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Finding Accommodation 

Once you've decided who you'll be living with, you can decide amongst yourselves what kind of place you want to live in and start browsing! It might be useful to have a group chat or document where you can share potential properties, plus, it'll be useful when you move in!

It's important to decide if you're going to go with an agent or a private landlord.

Letting Agents



They are more knowledgeable and have greater access to a wide range of properties  

There might be a delay with getting things done in your flat, as you have to get in contact with the letting agency who will then get in contact with the landlord  

They know the ins and outs of property law and can be a helpful resource when dealing with legal documents  


You have back up is something goes wrong with your lease  


Private Landlord



You deal directly with the decision-maker which means you have direct communication with the landlord 

Landlords can fail to perform the necessary checks and regulations (safety checks for example)  

Opportunity to build a good relationship with the Landlord 

Your lease agreement may remain unregulated and policed.  

*But this does not apply to ALL landlords 

*All landlords in Scotland need to be registered and you check if a landlord is registered.

Find more information here

Where in the city should you live?

The best places to stay for easy access to Heriot-Watt are on the west of the city, in areas such as Haymarket, Dalry, Gorgie, Chesser, Slateford, Currie, Juniper Green and Balerno. See the full map in the University Accommodation Guide. But it's up to you to work out where you think is best for you to live, make sure to check out the area and think about transport links. Check out more info on student areas here.

Public Transport

If you are using public transport to get the campus, then you should look for a property on the 25, 34, 35 or 45 Lothian Buses routes.

A student Ridacard from Lothian Buses allows unlimited travel on Lothian Buses and trams, and the costs are slightly different depending on how you pay and how long you sign up for, make sure to find the latest information here.

How do you get a ridacard?

You need to visit one of the Lothian Travel hubs in the city centre to buy one. Make sure to take your student ID card.

If you are not using the bus often enough to need a Ridacard, you can use your bank card/phone to tap payment. This is capped at a maximum cost per day (the price of a Dayticket) or if travelling for several days one week. maximum cost per week (the standard cost of a weekly non-student Ridacard),

Where to find somewhere to live

There are a variety of websites which you can use to find a place to live, a lot of properties are listed on multiple sites, and there's a loads of different types of places to stay avaliable, so make sure to use filters to narrow down your search!

Here are some sites you might find useful:

Even with these websites, you need to be wary of scammers as anyone can upload to some of the sites!

Or you can check individual agents websites, where some offer a mailing list where you can get the newest properties on the market.

Check back often and ask to view as soon as you're interested in a place, but make sure to watch out for scams.

Your First Viewing 

Once the agent or landlord has arrived, they will let you into the flat and show you around. Here a few steps you should follow in order to get the most out of your viewing:

  1. Make sure you inspect each room carefully - look at the size, amount of storage, facilities, quality etc., does this match the pictures you saw previously?

  1. Is there enough furniture and is the furniture in good condition? 

  1. Are the carpets in good condition and are properly fitted?  

  1. Is there a sufficient heating system?  

  1. Do you have a garden? Who’s supposed to look after the garden? 

  1. Do you have access to a shed? Is it clear or full of rubbish? Are the gardening tools in good condition? 

  1. Is there a secure lockable door at the back of property? Does the front door lock properly? Can you get out safely if there was a fire? 

  1. If possible, check that the roof has nothing missing, no broken gutters or plants growing out of said gutter. 

  1. Check all the kitchen appliances. 

  1. Look out for evidence of damp or mould as this can be a sign of long-term issues. These can also cause serious health issues if they’re left untreated. 

  1. Turn on the shower, taps and flush the toilet to make sure you’re happy with them. 

  1. Take pictures if you feel you will need to refresh your memory after the viewing! 

  1. Ask the agent the following questions (How much is rent? How much is the deposit? What is the application process? On average how much are bills monthly?). 

  1. Make sure it’s an HMO-licensed property (House in Multiple Occupation) if you’re living with 3+ people. This means it’s been approved suitable for the number of people living there. Learn more about HMO licences.

Decided this place suits you? Let the agent/landlord know 

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