LOOKING FOR ACCOMMODATION
Edinburgh is an exciting and vibrant city. However, this does mean that there can be stiff competition for rental accommodation. Rent can also be expensive compared to other parts of Scotland. We recommend that you start searching for a flat at least a month prior to the start of your course.
You have the following options when looking for accommodation in Edinburgh and the surrounding areas:
- Edinburgh Napier University Accommodation. An offer is guaranteed to all first year and direct entry undergraduate students who meet the eligibility criteria.
- Short-term accommodation (hostels, hotels, B&Bs). It can sometimes be a good idea to stay in short-term accommodation when you first arrive in Edinburgh to familiarize yourself with the city while you search for a longer-term place to live.
- Private Sector Accommodation. We recommend reading the university’s brochure “Private Sector Accommodation: A student guide to flat renting in Edinburgh” (see downloadable documents at the foot of the linked page), which gives information on how to search for a flat, student-friendly neighborhoods, deposits, tenancy agreements and more. There is also a useful Flat Hunting Checklist within the document, which lists things to look for when viewing a flat (e.g: mould, evidence of rodents, double glazing, shower pressure etc.)
BEWARE OF SCAMS
A scam is where a person tricks you into sending money in order to rent a room, which then turns out not to exist, or belongs to someone else and they don’t have permission to rent the room. They are unfortunately fairly common.
Some warning signs to look out for include very cheap rent (to lure you in), high quality professional photographs (which could be stolen from estate agency websites), putting pressure on you to act quickly, asking you to contact them privately through whatsapp / messenger or asking for payment by a money transfer service, e.g. Western Union or Moneygram (hard to trace).
How can I prevent being scammed?
- Always view the flat in person (or virtually) before paying any money.
- Check if the Landlord is registered (on the Scottish Landlord Register). The Landlord Registration number should be listed on the advert. If it isn’t, ask for it.
- Book through a Letting Agent or trusted accommodation provider. You can search Companies House to check whether a company is genuine. You can also check if your Letting Agent is registered (on Scottish Letting Agent Register).
- When making a payment on a website check your browser bar for a secure padlock symbol and that the website address begins https://.
- Ask ENSA Advice. We are happy to look over any accommodation offer or contract you are asked to sign before you hand over any money
If you think you might have been scammed, act quickly! Ask your bank to cancel any payment you may have made, report the crime to a local Police Station or by calling 101, and contact ENSA Advice for an appointment.
MOVING IN TIPS
- If you plan to install broadband internet, check with your Landlord first. Installing phone lines may require written permission.
- Take gas and electric meter readings on the day you move in.
- Check the gas and electrical safety certificates are up to date.
- Agree with your flatmates whose names will go on the bills (gas, electricity, internet, TV etc), and make sure everybody is in agreement about plans for paying bills (in writing if possible) so that there are no surprises.
- Aim to pay the agreed deposit and rental payments on time and in the event of genuine difficulties make sure you inform the landlord.
- An inventory of the contents of the flat will usually be provided. However, if it is not then request this from the landlord before you move in. This can save disputes later.
- Take photos of any damage to walls, carpeting or furnishings.
- You may be entitled to help with your Council Tax; further information is available from the iPoint.
- Buy a TV license, if needed (you need a TV license if you watch BBC programmes on iPlayer or if you are watching any other form of live TV).
- Let relevant organisations know your change of address (e.g your bank, ENU).
- Ask your landlord which Tenancy Deposit Scheme your deposit has been placed in.
MOVING OUT TIPS
- Organise a thorough clean of the property.
- Check your inventory and account for any losses or breakages.
- Organise an inspection with your landlord and make arrangements to get your deposit back.
- Call electricity and gas suppliers to give final readings (take photos and keep).
- Check if you need to cancel your internet contract and if you need to take any action, such as returning your hub.
- TV license — update with your new address and move date or claim money back if you are moving home over the summer.
- Return keys and get a signed receipt if you hand them into a letting agent’s office. Send by recorded delivery if posting back or use a courier service.
- Consider reviewing your landlord, letting agent, flat/house or area on Marks out of Tenancy. The more Edinburgh students who do so, the more useful the site becomes.
TENANCY RIGHTS & RESPONSIBILITIES
Your Landlord has certain duties to keep your flat safe, secure and in a habitable condition. They must also give you notice if they require access. If they're failing to do so you should complain to them in the first instance, but if they don't respond, you can contact ENSA Advice for further support.
As a tenant, you also have responsibilities, and failing to fulfil them could cause issues when you leave the property. For example, you must:
- Pay your rent on time
- Take care of the property
- Report damage as soon as you spot it
- Avoid causing nuisance to neighbours
- Be mindful of rules regarding communal areas such as stairwells and gardens
- Keep the building secure by closing main doors and only buzz in people you know
- Dispose of waste and recycling properly
- Pay bills in the flat (gas, electricity, telephone)
As always, if you have any questions or would like our help or support with any of the above, please get in touch with ENSA Advice.