International Student Advisors' Office

International Student Advisors' Office


Temporary accommodation

Booking temporary accommodation will give you the chance to have somewhere to stay when you arrive in Edinburgh and while you are looking for long-term accommodation. Examples of temporary accommodation available in Edinburgh are:

  • Hostels (Backpackers)
    Hostels offer cheap accommodation in the heart of the city if you are ready to share bunk bed room, bathroom and kitchen. It is a good option if you are planning to stay for a week or two as you can make your own meal and therefore reduce the costs of eating out. Hostels often have internet and lounge areas available. It will cost you around £15 per night. Search for hostels in Edinburgh.
  • Bed and Breakfast (B&B)
    B&Bs offer a middle range type of accommodation all over the city of Edinburgh. Most B&Bs offer a private bedroom with private bathroom (known as en-suite) but sometimes you need to share the bathroom. A B&B will cost you around £30 per night (breakfast included). Find a B&B in Edinburgh.
  • Guest Houses
    Guest houses are usually bigger than B&Bs and offer more than just a bedroom. Indeed, some guest houses will have communal lounge area or even a bar sometimes. Guest houses offer breakfast and sometimes can also supply evening meals (for additional costs). A guest house will cost you around £35 per night (breakfast included). Find a guest house in Edinburgh.
  • Hotels
    Hotels are a more expensive option and prices usually do not include breakfast. A night in a hotel in Edinburgh will cost you around £50-60. Find a hotel in Edinburgh.

If you have special needs and are looking for accessible temporary accommodation, please visit the Accessible Accommodation page on the VisitScotland website.

Please note very limited temporary on-campus accommodations may be available. For further information please contact

The Student Support and Accommodation Office has information on temporary accommodation available in Edinburgh. Please do not hesitate to contact them if you need a list of temporary accommodation available around the city.

On-campus accommodation

There are around 1,600 rooms available on the Edinburgh Campus and 200 rooms on the Borders Campus. Priority for these rooms is usually given to students coming to study at Heriot-Watt University for the first time, either as first year students or new postgraduate students, provided that they apply online before the August deadline (still to be confirmed for 2014 entry). To apply, please go to

Both campuses have rooms available for students with disabilities.

For more information on on-campus accommodation and how to apply, please refer to the Student Support and Accommodation Office:

Edinburgh Campus Accommodation Officer

Lucy Skinner
Student Support and Accommodation
Heriot-Watt University
EH14 4AS


Our Rooms for Rent leaflet contains detailed information about on-campus accommodations available at the Edinburgh Campus.

Scottish Borders Campus Accommodation Facilities Manager

Christine Kellett
Scottish Borders Campus


On-campus accommodation leaflets

The Student Support and Accommodation Office produces information leaflets available to all students living in on-campus accommodations. These leaflets are available at the Student Support and Accommodation Office, and a PDF version of them is also available:

Other accommodation

If you prefer being more independent and living off campus, Edinburgh offers a wide range of accommodation, from private houses and flats in the private sector to lodgings.

Private Rented Accommodation (house, flat, studio)

Most students will share houses or flats in Edinburgh. Rent per month will depend on the size of the accommodation, the number of people living in it and its location in Edinburgh. The rent per month for a bedroom shared in a house or a flat will be around £275-£325.

Studios (or one bedroom flats) are smaller and more suitable for one person or a couple. A studio/one bedroom flat will cost around £450-£500 per month.

Bear in mind that you will also have to pay a security deposit when you enter the accommodation (usually one month rent) and utility bills (electricity, TV licence, phone, etc.) in addition to the rent.

You can find houses, flats and studios available in the market through property agencies or private landlords.

For more information please visit our Accommodation pages. We also publish a leaflet on how to find private rented accommodation that you may find useful.


If you rent an accommodation through a private landlord, you will have to pay a security deposit (usually one or two months' rent). This security deposit is used to protect the landlord in case of damages in the dwelling or non payment of the rent. When you leave the accommodation the full security deposit (or part of it depending on damages caused during your stay) should be handed back to you. It is important that you get a full inventory of the items within the flat and their condition before moving into the property. Both the tenant and the landlord should sign this inventory and keep a copy each.

If you rent an accommodation through a letting agency, they will always ask you for a security deposit. They may also require a UK based guarantor. The guarantor will be liable in case of non payment of your rent). If you do not have any parents or family in the UK able or willing to act as your guarantor, you may have to pay in advance the equivalent of 3 to 6 months rent to the letting agency.

Remember: Do not forget to ask for a receipt for your deposit!

Tenancy agreement

Whichever type of accommodation you choose, you will most certainly have to sign a tenancy agreement. A tenancy agreement is a contract between you and your landlord which highlights the rights and responsibilities of both parties.

Two copies of the tenancy agreement should be signed by both parties and each party should keep a copy.

Make sure you understand and agree with the agreement before signing it.

For further information and advice on tenancy agreements, please visit Letwise (Edinburgh City Council).

Where to find private accommodation

Here is a list of websites that contain adverts for private accommodations to rent (if possible try to use landlords that are accredited):

Please note that we cannot be held responsible for the contents of these websites.

If you need help and advice about renting in Edinburgh, do not hesitate to contact our Accommodation Office.

University leased flats

The University manages a number of leased flats. These flats are owned by private landlords but are managed by the University. They are inspected by the University and are situated in general near or on a bus route to the Edinburgh Campus.

For more information about our leased flats and private rented accommodation please contact:

Accommodation Office (Leased Flats and Private Rented Accommodation)
Claire Clark
Student Support and Accommodation
Heriot-Watt University
EH14 4AS



Lodgings (or Homestay) are accommodation where the owner also lives in the house. You are basically renting a room in their house. Most of the time you will have to share the kitchen and bathroom but you may find some lodgings with their own bathroom and/or kitchen.

The Student Support and Accommodation Office can help you find lodging; alternatively you can look for lodging on the Studentpad website.


Council Tax

What is council tax?

Council tax is a charge that is used to pay for local services such as rubbish collection, street cleaning, police and schools.
The council tax is collected by the local authority (City of Edinburgh Council). It is possible to claim discounts and exemptions from this tax. More information about student exemptions and discounts can be found here and here.
If you need further information, please do not hesitate to contact the ISAO.


Useful web links for accommodation

Banner images courtesy of Edinburgh Inspiring Capital