Housing in Scotland

Once you decide to move to Scotland you can choose whether you want to rent a property or buy a property. There are benefits to both, I would encourage you to read the below to find out more.

Private Landlord

Private landlords are usually private companies like a letting agency. They offer private rented accommodation on the open market by advertising. Private landlords have set rules and standards for the accommodation you are renting with regards to how many people may live there and what basic facilities should be offered e.g. bathrooms, cooking facilities etc.

Social Landlord

Social Landlords get government help to provide social housing for people in need, at affordable rents, which may be temporary or permanent.

Local Council

All of Scotland’s 32 councils are housing authorities, meaning they can provide help and advice regarding housing services.  Some of these councils can provide housing facilities to people but not all, therefore please check with your local council what is available. Contact your local council for these services.

Councils can also be responsible for inspecting private rented housing to ensure that it is safe and healthy to live in and they also help tenants who feel harassed by their landlords. Councils also offer help to homeless people.

To find out more information, please visit COSLA website. 

Housing Association

Housing Associations are independent, non-profit organisations who are usually run by a board or committee of volunteers. Housings provide affordable homes for people in housing need.

You can find and compare different housings on Scottish Housing Regulator website.

Buying a property

Below is the summary of steps you may want to think about when buying a property. These have been recommended by the Citizens Advice Bureau UK.

Step 1: Choosing a solicitor or conveyancer

Step 2: Investigating eligibility for a mortgage or loan

Step 3: Looking for a property

Step 4: Deciding on a property

Step 5: Getting the Home Report

Step 6: Getting a survey – if needed

Step 7: Making an offer

Step 8: Closing date is set (unless no-one else is interested)

Step 9: Offer is accepted

Step 10: Completion – part of the completion is the setting of an entry date which is usually negotiated. Other terms can be discussed at this stage.

Choosing a solicitor/conveyance

If you wish to buy a property, in most of the situations it is necessary to use a solicitor. This is to ensure all your legal work is completed. You can either approach your local solicitors, conduct research on internet or even ask your friends/relatives to recommend someone.

Before a solicitor can go through the legal process of transferring ownership of the home from the seller to yourself they need to inspect the home’s deeds. They will ensure that the property belongs to the seller and that there are no unusual conditions in the deeds, which may affect the way you live. Your solicitor will be able to tell you, whether there are any burdens, legal limitations or any obligations on the property. Your solicitor will also ensure that any existing mortgage on the home is paid off before the home is transferred to you.

Getting a mortgage/loan

Mortgages are available from numbers of different sources such as banks, building societies, financial institutions or specialised mortgage companies. The amount you will receive will depend on your credit score. A credit score is a tool used by the lending company to help determine whether you will qualify for the amount you applied for. A mathematical model is used to calculate a score that will represent your credit history.


Despite getting a mortgage/loan on the property you want to buy, you also need to put a deposit in. Deposits in Scotland are a minimum of 5% of the value of the property, meaning that if your house costs £120,000 you will need to put at least £6,000 towards a deposit. Your mortgage/loan does not cover your deposit.

Home Report and Survey

Before a property can be put up for sale, the sellers need to ensure a Home Report is available to interested buyers. This will give you a good idea of the running costs for your new home. The report must include Energy Performance Certificate, a survey and a property questionnaire.

-       EPC – reveals energy efficiency for the property and suggests improvements

-       Survey – confirms condition of the property, any repairs required and valuation of the property.

-       Questionnaire – outlines Council Tax band, any Local Authority notices, alterations made, parking and history of flooding.