With our office based in the heart of Marchmont, Edinburgh’s most popular student location, we deal with more than our fair share of student properties. As such we’re well placed to offer advice on how best to secure your perfect property! We know all too well that competition for student properties in Marchmont and Newington is very high and that it is not uncommon for 15 groups of 4 people (that’s 60 people!) to turn up to a viewing of a flat to rent in Marchmont all wanting to take it…… This makes for a stressful viewing; for students and for our viewing agents!

So….I have put together some tips to help maximise the chance of securing the student flat you want.

First and foremost, if you want to make sure you don’t have a limited choice of flats to rent you should start your search for a flat nice and early. For student properties, which normally rent for 12 months from September, most agents market these properties between February and April, for the following academic year, so this is the time to look; before exams and dissertation deadlines get in the way. You should also have a very clear idea of who you will be living with (and make sure they commit rather than a non-committal ‘sounds good’) before you start your search. Make sure you are all in agreement of where you want to live, your budget and the type of flat you would like to rent. We often get approached by students who want to rent a 4 bedroom flat but have not yet found a 4th flatmate or where one friend changes their mind at the last minute. In today’s very competitive student flat market you need to be ready to ‘jump’ at a property as soon as it’s available. If you don’t have everyone’s agreement to proceed as soon as you find the rent flat to rent, you may miss out to another group who are ready.

To be kept up to date with new student flats on the market it is worth registering online on the main lettings portals. You can specify your search criteria and the portals will email you details of properties that match your search preferences. I recommend registering on Citylets, Lettingweb and our own Umega website.

Once you have viewed one of our properties and express an interest in renting it we will email you an application form. You should complete this (in full!) and return it to us ASAP so we can pass it on to the landlord for their approval. We normally request a guarantor for student properties so make sure you have their agreement and information for the application form. You should also ensure you have your reference paperwork ready so that this can be passed to the landlord once your application has been approved in principal. At Umega we also conduct credit checks on students’ guarantors before accepting an application to rent a student flat. If you have any special requests relating to a property on the market (ie if you want a double bed or chest of drawers to be added to the property or if you want it cleaned before you move in) you should request this at the application stage so the landlord can consider this as part of your application. If you do not do so it will be assumed you have accepted the property ‘as seen’ at the viewing.

I am surprised how rarely tenants offer more money to secure a flat to rent.  When competition for a flat is high with 4-5 parties all wanting to secure it, tenants are often aggrieved when their application for the property is not successful. We always forward all applications on to the landlord to make the final decision on which tenant to proceed with so if you really, really want a property, why not offer £25 or £50 more per month to help your chances of securing it? £25 split between 4 or 5 flatmates is not a huge amount each month to get the student flat you really want!

I hope these tips help you secure your ideal student flat. It’s all about preparation and being organised to ‘jump’ on a flat to rent as soon as you have seen it. By responding quickly, with a full set of information this will maximise the chances of securing the student flat you really want.

If you have any questions or comments about this blog, please add below!