Finding private accommodation: advice for international students

Updated on 7 December 2021

Advice for if you're moving to the UK and are not using University arranged accommodation, or are moving from University housing to private

On this page
Renting privately

DUSA | The Union have prepared guides and advice on matters related to private accommodation and housing matters. This includes:

  • explaining your rights and responsibilities as a tenant
  • advice on your landlord’s rights and responsibilities
  • help with inventory and deposits
  • advice on repair issues
Visit the DUSA housing advice webpage

Important information for new Arrivals

Before you leave home

Make sure you have temporary accommodation booked for when you arrive.

There are plenty of hotels and small bed and breakfasts close to the University campus. You can find more information on the Visit Scotland webpages.

We recommend that you wait until you are in Dundee before you sign up for a rental property. It's important to give yourself a few days to recover from your journey and get used to the city. During your first week you will meet people who will be happy to share information with you and help point you in the right direction.

For general accommodation queries, contact the International Student Accommodation Co-ordinator on:

Limited availability of private accommodation in Dundee City Centre

Whilst most of our students prefer to live very close to the University, Dundee is a compact city with a very reliable and affordable public transport network. If you haven’t already done so, we would encourage you to widen your search to consider private accommodation outside the city centre. There are regular buses from all parts of Dundee to the city centre, many of which pass close by the University’s city campus.

Failing that, you can search Angus, Perth and Fife, all within a 20 mile radius of Dundee, and accessible by bus. There are maps and timetables available on Xplore Dundee, a local bus services web site.


Be aware you may need to stay in temporary accommodation or a hotel for longer than anticipated. We recommend you consider this additional expense when deciding the budget for your living costs.


Be very careful when booking private accommodation: 

  • If you choose to rent a private flat or house, we recommend you wait to arrange a tenancy contract until you have arrived in Dundee. 
  • We recommend you arrange accommodation through a reputable landlord or letting agency.
  • Ensure you can view the property and read the contract very carefully before you sign it. 

Recent scam: students have been asked to pay 12 months’ rent in advance.  This is illegal, please do not agree.

Bringing your family to Dundee

If you are bringing your family to Scotland, we recommend that you arrive in Dundee alone and have them join you once you've found suitable accommodation.

University Residences do not provide family accommodation. 

If as a last resort, you feel you need to consider deferring your place because you are bringing a young family with you, please email our Admissions Team at and they will look sympathetically on individual circumstances.

Finding property to rent

There are many websites advertising property for rent, and although the adverts may look ideal, they may not be legitimate. Therefore, it's important you don’t rush in to paying money without verifying that the advert is legitimate and the company/owner/landlord is genuine. For advice contact Housing Advice - DUSA or view DUSA Housing Facebook page.

Finding a referee and paying a deposit

Ideally you should provide a UK-based referee. If you have stayed in University residences, you can request a reference from the Residences office. If you stayed in private accommodation, contact your previous landlord.

If you don't have a UK referee, you might be asked to pay up to two months' rent as a deposit instead of the usual one. You cannot be asked to pay a deposit which is greater than two months' rent. 

Finding a guarantor

A guarantor is a third party who agrees to take on liabilities arising from someone else’s tenancy. This means that they guarantee rent payments and other tenancy obligations, for example, landlord losses, expenses, or damages.

A guarantor is not a legal requirement, but there is nothing to stop landlords or letting agents from insisting on one. Some landlords will insist any guarantor be UK based. If you are unable to provide a guarantor acceptable to the landlord, you will need to consider another landlord. Some landlords will take rent in advance in place of the guarantor. The maximum allowable for this is six months in a Private Residential Tenancy.

Further source of to help

If you are still experiencing problems, Dundee University Students’ Association (DUSA) has a team of three full-time Advice and Support staff (Lauren, Sylwia and Candy) who are available to listen and give advice on private accommodation.

Email from 09:00 to 17:00, Monday to Friday. Please do contact them and they will do their best to help you. There are also useful resources on the DUSA website - Advice on Housing.

Advice on private accommodation from DUSA | The Union

International Advice Service

+44 (0)1382 385676