Where to stay in Edinburgh?
October 19, 2007 3:31 AM   Subscribe

ScotlandFilter: Where should I look for share accommodation in Edinburgh?

I'll be spending twelve months in Edinburgh on a working holiday. I'm figuring on finding a room in a share house. What parts of the city are to be sought out/avoided? I have been there, but haven't seen much beyond the tourist areas.

Any tips about different means of obtaining accommodation welcome. Costs, necessity of references, proximity to good eating etc. It's all good.
posted by the duck by the oboe to Travel & Transportation around Edinburgh, Scotland (10 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Marchmont is beautiful and well placed for access to the town, if you can afford it.
posted by fire&wings at 3:58 AM on October 19, 2007

Best answer: Edinburgh is a great town for renting or sharing - typically Leith is a good area on a budget, and Gorgie/Dalry is another area populated with lots of share flats/students. Tollcross is also very good and central, but prices might be a touch higher. If you can find a big shared flat in Morningside/Marchmont, that's an ideal as it's central, located near the park, and they are typically big beautiful Victorian flats.

For reference, I've lived in Gorgie, Marchmont, and now live in Leith/Meadowbank and all are excellent places. I've also lived in the Grassmarket which is tremendously central, but is incredibly noisy with all the pubs/drunks/nightclubs. Don't underestimate the decibal levels of the Edinburgh nightlife.

Places to avoid off the top of my head are Sighthill and Granton - they're not a war zone, but aren't very central or the nicest place to stay. I doubt you'd get many flat shares around there anyway as it's typically council housing.

To find a flatshare, try the Edinburgh Free Exchange, or Gumtree, which is like a British Craigslist. There is also a Craigslist for Edinburgh but I don't think it has as much traffic.

A typical rent for a 1br flat is around £400-£450, a 2br around £500-£600 depending on area. Check the Edinburgh Letting Web for indicative prices. For transportation, the Lothian Regional Transport network is quite good, but it's worth double-checking areas for bus availability. A bus pass is £35/mo.

If you have any follow-up questions feel free to ask here or just e-mail me from the details in my profile.
posted by ukdanae at 4:06 AM on October 19, 2007

p.s. when i described Gorgie as "excellent," i meant for the money -- if you want Gorgie-level prices but don't want to live there (it's kind of broke down), try Dalry or Fountainbridge instead - it's just up the street.
posted by ukdanae at 4:07 AM on October 19, 2007

Best answer: Leith isn't nearly as cheap as it used to be. Since the new offices of the Scottish Executive were built there, the area has seen extensive development, including the waterfront, which - while great in terms of the ammenities the area has to offer - has pushed prices up big-time.

Also, it's worth knowing that the rental market in Edinburgh is driven largely by the vast student population. It can be tricky - especially in areas like Marchmont - to actually find available rental property other than over the summer, when the students all go home for the summer holidays. At least, that was my experience when I last rented (which, admittedly, is about ten years ago now). Oh, and the UK's council tax set-up means that working-types tend not to be welcome in flats shared by/with students, as it affects the property's exemption status.
posted by kxr at 4:42 AM on October 19, 2007 [1 favorite]

There's another, different source of rental scarcity in Edinburgh when the students aren't at college. You can't move in Marchmont in August for all the Fringe acts being gouged for five hundred a week.
posted by genghis at 10:33 AM on October 19, 2007

Response by poster: Thanks for the advice. I'll be arriving quite soon, the Fringe shouldn't be an issue for a while. Students I don't know about.

From a quick scan of Gumtree I had been figuring on paying 250-300 pounds a month for rent. Does that seem realisitic for an area like Marchmont?

Any idea what expenses on top of rent are like? Electricity, water, internet and so forth.
posted by the duck by the oboe at 2:49 PM on October 19, 2007

Best answer: Can't comment on current prices I'm afraid, I'm a bit out of date but you should be able to get *something* for that price range, though watch out for the council tax on top of that. Heating will likely get expensive in those high-ceilinged, single-glazed Marchmont flats over winter; some buildings have some sort of central system for the building, paid for communally, but some don't so watch out for that. Water is included in the council tax in Scotland. Internet ... well, there's always the 'see who's got unsecured wifi around here' option (works for me at my grandma's house!), or the 'ask the neighbours for their password for a fiver a month' version (works for my friend in Trinity/Leith).

The antipodean shared-houses I remember parties at were more Bruntsfield than Marchmont (SW corner of the Meadows), and there are also large flats in Newington (E side of the Meadows, keep going S from South Bridge).

To find a place in a hurry, if you don't care what you end up with, there are still no doubt scribbled ads 'Room to let, call [Asian name or no name at all] on [local or mobile number]' in the window of every corner shop in Newington and Marchmont. There will, of course, also be adverts put up by people looking for another flatmate rather than the landlords who rent each room separately - a room will be harder to get off them, but it may well be nicer. Good luck and have fun!
posted by Lebannen at 10:52 AM on October 20, 2007

Keep an eye on the List which is also widely available in print across central Scotland. You can place an advert stating your needs for free also.
posted by brautigan at 12:31 PM on October 20, 2007

Best answer: That rate seems pretty reasonable for a room in Marchmont. I think i paid about £300 for a box room when I lived there.

To add to Lebannen's note, here are some more notes on expenses:

Heating & Electricity will be done on either a pay-as-you-go basis (i think it's called Section 7) where you top up cards and literally switch back on your electricity, or it can be done on a monthly direct draft. They still take readings, but will adjust the direct draft amount once in a while (generally annually) to accommodate changes in usage. Try USwitch, a price comparison site, to get a good estimate of costs.

So coming in to a flat, you'll probably just have to pay a portion of a fixed amount, then maybe pay extra when the readings come in if the monthly amount was too little. For reference, my partner and I pay £20 for leccie and £20 for gas in a small 2-br flat. As Lebannen said, those big high-ceiling Marchmont affairs will cost more to heat.

If the flatshare doesn't already have internet, Virgin has a pay-as-you-go internet that's month-to-month, and I think Tiscali might have as well. Try USwitch for this as well.
posted by ukdanae at 5:18 AM on October 22, 2007

Response by poster: Thanks again all, I've just moved into a nice big room in Meadowbank. It's just the sort of thing I had in mind.
posted by the duck by the oboe at 6:42 AM on November 6, 2007

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