Finding a private tenancy

This section discusses several different information sources that can be used for finding private rented accommodation.

This content applies to Scotland

Where to find a property

The following can be useful sources of information in finding accommodation:

  • On the web - there are many websites which advertise properties to rent. These include Citylets, s1Homes, Globrix and Gumtree amongst others.

  • Personal contacts - family, friends, work colleagues (many lettings are made through word of mouth).

  • Shop windows and noticeboards (for example, in community centres and supermarkets) - both landlords and tenants can advertise.

  • Daily and weekly newspapers and magazines - particularly local and free papers. People looking for accommodation can also advertise.

  • Advice centres - some local authorities run advice centres that may keep lists of landlords with accommodation to let. Social work departments and Citizen Advice may also keep such lists.

  • Letting and estate agencies - many are listed in the Yellow Pages. For more information, please see the section on letting agents.

Securing a tenancy

Landlords and accommodation agents usually want prospective tenants to provide references from previous landlords, bank managers or employers. It's a good idea to help clients organise these before they start looking for a place to live in the private sector. Prospective tenants may also be asked permission for a credit check to be carried out on them and sometimes they may be asked to pay for this. Credit checks can be obtained cheaply from the following providers:

A deposit and rent in advance are almost always demanded at the start of a tenancy. However, some landlords don't require tenants to pay a deposit, details of these landlords can often be found through a local authority's housing department. Some local authorities will also help prospective tenants with paying their first month's rent and/or deposit through a rent or deposit guarantee scheme.

Sometimes letting agents or landlords will ask for money in addition to rent to cover services such as references, credit checks, general administration or drawing up a tenancy agreement, amongst other things. To ask for such a fee to be paid as a condition of the granting or renewal of a tenancy is unlawful, and landlords or letting agents are committing an offence if they do so.

For more information on rents and deposits see the sections on paying for rented accommodation and deposits and fees.

Last updated: 27 July 2020