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One in four students yet to secure accommodation, Tab survey reveals

‘There were more than 200 applicants for a flat I just viewed’


An Edinburgh Tab poll surveying over 1,000 students reveals 26 per cent of students are yet to secure accommodation for the upcoming academic year.

Last year, numerous University of Edinburgh students resorted to staying in converted accommodation common rooms due to the city’s housing shortage.

Many students attribute this shortage to a surge in student enrolments, rising property prices, and limited student-specific accommodations.

Kirstie Tilbury, a student at Edinburgh University, told the Edinburgh Tab: “All of the flats available seem to be looking for “young professionals” and are so extortionate! The few student flats went within minutes, so our impression is that there just aren’t a sufficient number of flats for students.”


Last year, common rooms in Pollock Halls were transformed into temporary student accommodation.

Ellie Leneghan, another student, commented on the economic difficulties students face whilst flat hunting: “The prices are ridiculous with properties in the Newington/Marchmont/Bruntsfield area being typically upwards of £1900pcm for a three bed, so nothing is easily affordable. Many agencies say that you are more likely to be selected if you pay six months upfront, but not many people can afford that.”

Another underlying concern raised by students is the increasing number of short-term holiday lets, which they believe reduces the number of properties available for long-term rental, making it harder for students to find suitable housing. The popularity of platforms like Airbnb in tourist-friendly cities like Edinburgh has undeniably impacted the rental market.

One student said: “I’ve heard it was hard, but it’s a whole other level of difficulty to find a place; an estate agent said to me that there were 200+ applicants for a flat I viewed.”

A University of Edinburgh spokesperson told the Edinburgh Tab that they are actively looking into solutions, advising students to contact the university’s accommodation services for guidance and potential leads on available housing options.

“There are a number of factors contributing to the current city-wide housing shortage, many of them outside the university’s control, but we have a part to play in finding solutions to the problem. We continue to work with our partner organisations across the city including the City of Edinburgh Council and other higher and further education providers to refresh our longer term accommodation strategy and find solutions to these issues.”

“There are a number of factors contributing to the current city-wide housing shortage, many of them outside the university’s control, but we have a part to play in finding solutions to the problem. We continue to work with our partner organisations across the city including the City of Edinburgh Council and other higher and further education providers to refresh our longer term accommodation strategy and find solutions to these issues.”

“After being rejected from student accommodation less than a month before the start of my course, and only finding out after calling the accommodation team and being told that if I hadn’t called, I would never have been notified, I have spent hours a day searching for flats. 

“Despite replying within minutes to almost every available property, I have only managed to secure one viewing, and even then, the flat was drastically different to the picture. Despite it costing £750 each a month and being advertised as two large double bedrooms, one bedroom was so small the desk was under the bed and the living area was made up of a single sofa facing a wall, which was a mattress with a cushion on top. We didn’t even get this flat after applying. 

“It’s now to the point where I’ve been told I’m 50th on the waiting list for a viewing after applying within less than a minute of it going on the market, and I still have nowhere to live with my course starting in a week.”

Students are now encouraged to begin their housing search early, collaborate with peers in shared housing scenarios, and engage with local housing support services for advice. It’s also advised that students remain vigilant about rental scams, which tend to spike during housing crunch times.

A University of Edinburgh spokesperson told the Edinburgh Tab in full: “We are acutely aware that some students will be struggling to find accommodation in Edinburgh. Every year we provide a guarantee of accommodation for groups of students, including all new undergraduates from outside Edinburgh who are studying for the full academic year and who apply by the deadline. 

“Ensuring our students have a safe and stable place to live is one of our top priorities. This year, similar to last year, we will meet the accommodation guarantee and aim to house an additional 2,000 students over and above that. This means we are providing residential accommodation for around a quarter of all our student population in over 40 locations.

“There are a number of factors contributing to the current city-wide housing shortage, many of them outside the university’s control, but we have a part to play in finding solutions to the problem. We continue to work with our partner organisations across the city including the City of Edinburgh Council and other higher and further education providers to refresh our longer term accommodation strategy and find solutions to these issues.”