Welcome to Scotland – a guide for Service personnel and their families in Scotland (updated 2022)

Provides practical information to service personnel and their families on topics such as housing, education, healthcare and employment.


In Scotland, in addition to Service Family Accommodation, Single Living Accommodation and the Future Accommodation Model which is being piloted at HMNB Clyde[1] (all of which are provided through the Ministry of Defence), there are a number of housing options available depending on where you would like to live.

Housing Options Scotland

The Scottish Government supports Housing Options Scotland to provide its Military Matters Project. This service provides support to veterans, currently serving personnel, their families and dependants to find the right home in the right place throughout the country. For more information visit http://housingoptionsscotland.org.uk

Joint Service Housing Advice (JSHAO)

JSHAO is the MOD’s tri-service focal point to provide service personnel and their dependants with civilian housing information for those wishing to move to civilian accommodation at any time in their career, and for those during resettlement to assist with the transition to civilian life. https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/joint-service-housing-advice-office-jshao

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.

The Forces Help to Buy Scheme enables Service personnel to borrow up to 50% of their salary (to a maximum of £25,000) to buy their first home, or to move to another property on assignment or as their families’ needs change. More information can be found at www.gov.uk/guidance/forces-help-to-buy

The Scottish Government operates 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. Priority access is given to members of the armed forces, veterans who have left the armed forces within the past two years and widows, widowers and other partners of service personnel for up to two years after their partner has lost their life while serving, which means you do not need to be a first time buyer to be eligible.

Funding for these schemes is provided by the Scottish Government, and you can find out more about them at www.mygov.scot/help-buying-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. There are some LBTT reliefs in place, including a relief for first-time buyers.

Personnel who already own a property anywhere else in the world should also be aware of the LBTT Additional Dwelling Supplement (ADS). The ADS is payable on the total purchase price of an additional dwelling if the consideration paid for the property is £40,000 or more. It applies where:

  • one or more buyers purchase a dwelling in Scotland, and
  • at the end of the effective date of that transaction the buyer, or buyers, own more than one dwelling, and
  • they are not replacing their only or main residence following the purchase of the additional dwelling.

The ADS can subsequently be reclaimed where a previous main residence is disposed of, however, there are particular timelines and rules in place which must be met for the ADS to be repaid.

LBTT is administered by Revenue Scotland, you will find more information and detailed examples on their website at http://www.revenue.scot/land-buildings-transaction-tax.

Renting a Property

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 on the day 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. When there is a dispute about the return of a deposit each of the 3 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 a fit and proper person to let property. It is always important to check if they are registered before considering renting a property.

To find out if a landlord is registered you can search the landlord register at the link: https://www.landlordregistrationscotland.gov.uk/search

To find out if a letting agent is registered you can search the letting agent register at the link: https://register.lettingagentregistration.gov.scot/search

For more information about renting a home from a private landlord please see: https://www.mygov.scot/rent-private-landlord

In the social sector you can apply for housing if you are over 16. Housing is allocated based on individual housing need. You will usually have to join a waiting list and you are not guaranteed to get a property. Your length of time on the waiting list will depend on the area you wish to live in, the type and size of house you require, the availability of housing in the area, as well as any priority you may have.

MOD Tenancy Support Scheme

Tenancy Support scheme allows civilian and Service personnel to apply for an advance of pay/salary to help meet the cost of a deposit for a rental property. More information on this scheme is available on www.gov.uk/government/publications/joint-servicehousing-advice-office-leaflet-index/tenancy-deposit-loan-scheme-updated-4-may-2020

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’ at www.gov.scot/publications/private-residential-tenancies-tenants-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.

For more information about renting a home in Scotland visit www.mygov.scot/housing-local-services/renting-property/

Council Tax

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 at http://www.saa.gov.uk/

Armed forces personnel and their families may benefit from a 50% council tax discount where their home is left empty because their professional duties require them to live elsewhere.

For more information on council tax and to learn about council tax in your local authority you can visit https://www.mygov.scot/council-tax/what-is-council-tax/

Contribution in lieu of council tax (CILOCT)

All families living in Supported Family Accommodation (SFA) or soldiers in Single Living Accommodation (SLA) pay CILCOCT instead of council tax. CILOCT is collected by the MOD and then paid to councils dependent on how many SFA/SLA are in their area. More information can be found via Families Federations websites.

Universal Credit

The Scottish Government offers people living in Scotland, and in receipt of the UK Government Universal Credit (UC), the choice to have the housing costs in their UC award paid direct to their landlord.

An information leaflet for people applying for, or in receipt of UC, is on the Scottish Government website at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/future-accommodation-model-what-you-need-to-know/what-you-need-to-know-about-famScotland (www.gov.scot)


Email: veteransunit@gov.scot

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