Housing options - help and advice

Housing choices

There are lots of options for buying or renting at an affordable price

Mid Market Rent

This is available from housing associations. It helps people on low or modest incomes to access a good quality affordable rented home. Rents are lower than private market rent. It’s a popular option for people who cannot yet afford to buy.

You may also have the option to buy your property after five years. This gives time to save a deposit and set up a mortgage.

Rent to Buy Scheme

This helps people in rural and small communities. It allows them to rent a new home for 5 years whilst saving up for a deposit. It’s aimed at people on modest incomes. You get a cash-back loyalty sum returned to you at the end of your 5 year rental period if you buy the house. This is used as your mortgage deposit.

Find out more at Highland Small Communities Housing Trust

LIFT new supply

This initiative allows you to buy an equity share of between 60% and 90% of a new build house or flat. The remaining equity share is held by the Scottish Government which you will pay off after selling your home or via one off payments. No rent is paid on this share. Find out more:

Open Market Shared Equity scheme

This scheme provides eligible applicants with funding between 10% and 40% toward the purchase price of a property that has been advertised on the open market. It helps first-time buyers and gives priority access to priority groups including council and housing association tenants. Find out more:

Shared Ownership allows you to buy a share of the property and pay a monthly rent on the remainder proportion. You can purchase between 25-75% of the property and have the option to purchase more after a year living in the property. Find out more:

Specialist housing

Some housing associations have specialist housing. This means housing that is designed for specific needs of older people, people with disabilities and people with needs wishing to live as independently as possible. There are also specialist options if you have a modest income and want to own your home.

Providers include

If you feel you might need specialist housing or support - or a move because of your health needs, contact the Housing Options Team.

Veterans Housing Scotland is private landlord that offers housing to armed forces veterans who have a disability. They have properties in Fort William, Inverness and Nairn. Find out more at Veterans Housing Scotland

Renting from a private landlord

Many people find renting privately is the simplest and quickest way to get a home in the place they want to stay in. All new private sector tenants since December 2017 have a Private Residential Tenancy. They replaced short assured / assured tenancies.

As a private renter, you now have much stronger rights. These are

  • No more fixed terms - private residential tenancies are open ended, meaning your landlord can't ask you to leave just because you've been in the property for 6 months
  • Rent increases - your rent can only be increased once every 12 months (with 3 months notice) and if you think the proposed increase is unfair you can refer it to a rent officer
  • Longer notice period - if you've lived in a property for longer than 6 months your landlord will have to give you at least 84 days notice to leave (unless you've broken a term in the tenancy)

A landlord cannot evict you from your home without getting an eviction order from the First-tier Tribunal for Scotland. If they try to remove you without this, they are illegally evicting you and you can call the police.

Private renting gives better choice if you want to live in a particular area such as a school catchment area, near relatives, near hospital etc. This option also lets you get to know the area first, before committing to buying. There are lots of different types (shared flats, houses, bedsits etc.). Rent levels vary - location, size and type influences this. Most landlords look for a deposit and rent in advance. If you are struggling to get something, our Housing Options Service may be able to help you through our Rent Deposit Guarantee Scheme.

Useful information on private renting is on the Shelter Scotland website (external link).