You’ve only lived in an Edinburgh tenement flat if you’ve done 8/10 of these things

If you haven’t seen a mouse you’ve never really lived an edi tenement flat experience

As a fourth year at student at the University of Edinburgh, I do humbly consider myself an expert on the trials and tribulations of living in an Edinburgh flat. Thus, as a seasoned professional, I have compiled a list of things that you (probably) have or will experience at some stage living in an Edinburgh property. If you can check off eight out of 10 from this list, consider yourself likewise, an expert.

Although, I am not necessarily sure that is a good thing.

1. Pest control

Perhaps the most notable feature of living in an Edinburgh flat is all the additional tenants which you did NOT sign up to live with. Whether you’re on a first floor or top floor flat, I can almost guarantee you have witnessed a mouse scamper under your oven or washing machine.

If there are any first-year students reading this, there really is no point in panicking about the vermin in your flat situation. Mice are an inevitable and inescapable part of an Edinburgh flat life, so you will, unfortunately, have that to look forward to.

2. Panicked about finding a flat for the academic year.

If you’re at university in Edinburgh, you probably can. Before you know it, summer has rolled around and you’re in the market to find a flat for your next academic year. This should be easy, right? Wrong.

The countless phone calls, emails, and applications I have made and sent to various letting agencies is… astronomical. I presume many were in the same position, proven by the shocking number of honours students living in university accommodation this year.

In fact, many are living communally in Pollock common rooms.  Even more shocking, the ever increasing price in rent per month for properties. All I can say is, I am grateful my time in Edinburgh has not involved me paying £800+ per month in rent, the unfortunate circumstance of far too many students.

3. Frozen to death

Ah, good old Edinburgh heating. Yes, you may turn your heating and radiators on in your flat, but no, there is no guarantee you’ll warm up. So, if you do manage to land a flat, don’t expect it to be a warm one.

Not to exaggerate, but in my second year of university there were times my flatmates and I would place our hands under a warm tap to heat up. This is not to mention the countless cups of teas we had for the sole purpose of increasing our body temperature.

Worst of all, we actually wore gloves indoors. My advice, invest in electric blankets and hot water bottles. This is the only way to fight the winter chill.

4. Had to take breaks between walking up flights of stairs

There’s nothing quite like traipsing up numerous sets of stairs to get to a third floor flat. From the inevitable sweat broken on your brow, to the breaks between each flight that involve catching your breath, getting to your third-floor destination is comparable to climbing Everest.

That’s not to mention the wonderful scenery you witness on this climb, the dungeon like staircase, bin-bags rotting outside flats, and the lack of light source, to name a few.

5. Not gotten your full security deposit repaid… because of one carpet stain.

Can you even say you’ve lived in an Edinburgh tenement flat if you haven’t had a ridiculous cleaning bill when moving out?

No matter how much you might scrub, wash, and polish every wall, surface, and carpet before leaving your flat, guaranteed some amount of money will be taken off your security deposit. It might be £10, it might be £50 or even £100… either way, you are NOT getting your full deposit refunded.

For reference, my flatmate and I spent days, on our hands and knees, labouring over the kitchen, bathroom, and bedrooms before exiting. The place was spotless… and we still got a £100 cleaning bill. There’s no winning.

6. Paid extortionate bills

Speaking of ridiculous bills, can anybody tell me why monthly bills are quoted to be £100 per month this year?

For students, this is totally absurd. As such, I have resolved to invest in an air fryer, do as big of a clothes wash as I can when washing, and only boil the kettle with the specific amount of water needed.

Who would’ve thought in a cost-of-living crisis… one would actually feel the strain of the higher cost of living? Mind-boggling.

7. See a significant difference in quality between male and female flats

What can I possibly say about male only flats in comparison to that of female only flats?

If you’re a student in Edinburgh, you’ve likely witnessed the juxtaposition between the two… and not to be sexist, but female flats are ALWAYS better.

With doorhandles often pulled off-doors, toilets that have never seen bleach, bin bags galore, and cabinets ripped off walls, male-only flats are certainly something to behold. Of course, this is me stereotyping, but following the story I heard of a boy’s flat that used the kitchen table as a TOILET, how could I not? (Yes, you know who you are)

In comparison, female flats are simply nirvana, well decorated, well-kept, and best of all, clean!

8. Had appliances randomly break down

I just want to preface this by stating, my flatmate and I currently do not have a working oven in our flat. With having only lived there for ONE month, surely having a functioning oven is not too much to expect, is it?

Well, apparently it is. Same goes for boilers, too. In fact, in my third year flat, I would often run the hot water tap and the water would emerge, icy cold.

If this has not happened in your tenement, consider yourself lucky. However, take bonus points if you have had one of the following appliances break down out of nowhere: oven, washing machine, boiler, kettle, microwave, and toaster.

9. Witnessed harrowing incidents at house parties

 Some actions witnessed in Edinburgh flat parties are better unsaid.

However, what fun would that be?

 Therefore, I interviewed a sample of students for a few of their best (or worst) anecdotes from flat parties.

Here’s what they said:

  • “Crate escape” (if you know you know).
  • “Paramedics retrieving a poor fresher with a LOW alcohol tolerance.”
  • “Saw somebody burn their eyebrows off… no skin… just their eyebrows.”
  • “A mutual friend drinking toilet water after a night out.”
  • “Discovering a telescope in one of the guy’s bedrooms… that he uses to spy on girls passing by his flat.”
  • “Saw somebody take a dump in the bathroom bin.”
  • “Three random 30-year-olds came to our flat party, sat on our radiator which then was ripped out of the wall and then water started flooding the living room and then we didn’t have hot water for a week,”

10. Wouldn’t change it for the world

Despite all the trials and tribulations of living in Edinburgh, most of us residents wouldn’t change it for the world. So, it’s best to end this list on a high note.

I will probably miss all…idiosyncrasies of Edinburgh flat life once I enter the real world. So, I guess in comparison to a 9-5 job, a mice infested freezing student flat does not seem so bad. (NOT)

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