’re at the viewing and like a flat a lot, then you have to make the decision and go for it! Don’t make poor decisions obviously, but I lost a few good flats because other people were just a little snappier. Group viewings can be intimidating and people will sometimes run to a letting agency from the viewing to secure a flat. You just have to be on the ball but sensible!

 


Student 2:

How did you meet your housemates?
I moved to Edinburgh to be a postgraduate student, and so had to find private accommodation straight away rather than go into halls. I didn’t know anyone in the city but I ended up finding a flat through a friend, so it’s always worth asking around. In the past I have lived with good friends who I met in 1st year accommodation. I have found living with people I didn’t know previously a lot less stressful than sharing with people I was really good friends with. Being good friends doesn’t mean you will be good flatmates!

When did you find your accommodation?
As I did it all through a friend of a friend I didn’t have to search long. I got it all sorted out in April.

Where did you look and for how long did you search?
The flat I am in is normally advertised through CityLets and one of my flatmates found it through Gumtree where the spare room was advertised.

Top tip?
Think really carefully about who you want to live with. It sounds harsh, but if you think someone is going to be unreliable about paying bills/rent etc then be careful because you will usually end up in joint liability contracts for utilities etc. People often find they have a better time if they’re not living with their best friends as it can be a bit much socialising and living with the same people all the time (although it can also be a lot of fun).

If you know other students renting in Edinburgh ask around about good landlords/agencies. They do exist but there are also a lot of bad ones and if you ask a few people you will start to hear the same names coming up and who to avoid. In terms of looking round flats, always try & get some contact details/arrangement for asking the current tenants about what the flat/landlord is really like.

 


Student 3:

How did you meet your housemates?
Met my housemates through a friend back home.

When did you find your accommodation?
At the end of March, after having many flats taken from just in front of our noses – when viewing if you like it bring necessary funds with you to head straight to the agency.

Where did you look and for how long did you search?
Zoopla, LettingWe, etc. Looked for 2 months first time, 2 months second time.

Top tip?
Do not get a flat with people you don’t really know just because you want to be involved. It can be fun living in a 2 person flat, too.

ELS and many other agencies ask for illegal fees (EasyLet, for example, doesn’t). Make a video of all the rooms in the flat when you move in to avoid quarrels when you move out.

 


Student 4:

How did you meet your housemates?
I met my flatmates through my course.

When did you find your accommodation?
We found ours pretty early. We were all away on our year abroad, but one of my flatmates was visiting Edinburgh in February, so was able to search for us and luckily she managed to find something! Although this is pretty early – in second year we only found a flat in late April.

Where did you look and for how long did you search?
We looked online, using websites like StudentPad and the sites of various letting agents in Edinburgh. We eventually went with a private landlord we found on Studentpad. We only looked for a few weeks, but we were pretty lucky – in my 2nd year we spent a couple of months looking.

Top tip?
Always view a flat before committing. Take pictures of everything when you move in, especially of any existing damage (I had major issues with getting my deposit back from my 2nd year landlord, and this would have really helped!) Don’t panic! No matter how long it takes, you will find a flat eventually!

 


Student 5:

How did you meet your housemates?
I met my flatmates through halls and my course.

When did you find your accommodation?
We found our accommodation through University flats when they went online in February.

Where did you look and for how long did you search?
We looked at both private flats and other University flats. And we didn’t search too long, took the University flat.

Top tip?
Write down all the things you need from your flat, price, location and rooms etc and make sure you come to agreement with flatmates before searching.

 


Student 6:

How did you meet your housemates?
Met my flatmates at church. 

When did you find your accommodation?
We found our accommodation just before Easter.

Where did you look and for how long did you search?
We looked on LettingWeb and then contacted the landlords individually to arrange private viewings.

Top tip?
Don’t be afraid to live a little further out – the flats are bigger and cheaper and you get used to walking in and they are less stressful to get as they’re not as in demand! It also means if you’re paying less that you can spend more money on heating and buses if necessary – The world won’t end if you’re not in Marchmont!

 

Last updated - 10 April 2017