Review of the Private Rented Sector: Volume 4: Bringing Private Sector empty houses into use

A review of initiatives to address the problem of empty houses drawn from case studies across the UK.



Lead Tenancy Scheme

Rural Empty Property Grants

Area of operation

No limit.

Rural areas (defined as settlements of fewer than 3000 people).

Type of tenancy offered

Scottish Short Assured Tenancy (though a standard Scottish Secure tenancy may be used if the lease permits).

Assured or Short Assured Tenancy.


By an RSL.

By the owner who may be a private developer, private owner, non registered housing association or other private sector body. Rural Estates have however formed the largest number of applicants and developed over half the units provided.

Tenant selection

Through an RSL - normally people in housing need

Prospective tenants should be employed or have a formal offer of employment in the proposed project area. The expectation is that the vast majority of tenants will be economically active but those who are retired, for instance, are not excluded if they have a link to the area.

Tenancy management

Property is leased to an RSL who then let the property themselves.

There is no leasing mechanism - owners are expected to have the necessary skills, experience and capacity to manage the project and houses for rent themselves, either directly or through a letting agent.


Maximum of £2,435 per year of lease or a maximum of £48,700.

The grant available is fixed at a maximum of 33% of eligible cost. The level of grant that can be offered will depend on a wide range of factors, most notably the relationship between project costs and rent level and the length of landlord commitment to retaining the property in the rented sector on short assured and assured tenancies. In exceptional circumstances, a grant of 60% may be offered.

Period of lease

Up to 20 years (maximum lease under Scottish law) depending grant level offered.

At least five years, depending on level of grant offered.

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