Everything freshers need to know before flat-hunting in Edi

Haha, good luck

Edinburgh has its many charms: the Dog House, Quartermile Starbucks and £3 Nachos at Teviot 3pm-7pm Monday to Thursday, but the inevitable, unrelenting, scramble for prime real estate following your first year in halls doesn’t make the cut.

The anticipation of post-halls living is real. It brings about endless possibilities of fairy-light arrangements, a dishwasher, a washing machine that doesn’t shred our thongs, and the potentiality for a Snapchat-worthy bubble bath.

Yet finding the quintessential Edi flat can be a daunting process. Some feel pressured by their friends at unis like Newcastle, who signed their lease in November and are already picking out colour patterns.

Never fear though, the endless hours trolling the likes of Zoopla and Right Move will eventually pay off, and if you follow these helpful tips you’re guaranteed a perfect pad.

Fairylights are a cheap and cheerful way of making your room feel instantly cosy, and in Eds you’ll need it

Give yourself a reality check

This is the most important part of your flat search; get rid of your idealistic preconceptions of uni living. It’s highly unlikely that you’re not gonna get a six bed, three bath in Newington with views of the castle, but more a five bed, two bath in Newington with views of Appleton Tower. If you want on-demand views of the castle, just pop along to any shop on the Royal Mile – you can get three for £1. Being able to leave 10 minutes before your lecture is way more necessary.

Get to grips with your group numbers

We’ve all heard the horror stories about a friend-of-a-friend whose third cousin moved into a house of six girls and one ended up dropping out. With summer exams looming, you do not want to go through the stress of having to advertise for a new flatmate. Worse than that, however, you don’t want to have to deal with the awkward conversation with the first year flat mate that you don’t want to live with next year.

Honesty is the key to success here, don’t lead them on. You never know, they might not want to live with you anyways.

The view might be cute but the lie-in is cuter


HMO stands for ‘House in Multiple Occupation’. It’s a licence required for more than three or more tenants to live under one roof, sharing a bathroom, kitchen, token pet mouse yada yada yada. It is also, however, the bane of every student’s life. When you refine your Google search, make sure you check this box, save yourself the heartbreak of enquiring about that beaut four-bed on Marchmont Road only to find out it’s out of your league. There’s no way of getting around an HMO unfortunately, trust me, I’ve tried everything, and apparently suggesting an arranged marriage between your two single flatmates isn’t the answer.

Viewings and applications

Sign up for as many viewings as early as you can, check the property websites and letting agent sites first thing every morning. If you are planning on living in a large group you can even assign one person to each day of flat hunting. Call up and book yourself onto every viewing that fits your criteria.

When you’ve rung once they usually sign you up to handy text alerts too!

Before you go to your viewing, triple check the application process for the flat. One friend of mine trekked all the way from Newington to the Leith only to find out that what was advertised as first-come-first-serve, was in fact landlord application based, meaning the landlord decides blind ‘The Voice’ style, going off your name, gender and degree… apparently they don’t like females called Phoebe studying English Lit.

Letting agents are savage, the-first-come-first-serve style of flat- allocation being the most excruciating. Make sure to send someone to the letting agent while the others go look at the property, as there’s nothing quite like falling in love with a property only to have it stolen from you by someone that decided to take the 41 instead of the 27 into New Town.


Toughen up. I can say from personal experience that if getting rejected from Oxbridge didn’t give you thick skin, this will. Finding the perfect flat is a bit like finding the perfect partner, just because you get rejected twenty times in three months doesn’t mean theres anything wrong with you, promise.

It’s not always sunshine and rainbows, the key to survival is a cocktail of perseverance, the safest flatmates, a crate of Echo Falls and compulsory classic Disney marathons; Aladdin usually does the trick.