by Esol Team

 Don't forget to read David's INTERESTING comment below!!! 

A good place to look for accommodation is on the website Gumtree (rent, share). Rent in some areas is expensive, so look at different areas for the best price. 

Remember that it is against the law to take any money (deposit) before you sign an AT5 form for a Short Assured Tenancy. This document says that you will enter a contract with the Landlord.

Click for the latest information on accommodation: Shelter Scotland.  This website is excellent!

We think it is a good idea to take photos of the property when you move in, especially if there is something broken or there is a stain on the carpet, for example. 

Good luck!

Date last modified: Wed 19th June 2013


David's picture

If you are looking for cheap accommodation, one of the cheapest ways is to share a flat with other flatmates.

I live in Edinburgh, maybe the situation and circumstances in East Lothian are different, but it is not easy to find a cheap good room in a shared flat in Edinburgh now. A lot of people are coming and it depends on luck. You have to be ready, act quickly but not impetuously, because some people can cheat you.

You can often only have contact with room-mates, who advertise that they are looking for a new flatmate. Some agencies allow payment of the deposit between you and the flatmate who is leaving the flat. A new contract can be signed later, after checking all your documents – which is really important!

I was looking for a room at two different times and I have spoken with other newcomers about it. The first time, when I just arrived to Edinburgh, I saw more than 25 flats, ranging from terrible, wet, dirty, cold "storage" rooms without windows to amazing rooms and flats full of friendly room-mates. I was not successful for a long time and the reasons were given in this order:

  1. I am unemployed.
  2. I am not a student (due to council tax in flat full of students).
  3. Flatmates prefer girls.
  4. They prefer somebody with perfect English.
  5. Younger people generally prefer other younger flatmates :-)

Once you do find a flat, let me recommend a few points:

  • Read their lease contract with the agency. Try to visit or call the agency and be sure that the rent is OK including the amount and conditions of the deposit.
  • You should never hand over cash. Always use a bank transfer, because this is proof of payment.
  • Prepare your reference. An agency wants a reference from your former Landlord or/and employer. This is a problem when you have just arrived from another country. In my case my first agency didn't want to sign a contract with me, so my friend called the agency and after half an hour persuaded them that I am a responsible person and my former colleague from home sent a recommendation saying what an amazing person I am.
  • Check how much you pay in the shared council tax payment. Pay your part only, but check the other flatmates are paying, because any debt is a shared debt and nobody from council cares who pays it - it is the law that it must be paid.
  • Try to check payment of bills. E.g. when we moved to a new flat, after two weeks we realised that when we put some money for gas, the machine took 10 pounds every week to debt. There was a big debt from former flatmates, more then one thousand pounds!
  • Try to check the quality of the shower; it has very low pressure in some flats. I think electric showers are better.
  • And a last note! A lot of furniture can be put in by flatmates without the agency’s knowledge. You are liable for any breakages or damage only of the furniture and fittings on the schedule of contents – which you should have by law.

Good luck!