Scottish Government Housing Initiatives

There are several government intiatives to help with housing:

Self Build Loan Scheme

The Scottish Government have provided a time limited fund to assist self or custom builders finance the construction period for their new home.

The fund runs from the 1 September 2018 and due to the Covid Pandemic has been extended to 31 August 2022 and is open to applications from individuals who have been unable to obtain mainstream self-build mortgage finance, but who will be able to repay the loan upon completion of their project. The maximum loan available stands at £175,000.

Low-Cost Initiative for First Time Buyers (LIFT) and Open Market Shared Equity scheme (OMSE)

The LIFT (Low-cost Initiative for First-Time Buyers) Open Market Shared Equity (OMSE) scheme has helped over 12,000 people since 2005. Applicants can receive up to 40% funding towards the price of a home on the open market.

Get a LIFT onto the property ladder in Shetland.  The LIFT (Low-cost Initiative for First-Time Buyers) scheme helps first-time buyers, and other priority groups including current social renters, get onto the property ladder with Scottish Government support. 

“If it wasn't for LIFT, I would not have been able to purchase a property as I found it difficult to save a large amount of money for a deposit. I'm so grateful for LIFT and would definitely recommend it to others.” – Tracy, LIFT scheme buyer.

The Scottish Government contributes between 10% and 40% towards the property price and gets the same percentage back when it is sold. Alternatively, buyers can increase their share if they wish to at any point in future.  

You can purchase any size of property as long as you meet the financial criteria and the property is large enough to avoid overcrowding. To be eligible, properties must be:   

  • Advertised for sale publicly e.g. on a website, and   
  • Priced within the maximum price threshold for the area.   

In Shetland, the current maximum price thresholds are:

2 apartment (1 bedroom)   £80,000
3 apartment (2 bedroom) £125,000
4 apartment (3 bedroom) £170,000
5 apartment (4 bedroom) £205,000
6 apartment (5 bedroom) £250,000

LIFT example  

A family of three with a household income of £30,000 per annum and savings of £3,000 bought a two-bedroom property in Shetland with the help of LIFT.   

Property price: £125,000  

Buyer contribution (deposit plus mortgage): £75,000 

Scottish Government contribution: £50,000

In this example, the Scottish Government contributes 40% of the price and will get the same percentage back when the property is sold, unless the buyer decides to increase their share.

For more information, visit or text ‘LIFT’ to 66777.  

Eligibility criteria apply. Always seek independent financial advice.

Rural Housing Fund

The Rural Housing Fund is available to

  • community organisations
  • development trusts
  • private landowners
  • private developers
  • traditional housing providers

to offer capital support (grants and loans) for direct provision of new afordable housing and refurbishment of existing empty properties. Further details can be found on fund website.

Croft House Grant

The purpose of the Croft House Grant (CHG) is to improve and maintain the standards of crofter housing for crofting tenants and owner occupier crofters.

There are grant rates for building a New House as well as a Rebuilding and Improvement Grant. To receive the grant for a new house you must show your existing accommodation is inadequate in some way and that building a new house would enable you to work the croft.

For rebuilding and house improvements, your croft house must be in need of upgrading/renovation, or requires to be altered/extended to meet the needs of the household.

CHG is geographically targeted. Grant levels are determined by priority areas with the highest grant being available in more remote and fragile communities. All of mainland Shetland and its associated outer islands are included as High Priority areas receiving the highest grant rates.

For local information and queries about the CHG, please contact:

The Business Centre
Isle of Tiree
PA77 6UP

Tel: 0300 244 9999

Application Forms are downloadable from the Rural Payments and Services website.