We’ve put together some information to get you started which is also available online here: SRC Fearless Flathunting leaflet.
If you find you need more help, or if you just want to chat things through before you make a decision then please contact The Advice Centre.
- Where to look
- University Accommodation
- Letting agents
- Word of mouth
- SRC Flatshare
- Check online reviews
- What area should I stay in?
- Who should I move in with?
- Tips and Resources
- Avoid Scams
Where to look
Glasgow University runs eight student halls in Glasgow offering a range of accommodation for different student groups. For more information, see the Accommodation Service webpage.
Renting through a reputable Letting Agent can sometimes save a lot of headaches – everything should be licensed and any problems are often dealt with efficiently. Expect to pay more, though. Don’t part with any cash until you’ve found somewhere you’re happy with.
In 2018, all letting agents in Scotland are obliged to be registered on the Letting Agent Register. Letting agents must also ensure that they are properly trained and comply with a Letting Agent Code of Practice.
All landlords renting out properties in Scotland should be registered on the Scottish Landlord Register. It is recommended that you do a search on this to check that your next potential landlord is registered, as they should be. If nothing shows up when doing a search, you may wish to ask the landlord directly for their Landlord registration number, or enquire with them as to why they are appear not to be registered.
Word of mouth
People are always looking for new flats and leaving old ones behind. If you hear someone talking about moving on, find out what’s happening with their old flat. You may find you can secure a flat before it’s even been advertised.
We have our own service in the SRC called 'Flatshare', allowing students to post available rooms or flats for rent. Please do have a look.
These websites underneath are a good resource for flathunting, but remember that these are essentially adverts, so be wary if something looks too good to be true.
When you are searching for accommodation online, look out for when the website was last updated to make sure you’re not viewing a property that’s no longer for rent, or worse, a scam. The usual basic rules apply; never give out your personal details online and just as importantly never hand over any money for a flat until you’ve viewed the property and/or signed a contract.
Private Let Rentals:-
* Please be especially vigilant if using Facebook groups or websites like Gumtree to search for accommodation. Both are not well moderated and may, from time to time, contain fraudulent adverts.
Purpose Built Student Accommodation:-
Check online reviews
When you see an advert for a property, you might want to check out whether the property, landlord, letting agent or area has been rated or reviewed online. A good start would be to Google search the name of the landlord, letting agent and property address and look through any reviews that appear in the results. You may also use specialist review websites like Marks Out Of Tenancy, a site which allows tenants to feed back on their renting experience or more generally you may use Trustpilot.
For purpose built student accommodation, you might also want to refer to this review website.
You might also consider posting a review towards the end of your tenancy, to help other flat-seekers.
Please note that whilst the SRC is happy to promote review websites, the SRC can’t take any responsibility for their content or for any of the reviews which appear on these sites. Use your judgement and don’t base decisions on just one source of information.
What area should I stay in?
When looking for a flat, think about how close to campus you need to be. Do you want to wake up next to your lecture theatre or would you mind living a bit further out? If it’s important for you to live near your main campus, then there are accommodation options around. Be aware though that competition for these flats can be very high and securing these properties will be more challenging.
If you are really struggling to find accommodation close to the university, you may have to start looking at other locations around Glasgow and beyond. We have some information on potential areas to consider within our SRC Guide (p108).
While looking into other areas to secure accommodation, you may also wish to have a look at our transport advice page for information on different transport options / information. As a rough guide, within walking distance of the University there are 4 key railway stations - Partick, Exhibition Centre and the 2 underground stations - Kelvingrove and Hillhead. If you are looking at accommodation further from the University, consider using those stations to get an idea of possible journey times using the Trainline website.
If you do find a property to rent a bit further away than you would like, this may represent something of a short term solution for you. Given that you will sign a Private Residential Tenancy for the vast majority of tenancies in Scotland, this permits you to end the tenancy at any point with just 28 days notice. This may mean that you get a property further away from the University, short-term, with a view to moving on should something else become available later in the academic year that better meets your preferences.
Bear in mind that Glasgow is a city, so whichever area you decide to move to will have good and bad sides. It’s probably more useful to be looking out for a well-lit street that is near public transport, than one with a ‘good’ postcode.
Who should I move in with?
Living with your friends can be great fun, but they’re not always perfect flatmates. It’s important to remember that if you do sign a lease together, this is a binding contract.
There are a couple of things that you should think about when you are looking for potential flatmates, whether you’ve met them before or not.
- Will your potential flatmate be someone who is guaranteed to pay rent and bills on time?
- Do they have similar standards of cleanliness and tidiness in a flat as you do?
- Will they put up with your bad habits and can you put up with (or ignore) theirs?
If you can, try to get to know your new flatmates before you move in, to see if you can live with each other. There is a useful guide on what you should consider here.
Things can go wrong, however. If you do decide you want to move out of your flat early, you will have to negotiate this with your landlord or you could end up being liable to repay the remaining months’ rent. Call into the Advice Centre if you’d like more help and advice on this issue as this can quickly become very complex and challenging to resolve.
A sub-let is when you are renting from another tenant of the property, who in turn is renting from the landlord. In this situation you would be the sub-tenant, and the tenant would be your landlord, and your contract would be with them. If your contract is with the actual landlord of the flat (even if the landlord lives in the flat as well), then it’s not a sub-let, it’s just a normal tenancy or flatshare situation.
Important: Most tenancy agreements say that the tenants are not allowed to sub-let, so if you think you are entering into a sub-let situation, make sure you know that the person you are renting from has permission from the landlord to let to you. Illegal sub-lets can get messy when the landlord finds out, or when one party doesn’t live up to their obligations. Try and avoid such situations if you can.
Tips and Resources
The SRC has produced an information leaflet to help you with the essentials of flathunting – pick up a copy from the Advice Centre or read it online: SRC Fearless Flathunting leaflet.
Download our Viewing Checklist to take to viewings with you.
Your landlord should provide an inventory of what is provided in the flat and the condition of furniture, carpets etc. If your landlord doesn’t do this, then do your own inventory within a week of moving in, and get him/her to sign it. We have a Model Inventory you can download and complete.
Avoid getting scammed
Unscrupulous individuals can try and scam money from students by posing fraudulently as landlords.
Things you may want to be wary of are:
- If the advertised rent seems very low,
- If the landlord lives outwith the UK,
- If you’ve been asked to send money for a deposit or proof of funds via a money transfer service,
- If you've been advised that you can’t see inside the property before renting it,
- If you are not given the full property address including flat position (if there is one).
These can all indicate scams. Read our 10 Tips to Avoid Housing Scams leaflet. If you have any concerns please contact a member of the SRC Advice Centre (email@example.com) before signing any lease or sending any money.
Fearless Flathunting Video
Finding a flat can be tough in normal times and has been made even trickier by the pandemic. To help remove some of the stresses involved in flat hunting we have put together a few tips. Produced May 12 2021.