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How do I find private accommodation?

for rent sign yellow blackWant to get your own place but don't know where to start? Check out these handy hints for finding diamond digs.

Whether you want your own place or a house share, there’s no shortage of places to rent. To start househunting, check out the suggestions below.

Accommodation websites

There are tonnes of free access accommodation websites on the net. Student Pad specialises in accommodation for students, and you can also try sites like Gumtree or SpareRoom Be aware that as well as private landlords, agencies will use some of these sites and they may charge an agency fee for setting you up with accommodation.

WARNING Sadly there are some fake accommodation adverts online, so beware of scammers when you’re finding a home. Genuine landlords and agents will not ask you to bring money when you come for a viewing, and will not ask you to send money or prove your identity to ‘hold’ a place if you haven’t seen it. Be wary of anyone who asks you to do this. Always make sure you view the property and meet the landlord/agent before handing over any money.

Estate agents

When you know where you would like to live, pay a visit to the local estate agents. They should be able to tell you what you can expect to find in your price bracket. Most estate agents deal with a range of properties including one-bed accommodation and house-shares so have something for all budgets.

Shops and Community Boards

If you know where you would like to live, it’s worth calling in at the local shops or checking out community boards. Often private landlords will post adverts for properties or rooms they are looking to rent out.

Friends and colleagues

Mention that you’re looking for your own place to friends and colleagues to see if they know of anyone renting out a room. It may be safer to rent from a recommended landlord than from a complete stranger.

Local newspapers or free magazines

Local newspapers or the free property listing magazines you see in racks outside newsagents show the latest properties to rent in the area. Get in there quick, though, as places tend to get snapped up fast!

Find a job that includes accommodation

Some jobs, for example working in a hotel, will provide accommodation for staff. Bear this in mind if you’re looking for work as it could save you money and time.

Can’t afford to rent privately?

If you don’t think that you can afford private accommodation, it may be worth contacting your local authority to find out about social housing.

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