New Students

Find your own accommodation

If you are not planning to live in University accommodation, it is strongly recommended that you start looking into private accommodation well in advance of arriving. When you are choosing accommodation and moving in there are lots of things to consider, including legal issues, costs and comfort.

When you are choosing accommodation and moving in there are lots of things to consider, including legal issues, costs and comfort.

 If you are not planning to live in University accommodation, it is strongly recommended that you start looking into private accommodation in advance of arriving in Edinburgh. We also recommend that you keep updated on the impact of housing in Edinburgh.   Advice on leases, deposits, which flats and areas to consider, student support and how to avoid housing scams. 

Leases and deposits

If you entered into a lease (also known as a private rented tenancy) after December 2017, you can end your agreement at any point.

You should give your landlord at least 28 days' notice in writing if you want to end your tenancy.

More information on private rented tenancies can be found on the Scottish Government website.

Private tenancy guide (Scottish Government)


Private accommodation deposits act as a guarantee against:

  • damage to the property
  • cleaning bills if the property is left in poor condition
  • unpaid bills (including rent)

If there are no such issues, after you have given notice and ended your tenancy, you should expect to get your deposit back.  

More information on tenancy deposits can be found on the Scottish Government website.

Tenancy deposits (Scottish Government)

The Advice Place 

There’s plenty of support available to help you find somewhere suitable in the private sector. The Advice Place offers a variety of services to help, from flatmate finding to contract checking.

You can receive advice in person or via phone, email, or video call during opening times or by appointment.

Useful information about accommodation (Advice Place)  

The Advice Place

Contact details



5/2 Bristo Square

Post Code

Free lease checking service

Advisers from The Advice Place can read over your lease (also referred to as a tenancy agreement) before you sign it and answer any questions or worries about renting private accommodation in Edinburgh. 

Checking and signing your lease (The Advice Place website)

Avoiding housing scams

Please remain vigilant about accommodation scams, which can affect a few students each year. The Advice Place have useful information to read before viewing any private properties, before viewing anything, ask yourself the questions recommended on the advice place webpages

The Advice Place's information on scams (Edinburgh University Student Association website)

Student support

Our health and wellbeing services can provide support for your physical and mental health, even if you are not living in University accommodation.

These services  include:

  • the Chaplaincy
  • Student Counselling
  • Student Disability Services

Find health and wellbeing support services

Rent Guarantor Scheme

The purpose of this scheme is to enable the University of Edinburgh students to rent private accommodation that may not otherwise be available because a UK-based rent guarantor is required. The scheme has up to 100 places and is open only to overseas and EU continuing students, and in exceptional circumstances to UK students where no UK guarantors are available.

This may be useful to you in your second year of University. First year, final year, and part-time students are not eligible under this scheme.

Rent guarantor scheme (University Scholarships and Student Funding)

Rent guarantors (The Advice Place website)


Tenancy agreement / contract

A tenancy agreement is a contract you and your landlord have. Two copies of the contract should be signed and you should keep one.

You should read carefully, understand and agree with the contract before you sign it. The Advice Place can help you understand your tenancy agreement.

The Advice Place

Security deposit

A security deposit is a sum of money you pay to the landlord at the beginning of a tenancy agreement. It is used to cover any damage to the property or if the rent is not paid.

When your tenancy agreement ends your security deposit will be returned to you. Any cost of damages or outstanding rent will be subtracted.

To protect yourself and your deposit, you should have a full inventory of the items within the property, and their condition before moving in. You and the landlord should sign this inventory and keep a copy.

Landlords lodge deposits with Mydeposits Scotland scheme. The scheme ensures that the money is kept in a safe bank account until the end of the tenancy.

My Deposits Scotland Scheme

Planning your accommodation - UKCISA


A guarantor is a person who agrees to be liable in case of non-payment of your rent. Some rental agencies may require you to nominate a guarantor.

Often, guarantors are required to be UK-based. If this is not possible, you may be asked to pay a few months’ rent in advance instead, as additional security for the landlord or rental agency against non-payment of rent.

University of Edinburgh Rent Guarantor Scheme

To assist students, the University of Edinburgh offers a Rent Guarantor Scheme. The scheme offers support for up to 100 students per year and although not open to applications from first, final and part time students, continuing international students are welcome to apply.

Rent Guarantor Scheme

Watch our 'How to...' videos for further information and advice about accommodation

These short videos will cover the ways in which you can find accommodation in Edinburgh, tips on how to do this safely to avoid scams, information on joint tenancy agreements and rent guarantors and deposits.

Video: Accommodation Playlist - 'How to...' Sessions 2023
Part of the 'How to...' online sessions 2023, this playlist includes a range of videos to help new students with any questions or concerns they may have about accommodation in Edinburgh.


Double glazing

Double glazing means the windows have two well sealed plates of glass. This keeps housing warm and dry and can save you money on heating costs.

You should check that your accommodation is well insulated.


A home with an efficient central heating system and good insulation will keep you warm and comfortable over cold winter months. This can help you avoid illness and will reduce the cost of your heating bills.

Gas fired central heating (GFCH) Gas is supplied through mains pipes. Gas central heating is cheaper and more environmentally friendly than electric heating.
Electric heating Electric heating is not usually as efficient as gas. It often takes longer to heat your home and can be more expensive.
Oil fired central heating Oil heating runs from a tank which needs to be filled up. It can be effective, but you must ensure the oil tank does not run out. Oil is normally used in houses, and is less common in central Edinburgh.
White meter heating This is electric heating which only works at night, when electricity rates are cheaper. It will normally heat enough water for the next day, depending on how much you use. You might find that it can become cold during the day.


You should consider safety when searching for or viewing accommodation.

  • Is the area safe? Edinburgh is a very safe city, but you should check that you feel safe in the area.
  • Is the building secure? Check that the building has a safe entry system like an intercom. Ensure that the locks on doors and windows are reliable.
  • Are fire safety measures in place? Check that there is a good fire escape route and that smoke alarms are fitted.

Moving into your new home

To help you prepare for moving into your new home, have a look at at the Advice Place handy moving in checklist and a useful guide of where to source household items and furniture. :

Tips and Guidance for moving into private accommodation 

Other costs

You should budget for all possible costs when choosing your accommodation. You will have to pay for utilities and bills on top of the cost of your rent.

Utilities and bills