Accommodation in Edinburgh

Rent house or flat in Edinburgh

Home > Expat Guides > Europe > United Kingdom > Edinburgh

Most people in the UK prefer living in a house to a flat. In the cities, more people succumb to flats, but in the country everyone usually lives in their own house with a garden.

Prices range depending on the location within Scotland, and within the city. On average, a one bedroom flat in Edinburgh costs about 400-500 GBP a month; a 2 bed flat around 650 GBP.

Rental Market

Britain's rental market is unusual in that only 10 percent of families live in private rented accommodation. In general, rents are lower in Scotland than the rest of the UK. Of course, Edinburgh is vastly less expensive than London. However, Edinburgh is one of the most expensive places to live within Scotland . Rents decrease the further they are from a city centre. Time of year is also important. For instance, at the end of the summer some areas are wholly occupied by incoming students.

How to Search for a Rental

Search Engines

Online search engines are one of the best ways to get an estimate of the current market and to track new properties. Most sites allow you to set-up alerts to find the best property for you.

Another great online resource is the UK classifieds on EasyExpat. You can also chat with other expats on the Scotland forum and receive advice.


Newspaper classifieds remain popular. Note that you should call ads that attract you immediately (within daytime hours) as good properties can go fast.

You can also put your own ad in the paper. This is not as popular an option, but may help attract the perfect property.

Public Postings

Many places have billboards offering advertisements for a variety of goods and services. Watch these boards for useful postings. Laundrettes, cafes, grocery stores, community centres, and bars all might have private ads.

Estate Agent

An estate agent can be a useful resource for finding the right place quickly. A good agent knows the legal pitfalls and has access to a variety of housing. An agent will provide you with a description of available properties, escort you to viewings, make sure your contract complies with expected standards.

In most cases, the estate agent is paid by the landlord and so as the tenant you do not have to pay an agency fee. Nevertheless, because landlords have to give up a slice of their rent/selling price to the Estate agent, they tend to have higher asking prices.

To find an accredited agent, contact:
The National Association of Estate Agents
Arbon House 21 Jury Street, Warwick CV34 4EH
Tel. +44 (0) 1926 496800

Visit the Apartment

It is always best to visit the apartment before renting rather then renting sight unseen. This ensures you will be satisfied with the accommodations and able to abide by the contract. It also establishes a relationship with the landlord.

Set appointments as soon as possible. The longer you wait –even if its only a matter of hours– the greater the chance that the apartment will be rented before you get there. If possible, try to visit the area around the apartment both during the day and at night, or ask around to see what it is like. Perfectly peaceful areas during the day can turn into unbearable residential areas at night if there are bars nearby. Likewise, a calm neighbourhood in the evening may be a nightmare during the day due to traffic or construction works

Approach a first visit like an interview: Dress nicely, be prepared, and arrive on time. You should feel free to ask questions about the rental.
1) How long is the lease?
2) How much is the security deposit?
3) Are utilities included in the rent? If not, how much are they?
4) Are pets allowed?


Contracts must be in writing. If the owner does not want to write out an agreement- insist. This is a vital step to protect yourself. What should be include in a contract:

  • Duration of agreement: Most leases last for 12 months, during which time the landlord cannot increase the rent. The notice period that either you or the landlord have to give in order to terminate the agreement should also be included.
  • Responsibility for household bills: Some utility services will be included in the rent (e.g. water), while others you may be responsible for paying yourself (e.g. gas, electricity).
  • Forfeiture: If you are deemed to be in breach of your contract you can be evicted from your accommodation. Be sure you understand the dos and don’ts of the contract.
  • Deposit: In almost all rental agreements, the landlord will ask for a deposit (usually one months rent). The deposit is used to cover any damages you may cause, along with any outstanding debts you may owe at the end of your tenancy.

To make sure the contract is adhered to and you are not later charged with pre-existing damage, you should do a walk through with the landlord before signing the contract. This is the time to ask any last minute questions.


Most apartments require that tenants submit a termination letter at least 30 days before their move date. Some leases automatically renew, so check the terms and conditions listed on your lease contract to avoid unnecessary charges or fees. It is also usually require that the intention to leave is in writing, so write a lease termination letter to your landlord or management company stating the date you plan to move out of your apartment. Mail the termination letter to your landlord's office and send it certified so that you have a postal receipt or turn it in personally.

If you are leaving before your contract is up, you may incur a penalty. That should also be clarified in the contract. Some leases contain an "early-out" or "early-release" clause, which states under what conditions you can break your lease and the amount you owe the landlord. This may be dependent on a visa not being issued/re-newed, or other unforeseen circumstances. Keep in mind that your security deposit may also be forfeited, depending on tenant laws.

When you reach the move out date, meet with your landlord to complete a walk-through. Review your contract to find out what repairs or damages are not covered under your lease. Have your landlord check for potential damage or repairs before you move out to avoid surprise fees down the road.

Discuss how and when you should expect to receive your security deposit with the landlord. You may also ask if you may use your security deposit to pay the last month's rent.

If you do have issues with your landlord or living situation, contact the Citizens Advice Bureaux (CAB) for free advice. This service offers independent and confidential advice face-to-face or by telephone.

Update 8/04/2011


Facebook Twitter Google+ LinkedIn Pinterest Addthis

Recommended Service Partners

Online marketplace for mid-long term accommodation

Looking for cheap accommodation in Edinburgh isn’t easy and can be time consuming. Fortunately the times of browsing innumerable adverts, making hundreds of phone calls and visiting dozen of houses belong to the past: with Uniplaces now you can look for your room comfortably sitting at home. You can pick a room in a shared home with other expats, a studio flat if you want more privacy, or you can team up with other friends and rent an entire apartment just for yourselves.

The booking system is very simple and doesn’t require any visit: all can be done in advance thanks to the detailed descriptions and photos of the rooms and you can secure your room before even getting there. Moreover the Uniplaces team will be available for any questions and help.

Uniplaces is an online marketplace for booking mid-long term accommodation with thousands of verified properties.

  • If you’re looking for a room or a flat, you can search for ads in your new city: Search
  • If you have a room available and you wish to rent it, get in touch with us: Contact

Do you have comments or personal information to communicate about this article? Add your comment.

Go to the Forum to talk more about rent house or flat in Edinburgh, accommodation.

Find more definitions and general answers on expatriation issues in the Expat FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions).