Whether looking for a home to rent or part own, there are a range of housing options available to you regardless of your situation.
Below is a brief description of some of your housing options. More information can be found on the Shelter Scotland website. If you want more detailed information about options in your local area, please contact the relevant landlord or your Local Authority (Council).
1. Social/Affordable Housing
This is when you rent a property from your Local Authority (Council), a Housing Association or other Registered Social Landlord. Anyone over the age of 16 can apply for social/affordable housing in Scotland. Social Housing covers a range of housing such as:
General Needs - Accommodation generally built with no specific needs in mind. These properties are suitable for families, singles, or couples.
Amenity Housing - Accommodation that is specifically designed with older people in mind. Properties will have characteristics such as walk-in-showers; grab rails; anti-slip flooring; no stairs and no on-site support. Priority is given to applicants of a certain age.
Adapted Housing - Properties that have special adaptations, such as level access showers, low level kitchens, wheelchair adapted. Priority for these properties will be given to those with medical need for the adaptations.
Sheltered Housing - Accommodation with a 24-hour emergency help alarm system fitted, ideal for older people who wish to remain independent but may need to summon support easily.
Independent Living - Properties for the over 55 who can live independently but who would like the benefit of some on site housing support and a community atmosphere. 24-hour telecare service is included for added safety.
Once you have submitted an application, it will be reviewed to determine any priority you may be entitled to. Properties are allocated to applicants dependent on their need for housing. Those with the highest priority will be housed first. This does not mean those with lower or no priority won’t be rehoused; it may just take much longer as there are a limited number of empty properties available. If you have low or no priority you can improve your chances of finding a new home by considering one or more of the options below.
Before being offered a property, someone may need to visit you in your current home to confirm your circumstances, for example, check whether it is overcrowded or unsuitable for you to live in.
1.1 Mutual Exchange
Scottish Secure Tenants have the right to apply for a mutual exchange. You can apply to swap properties with a Council or Housing Association tenant, but you need the consent of both Landlords before you can move.
A mutual exchange may be another option to help resolve your housing need, but it is up to you to find someone to exchange with.
Please check with your landlord, who will be able to provide further information about how to search for someone to exchange with.
2. Mid-Market Rent
Mid-market rent is a form of affordable housing. Tenants generally pay a lower rent than people who rent privately, but more than social housing tenants. Mid-market rent may be suitable for people who have low or no priority for affordable housing but have an income that is not quite enough to afford home ownership or private sector rents; or for people with a lower income trying to save for a deposit to buy.
3. Shared Ownership & Shared Equity Schemes
3.1 Shared Ownership
Some social landlords operate Shared Ownership which is a scheme to help people who cannot afford to buy a property outright on the open market to get one foot on the property ladder. Owners can by a share in the property, for example, 25%, and can buy further shares (25%, 50%, 75%) up to 100% when they can afford to do so. They will also pay an Occupancy Charge to the landlord for the share that they don’t own.
Sharing Owners do not have the same rights and responsibilities as tenants, for example they are responsible for all repairs to the property. The management of Shared Ownership is governed by several legal agreements including an Exclusive Occupancy Agreement which sets out the rights and responsibilities of the owner.
The allocation of Shared Ownership properties is different to the allocation of affordable housing and may vary slightly between landlords. You will need to meet certain criteria to qualify and income is taken into account. If you are interested in Shared Ownership you should contact the relevant landlord to find out more.
3.2 Shared Equity Schemes
There are several Shared Equity Schemes set up by the Scottish Government to give financial help to people who cannot afford the full purchase price of a home. Like Shared Ownership, the schemes allow you to buy a stake in a property, but you don't have to pay any form of Occupancy Charge for the part you don't own.
While these schemes are primarily aimed at first time buyers on low incomes, they can also help others who need to move. This can include disabled people or people with particular needs, people whose homes are going to be demolished or those needing to move following a significant change in household. circumstances.
More about these schemes can be found here:
4. Renting Privately
There are a variety of websites or Letting Agents that advertise properties for rent. All private landlords must apply to be added to the Landlord registration. The Council will check that the applicant is a fit and proper person to let property. When advertising the landlord must include their registration number, so that their details can be confirmed.
A new tenancy agreement for private lets, came into force on 1 December 2017, called the Private Residential Tenancy (PRT). This replaced all Assured and Short Assured Tenancy Agreements in Scotland. The PRT gives tenants more security as they are open ended agreements , meaning the landlord cannot just ask you to leave. It also provides protection from frequent rent increases.
5. Buying a Home
If you want to buy a home, you will need to determine how much you want to spend and how much you can borrow. Most people need to apply to a bank, building society or other financial institution for a mortgage to finance the purchase. There are different types of mortgages and you should seek advice. You will also need a solicitor to deal with all the legal work involved in buying a home.