Accommodation in Edinburgh

Accommodation in Edinburgh
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Updated on 14 October, 2019

When you first move to Edinburgh, you will likely need rented accommodation. From a room in a shared property to a one-bedroom flat, or a family home, there are various options available to expats in this beautiful city.

Rent prices in Edinburgh

Currently, an average one-bedroom apartment in Edinburgh costs around £1,017, whereas an average two-bedroom apartment about £1,273. However, you can find a room in a shared apartment from £400 to £800 depending on the area.

Heating and utilities are usually not included in this price and, in the winter, they can get quite substantial as many houses in Edinburgh are old and require a lot of heating. You will also have to pay council tax, which is around £90 - £150 depending on whether you live alone or share the property, and the size of the property itself. Note that students do not have to pay council tax in Scotland.

You will be required to pay a deposit, usually equivalent to one month's additional rent. You will need to have this money ready to go alongside your first month's rent. It is a legal requirement for landlords to keep this money in a third-party Safe Deposits scheme, so don't pay the deposit directly into a private bank account.

Accommodation types in Edinburgh

You will find both flats and houses for rent in Edinburgh, with the most common type of property on the market a traditional tenement flat. Edinburgh's residential buildings are rarely equipped with a lift, and the old tenement style can involve walking up several flights of stairs.

It is common in Edinburgh for rental properties to come furnished. In case you would prefer to rent an unfurnished housing unit, you will still find an oven, a fridge and a washing machine.

Renting accommodation in Edinburgh

Most properties to rent in Edinburgh are done so through a letting agency. The agency acts as your go-between with the landlord and will help you process any paperwork. Letting agencies in Edinburgh include Umega LettingsDJ Alexander, and Southside Property Management.

Several criteria are taken into account by owners and real estate agencies when it comes to letting a property. You will be asked whether you are a smoker and if you are planning to move in with your pets. Usually, neither of these factors are permitted, but if they are, you could have to pay a higher deposit amount.

If you are a student, there are several options open to you. Your university will have its own Halls of Residence, which you can apply to stay at. These are normally shared flats, with all bills included. Alternatively, there are several providers of private student accommodation in Edinburgh. This can be a more expensive option, but often the facilities are better, and you will have an opportunity to meet students from other universities too.

How to find accommodation in Edinburgh

Edinburgh is a city of many contrasting neighbourhoods, so you should consider your budget and what type of property you would like to live in before starting your search.

Many Edinburgh newcomers turn to Gumtree or SpareRoom.com to find a room in a shared property. There are also several Facebook groups where both tenants looking for accommodation and landlords with rooms available will share posts. In these cases, you will often be subletting, which is an easier application process. This is a good option if you are looking for a room before you have moved to Edinburgh. However, a remote search will only give you an idea about the types of accommodation available in Edinburgh and rent prices. It is best to be on the spot to look for accommodation and sign your lease contract in person.

Websites such as Rightmove and Zoopla are great search sites if you are looking to take out a lease in your own name, or with a friend. When you find a home, you would potentially like to rent. You will need to contact the agency renting the property. Usually, the agency will host group viewings, where you can ask any questions and pick up an application form.

The Edinburgh rental market is very competitive, particularly for one-bedroom properties. Just because you find a property you like doesn't mean you will manage to secure it! Have a copy of your passport, a reference from a former landlord, and proof of income (i.e. a letter confirming your new job) before you start applying, as this will help you submit an application quickly.

When looking for accommodation in Edinburgh, never make any payment before verifying the owner's registration number, or going through a reputable agency.

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