Finding a private rented home may be your best housing option.  Properties can be advertised in many different ways and it's a good idea to look in as many places as possible.  As well as looking at adverts it's a good idea to put your own ‘looking for accommodation’ ads into some if not all of the local papers. Say what kind of accommodation you are looking for, how much you can pay and a little bit about yourself. Remember to include your contact details or a box number. If you are very choosy it may take you longer to find somewhere.

Contacting landlords 

Private accommodation is often let on a ‘first-come first-served’ basis so it pays to contact landlords as soon as you see a vacancy. Try to give a good impression over the phone. You will often be asked some questions about yourself such as whether you are working, whether you have children, how old you are, whether you smoke or whether you have pets. It is better to be honest about these answers because you need to find a home that is suitable for you and your family and a landlord who is happy with yourself as a tenant.

When you meet the landlord aim to give a good impression. Viewing a property, even a cheap bedsit, is similar to an interview so it pays to be on time and to pay attention to presentation and manner. There may be several people wanting the same vacancy so the better impression you can give to the landlord or letting agent then the more likely you are to be offered the room or flat. If you are using the HomeFinder Scheme then have some leaflets about it with you to give to the landlord. If you do not have the rent or deposit ready to give to a landlord say so and offer other alternatives. Many landlords are willing to negotiate and perhaps accept monthly payments for the deposit.

House hunting

Lettings agencies advertise in the local press, Yellow Pages and the Thomson Local Directory. It is advisable to visit a number of different agencies to increase your chances of finding accommodation. Agencies can sometimes be expensive, as they often charge fees, and will expect rent in advance and a security deposit.  Register with at least 3 letting agencies and check them every week.

Notice-boards and shop windows advertise flats or rooms at the cheaper end of the market. You should go round the area you are interested in as regularly as you can to check if new ads have been put up.

Local papers cover classified adds from both letting agents and private landlords. You can also search for vacancies using the websites for each of the papers. It is a good idea to get hold of a copy as soon as it comes out as many landlords will be phoned straight away and properties may have gone by the end of the day.

  • Bath Chronicle - covers the city of Bath and neighbouring areas.  It is published on Thursday
  • Somerset Guardian - covers the twin towns of Midsomer Norton and Radstock in the unitary authority. Published weekly on Thursday
  • Bristol Post - covers the city of Bristol and neighbouring areas carries a large number of rented properties often from landlords advertising directly which means you can save money by not having to pay agency fees. has a searchable property section with categories for houses and flats. It covers the Bristol and Bath areas as well as other locations in the South West.

Students’ union or college or university may be able to help you find somewhere to stay. You should contact them for more details.

Word of mouth is good ay to find out about accommodation. It’s a good idea to let friends, family and workmates know that you are looking for somewhere to live.

Websites let you advertise yourself and say that you are looking for accommodation.  Landlords and tenants can then contact you directly. If a website lets you post a ‘wanted ad’ then it is a good idea to do so.  Register with at least 3 websites and check them every week

Local libraries have free internet access. Ask the staff for help if you are unsure about how to use websites and the internet.

If you do not have email, you can sign up for a free account with companies such as



Please note that the listing here of any organisation, website or service does not in anyway mean that it is endorsed by Bath and North East Somerset Council. They are provided for information purposes only and you are advised to always exercise your own discretion and judgement when using any service.

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