Local authorities offer grants, loans, subsided loans and practical support services to assist people with their housing needs. A scheme of assistance statement should outline these services and who qualifies for them.
The Scottish Government has demonstrated strong capabilities in needs-based strategic planning for housing grant allocation and delivery; however, further work needs to be done in terms of providing new affordable homes across Scotland.
Repair and improvement grants
Each local authority can decide for itself whether or not they offer financial assistance to owners of private rented housing. They must publish a scheme of assistance statement outlining when and how the assistance will be offered, which includes both financial and non-financial support like advice, information, and practical help as well as how the local authority plans on managing this service.
Each year, the Scottish government provides funding of up to PS3 billion to assist with affordable home delivery. This money covers new build and renovation of existing properties as well as community projects; ultimately this fund hopes to supply at least 50,000 affordable properties by 2021.
The Rural Housing Fund aims to increase the supply of affordable homes in rural Scotland through grant and loan funding provided to social landlords, councils and feasibility studies.
Warmer Homes Scotland provides financial aid to households living in fuel poverty through various schemes such as whole house insulation. It is open to anyone living in their own home or renting from registered social landlords; funding does not need to be repaid and can be used towards energy-saving measures such as insulation, heating system upgrades and radiator replacements.
The Scottish government recently increased funding available to affordable home delivery, including a dedicated fund designed to address development blockages and an additional fund focused on increasing rural affordable housing supplies. While welcoming these increases, SFHA has expressed concerns regarding local authorities’ capacity to keep pace with increasing targets.
Many councils now provide grants and loans to assist homeowners with adapting their homes, such as increasing accessibility for disabled individuals, making energy use more efficient or helping cover repairs costs. Furthermore, funds exist that enable people to purchase an adapted property tailored to meet their specific needs.
Additionally, a new grant scheme managed by Home Energy Scotland called Warmer Homes Scotland offers assistance to fuel poor households looking to lower their heating bills through insulation measures. This national scheme opens its doors both owner occupiers and private tenants claiming benefits who claim benefits with funds made available via this fund focusing on renewables with cashback elements included within this grant scheme.
The SFHA has also highlighted the significance of local authority planning policies requiring developers to build affordable homes on each site as part of a requirement that will assist disadvantaged people into home ownership while affording to maintain it over time. This requirement ensures that those most in need can secure affordable accommodation that they can afford in perpetuity.
There are various programs designed to assist first-time home buyers. These include the Affordable Housing Supply Programme (AHSP) and local authority Strategic Housing Investment Plans, both of which identify target numbers of houses to be built within an area and how much funding will be necessary to achieve their completion.
These plans typically stipulate that any new development must provide a certain percentage of affordable housing units, which could represent up to 50 percent of its total price depending on its plan. Furthermore, the AHSP offers loans to developers which they repay when selling off the property in question.
A shared equity scheme allows you to purchase property on the open market with support from the Scottish Government of between 10%-40% of its purchase price. Your share will be funded via deposits and mortgage repayments and any proceeds will go back into paying back this contribution when selling off the property.
Warmer Homes Scotland provides assistance for Scottish homeowners and private sector tenants struggling to heat their homes. Through energy saving upgrades that make homes warmer and cheaper to run, eligibility can be determined following a survey of the home.
The Scottish government offers several shared ownership schemes designed to assist people in getting on the property ladder. These schemes work by enabling individuals to purchase a share of an overall property’s total value (typically new-build homes), paying rent on what remains, plus service charges and stairscanning charges; over time homeowners may increase their stake; rules vary between schemes but generally start by buying 25% and then add further stakes at different intervals as desired.
If you are searching for a shared ownership scheme, the local council website should contain an up-to-date list of current developments. Alternatively, contact your housing association directly and find out which properties are currently available.
Scotland currently offers two shared ownership schemes: the New Supply scheme administered by Link Housing and only available in certain areas, while Orkney, West Lothian, Perth & Kinross all feature Open Market schemes targeted towards first-time buyers.
There are various eligibility criteria for both schemes, and you can apply online through your local authority website by choosing from a drop-down menu and going directly to its page.