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
Pad (private accommodation database)
A centralised database of private sector accommodation available for rent to students attending all Universities and Colleges in Glasgow. To access go to: http://www.glasgowpad.org
The John McIntyre Building (home of the SRC) and both the Unions have notice-boards filled with adverts for rooms in student flats. You can either post your own advert looking for students to share a flat with or respond to one of the many adverts already there.
The SRC’s electronic version of the noticeboards Flatshare is available online.
The Herald (Wednesday), Evening Times (Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday) and the Sunday Herald all carry adverts for lettings.
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 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.
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 section of the SRC Guide 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?
- Does s/he have similar standards of cleanliness and tidiness in a flat as you do?
- Will s/he 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.
Tips and Resources
Flathunting – Death Trap or Dead Good?
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 Flat Inventory you can download and complete.
Shelter Scotland have produced an iPhone app (other platforms to follow) called Housemate to make the process of producing an inventory much easier.
Pastures New is a website with some realistic advice about student accommodation options.
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. 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. All this info is summarised on a flat hunting poster you can view here: SRC Flat Hunting poster.