Welcome pack for New Scots

The New Scots vision is “For a welcoming Scotland where refugees and asylum seekers are able to rebuild their lives from the day they arrive”.


We want all people in Scotland to live in high quality sustainable homes that they can afford and that meet their needs. There is a range of tenure options in Scotland:

  • owner-occupied properties
  • the private rented sector
  • council housing
  • housing association properties

Asylum seeker accommodation

The Home Office has a duty to provide asylum seekers with accommodation if they are assessed as destitute and have nowhere else to stay while their claim is assessed.

Any problems arising in asylum accommodation can be reported to Migrant Help, the Home Office asylum advice and support provider

Asylum seekers can apply for social housing and be put on a waiting list while their application for asylum is being considered, but they cannot be allocated accommodation until they have been granted refugee status. Asylum seekers are often supported in Home Office accommodation until their refugee status is granted.

Once a person has received refugee status, they have the same rights to access housing as those considered to be permanently residing in Scotland.

Social housing

Social housing in Scotland is housing owned and managed by local authorities (councils) and housing associations (registered social landlords)

Registered social landlords have a duty under the Equality Act 2010 and the Housing (Scotland) Act 2001 to promote equal opportunities and to ensure that all people receive fair access to their housing and housing services.

If you are interested to know more about social housing, see the below useful links:

Find a Landlord | Scottish Housing Regulator

Social housing: Housing management - gov.scot (www.gov.scot)

Accessing Homelessness Support - Scottish Refugee Council

Private rented sector

If you want to rent a home privately, there are steps you should follow. For example, before you move into a property, you are legally required to sign a tenancy agreement which sets out the terms of your tenancy. You will usually pay the first month's rent and the deposit before you move into the property which must be lodged in a tenancy deposit scheme by the landlord. 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. When there is a dispute about the return of a deposit, each of the three approved tenancy deposit schemes in Scotland provide access to a free dispute resolution process.

All landlords and letting agents operating in Scotland must be registered. This ensures that the landlord or letting agent is trustworthy and has passed a 'Fit & Proper Person' Test which is carried out by the local authority. It is always important to check if a landlord is registered before considering renting a property.

Find out if a landlord is registered by searching the landlord register.

Find out if a letting agent is registered by searching the letting agent register.

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. You can check your individual local authority website for information on these homes.

Read more information for tenants about private renting in Scotland

Read more information about renting a home from a private landlord.

Buying a home

In Scotland, most properties are sold through solicitors (lawyers) and estate agents. However, you can also buy privately through the owner of the property, though it would be advisable to discuss this with a solicitor who will be able to handle any legal matters.

If you want to buy a house or flat in Scotland, there's a legal process which ensures both the buyer and seller are protected during the sale. Read more information about the legal process.

Citizens Advice Scotland provides helpful information on the things to consider before a property.

Assistance in buying a home

If you wish to buy a home but cannot afford the total cost, the Scottish Government might be able to help you.

We operate the Low Cost Initiative for First-Time Buyers (LIFT) 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.

If you would like support managing everyday activities at home, or help with budgeting or paying bills, you should contact your local council. Further information can be found on the Shelter Scotland website which has a wide range of information of the levels of support available and where you can find contact details for your local council.


Email: ceu@gov.scot

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