Finding accommodation is not always easy, we’ve got some tips on where to look, where to stay and what to keep an eye out for when you go flat viewing.
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
Please note that during the COVID-19 lockdown the Flatshare service is suspended until it is once again considered safe for flat viewings to take place.
The SRC’s electronic noticeboard Flatshare is available online. (Please remember that the SRC is unable to verify whether any advert is genuine, so you will have to check this for yourself).
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.
During 2018, a new Register of Letting Agents came into force. By 30 September 2018, letting agents were required to be registered. They must ensure they are properly trained and comply with a Letting Agent Code of Practice.
In 2015, GUSRC carried out a ‘mystery shopping’ exercise on a number of local letting agents, to find out whether they were continuing to charge unlawful fees such as non-refundable holding deposits. The results are collated here: Letting Agency Rating – Secret Shopping Results (pdf). Please see our Unfair Terms and Fees page for more information about these types of fees, or contact the Advice Centre if you need further advice.
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.
These websites 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.
Marks Out of Tenancy
When checking on a property you might want to check out whether the property, landlord, letting agent and/or area has been rated on Marks Out Of Tenancy, a site which allows tenants to feed back on their renting experience. The Glasgow area of the site is still relatively new at time of writing (March 2018), but is expected to become more useful as more and more reviews are posted, so 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 Marks Out Of Tenancy as a flat-hunting tool, MOOT is a separate company, and the SRC can’t take any responsibility for their content or for any of the reviews which appear on their site. Use your judgement and don’t base decisions on just one source of information.
What area should I stay in?
There are a lot of different areas to live in around the University. 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 lots of accommodation options around, but there is more competition for these flats.
If you’d like some advice from a student perspective, it’s worth reading the Moving On section of the SRC Guide (pdf download) on where to live as there are pros and cons with all of the different options surrounding the University.
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.
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.
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 as landlords. Be on the look out if the advertised rent seems very low, the landlord lives out with the UK, if you’ve been asked to send money for a deposit or proof of funds via a money transfer service, or been advised that you can’t see inside the property before renting it. These can all indicate scams. Read our 10 Tips to Avoid Housing Scams leaflet. If you have any worries contact a member of the SRC advice centre (firstname.lastname@example.org) before signing any lease or sending any money.