Private renting - getting started

Find private rented housing

There are several ways of finding private rented housing including:

  • adverts in local newspapers and weekly property guides
  • the ESPC newspaper, available in banks, estate agents and some shops
  • small ads in shops and supermarkets
  • Edinburgh Solicitors Property Centre on 0131 624 8000.
  • Searching internet sites for property to rent in Midlothian

When you find a property that's right for you call the landlord or the letting agent to let them know that you want to rent the property, then follow this up with a letter expressing your interest.

Letting agents

If you're looking at renting with a letting agent, check to see if they are members of a regulatory body like ARLA (Association of Residential Letting Agents) or NALS (National Approved Letting Scheme).

Note: It is an offence for a letting agency to charge to put your name on a list, and for landlords in Scotland to levy any form of premium on the rent.


Most landlords or letting agents will require:

  • at least 2 references, one usually from your previous landlord and another character reference.
  • a credit check to be run on your account to prove that you can pay the rent. They may contact your employer or wish to see proof of your entitlements to benefits.

If you are asked to pay fees to cover the cost of checking references, you can seek advice from our team.


When you start your tenancy you will be required to pay a deposit, normally the value of one month's rent. This is security against things like rent arrears, damage to property or removal of furniture by a tenant.

If all is well at the end of the tenancy, you will get your deposit back in full.

Private landlords must pay tenancy deposits into a scheme in line with the Tenancy Deposit Schemes (Scotland) Regulations 2011, and must give you details of the amount of deposit taken and where it is being held.

Tenancy deposit schemes protect tenants from landlords who unfairly withhold deposits, and make sure that disputes are handled fairly.

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