Affordable Housing in Scotland

The NestHouse from Tiny House Scotland - an affordable housing solution?
The NestHouse from Tiny House Scotland – an affordable housing solution?

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Taken from Development Trusts Association Scotland:

Most people know what they mean when they talk about “affordable housing” – they mean housing which someone living and working in the community can afford to buy, or housing for rent available at a monthly rent which can be afforded by someone on a local wage.

The only official definition comes from Scottish Planning Policy which defines affordable housing as

“housing of a reasonable quality that is affordable to people on modest incomes… affordable housing may be in the form of social rented accommodation, mid-market rented accommodation, shared ownership, shared equity, discounted low cost housing for sale including plots for self build, and low-cost housing without subsidy”.

This is a fairly broad definition that can be roughly characterised as housing available to rent or buy at below the level of the market. The types of housing defined as affordable are:

Affordable Rent

Social Rented Accommodation – primarily housing rented from a council or housing association at an affordable rent (In 2009/10 average rent for council housing was £52.67 per week, and £61.01 per week for housing association houses)

Mid-Market Rented Accommodation – housing for which the rent is higher than social rents but below the rent level charged in the private rented sector. It is currently 84% of the local housing allowance level as set by Rent Service Scotland.

Low Cost Home Ownership

Shared Ownership – housing where a household buys a share of a house – usually 25, 50 or 75 percent, and also an occupancy charge to the developer, normally a housing association, for the remaining share of the property.

Shared Equity – housing where the buyer purchases 60-90% of a property (either from the open market or built specifically for this purpose). The remaining 10-40% is held by the Scottish Government. Unlike shared ownership there is no occupancy charge on the portion of the property held by the Scottish Government.


Jonathan Avery – personal note – and one of the driving visions of Tiny House Scotland:

My dream would be to see some small house communities – maybe with four to six tiny houses, perhaps in a rural setting with integral sustainable businesses such as an organic garden and farm shop or an attached managed mixed woodland producing coppiced product etc. Sustainable crofting or small holding for the 21st century to bring diversity and productivity to the countryside.