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Student guide to Private Residential Tenancy (PRT)
4 min

Student guide to Private Residential Tenancy (PRT)

Housing Tips
Apr 5, 2022
4 min

a scenic view in Edinburgh city centre
This guide has been designed to assist all students looking for, or currently living in, the private rented sector.

Hi Students!

In this piece, we would like to discuss all things Private Residential Tenancy(PRT). This is a bit of a hot topic at the moment, so we would really love to provide some clarity so that all students planning to call Scotland home can have the best experience renting possible. We are Cullen Property - Edinburgh’s Student and Professional Letting Specialists! Over the years, we have had a lot of experience welcoming students into new homes in Edinburgh. We wanted to provide as much information to help you understand what to look out for in a tenancy agreement and how you can secure your dream flat! The Scottish Government introduced this new law, with the aim of providing protection to both tenants and landlords in Scotland by making tenancy agreements more flexible. The law aims to do the following:

  • Create open-ended leases, where tenants are no longer tied into fixed-term contracts (otherwise known as short-assured tenancy).
  • Make it easier for tenants to move properties by providing a minimum of 28 days notice to leave a rental agreement.
  • Protect tenants from unfair rent increases in te city against unfair price increases.
  • Provides easy to understand grounds for repossessing a property, that allows landlords to regain control of a property in 18 separate circumstances.
  • This all sounds great and easy to understand, but we wanted to outline some helpful advice to ensure you can make the most of  your time renting in Edinburgh:

1. Don’t wait until it’s too late

a gif showing the phrase you're late

As you can now give a minimum of ‘28 days’ notice to leave a property, many students are leaving it 28 days before their desired move-in date to look for one. We can’t stress enough that you should start looking as soon as possible! Like many other international cities, the Edinburgh property market moves fast. With 4 world-class universities situated in Edinburgh, many students are looking for August entry flats. Due to this, you should be looking for properties 2-3 months beforehand so that there is enough time to gather all documentation required, receive references and undergo a background check. This way, you can also give yourself peace of mind that you have secured something as there are only a limited amount of HMO properties on the market!

2. Choose a reliable letting agency

When staying in Edinburgh, it is important to look for a high-quality letting agency that specialises in student ‘HMO’ properties. This type of agency will be best placed to help you when planning to live with other friends. An HMO property is a ‘Home of Multiple Occupancy’ and is something you should look out for when viewing properties if planning on staying with others and for longer than one semester.

Generally, it must be an HMO property, so that rent liability is equally split between each individual living under one roof. This prevents any arguments over rent payments!

3. Always let your agency know you intend to leave more than 28 days prior

To ensure a smooth exit from your property, it is always a good idea to view the 28 day period as an absolute minimum. It is best to let your landlord know as soon as possible, allowing for them to sort through your deposit, check over the flat and of course re-market the property for the next batch of excited students wanting to study in Edinburgh! This way, you can leave without confusion and move into your new property with ease.

4. Make use of the resources available to you

The best resource available to you is the Scottish Government website. Here, you can find all the information regarding your rights, answers to your questions and everything in between! To stay up to date with PRT and stay in the know from a local letting agency you can trust click here.

5. Watch out for short-term letting scams

At this time of year, some students searching the market for short-term tenancies will be subject to short-term rental scams. As a rule of thumb, always look for credible short-term letting specialists when staying in Edinburgh for a semester time. Also, avoid using the classified ad websites which allow random people to post flatshare advertisements with no experience of rental legislation. This ultimately leads to confusion surrounding to whom should the rent be paid, on what date and how much. Reputable short term agencies will be transparent, professional and provide you with copies of your contracts and other documentation. If you are staying in Edinburgh year-round, always use reputable local letting agencies that understand PRT legislation that you can trust. There you go! Renting in Edinburgh doesn’t have to be scary or confusing. Just make sure you always rent with reputable HMO letting agencies when planning to stay with other tenants if planning to call Edinburgh home! Property, Edinburgh’s Student and Professional Letting Specialists.