Renting a Home
You may wish to rent a property from a private landlord or apply for housing from a social landlord, either a local council or housing association.
If you want to rent a home privately there are steps you should follow. For example, before you move into a property, you should sign a tenancy agreement which sets out the terms of your tenancy. You’ll usually pay the first month’s rent and the deposit in advance, before you move into the property - your deposit must then be lodged in a tenancy deposit scheme. This means that when you leave the property your deposit will be returned in full if the property is left in good condition and all rent and bills have been paid.
Many organisations provide homes for mid-market rent. These homes are aimed at helping people on low to modest incomes to access affordable, private rented accommodation. There are several ways of finding where these homes are, but the best is probably to look at what housing associations operate in your area or to check your local council’s website.
Comprehensive information for tenants about private renting in Scotland can be found in the ‘Private residential tenancies: tenant’s guide’.
Housing associations and many local councils provide homes for social rent. When you apply for a social rented home, your housing needs will be checked and your application will be held on a housing list. Social landlords decide who is offered housing based on an applicant’s housing need and in line with the landlord’s allocation policy. You can find information about how to apply for social housing from local councils. Alternatively, you can apply directly to a housing association - the Scottish Housing Regulator maintains the public register of all Registered Social Landlords in Scotland.
It should be noted that the UK Government’s Right to Rent policy does not apply in Scotland.
For more information about renting a home in Scotland visit;
- Private Rented Sector housing: https://www.gov.scot/policies/private-renting/
- Social Rented Sector housing: https://www.gov.scot/policies/social-housing/
Buying a Home
If you wish to buy a home but cannot afford the total cost there are a number of schemes that might be able to help you.
The Scottish Government operates shared equity schemes which can help you to buy a home that is for sale on the open market, or to buy a new build home from a housing association or local council. Support is also offered through the Help to Buy (Scotland) Scheme to purchase a new build property from a participating builder.
Funding for these schemes is provided by the Scottish Government, and you can find out more about them at Homeowners.
Shared ownership is also available in Scotland. You should be aware however that shared ownership is very different from shared equity. With shared equity you own the home outright, but with shared ownership a housing association still owns part of the home and charges you a fee to live in it. More information is available at Getting help to buy your home.
Land and Buildings Transaction Tax
If you purchase property over a certain value in Scotland you will pay Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (LBTT). The tax is payable at different rates on each portion of the purchase price within specified tax bands, though there are some reliefs in place such as for first-time buyers.
If you already own a property in Scotland, you should also be aware of the LBTT Additional Dwelling Supplement (ADS), which is payable on the total purchase price of an additional dwelling of £40,000 or more. It applies where a buyer purchases a dwelling in Scotland and at the end of the effective date of that transaction the buyer owns more than one dwelling (which can be anywhere in the world) and they are not replacing their only or main residence. The ADS can subsequently be reclaimed where a previous main residence is disposed of, however there are particular timelines and rules in place. LBTT is administered by Revenue Scotland, you will find more information and detailed examples on their website at Land and Buildings Transaction Tax.
You will find more general information regarding living in Scotland at AboutScotland.
You will usually have to pay council tax, payable to your local council, if you’re 18 or over and own or rent a home. If you rent, check your rental agreement to see who is responsible for council tax payments.
Your council tax band determines how much council tax you pay. You can find out the council tax band of your home by looking the property online via the Scottish Assessors website.
For more information on council tax and to learn about council tax in your local authority you can visit What is council tax?
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