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 good quality affordable rented home. Rents are lower than private market rent. It’s a popular option for people who can not yet afford to buy.

Mid Market Rent (with the option to buy)

This is for working households who want to buy but can not afford to. You start by renting your home at a "mid market" rate. You have option to buy it after 5 years. This gives time to save a deposit and set up a mortgage. Rents are lower than market rents. Almost 200 Highland households have benefited so far.

Find out more at Highland Housing Alliance

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 Communities Housing Trust

LIFT new supply

This initiative allows you to buy an equity share of between 60% and 80% of a new build house or flat. The remaining equity share is held by the Scottish Government. No rent is paid on this share. Find out more:

Open Market Shared Equity scheme

The 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:

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 particular 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. The Private Residential Tenancy has 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 (as they could with a short assured tenancy)
  • 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)

You can stay in the property as long as you and the landlord want and you can not just be kicked out (evicted). 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 to 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.