LIFT for Local Authority and Housing Association Tenants

Want to buy a home on the open market but don’t think you can afford the full price? The LIFT (Low Cost Initiative for First Time Buyers) scheme could help. 

Covid-19: Shared Equity Schemes operated by Link on behalf of the Scottish Government remain open, with staff working from home. Please check this web page regularly for updates.

If you are a local authority or housing association tenant, you could be eligible for up to 40% towards the cost of buying a home you have chosen, through the Scottish Government’s LIFT Open Market Shared Equity scheme.

The LIFT Open Market Shared Equity scheme has helped over 13,000 people to buy their own home since 2005. 

LIFT helped us buy our first home. Council rent was £416 a month, mortgage is £230 a month! We will be able to pay more mortgage off, repay government money back, and own our own home.

Kevin, LIFT scheme buyer

The Scottish Government contributes between 10% and 40% towards the price of a home you have chosen on the open market. For example, if you find a home for £100,000 and can afford to contribute £70,000 (through mortgage and deposit) as your share, the Scottish Government could provide the remaining 30% (£30,000). When the property is sold, 30% of the sale price would be returned to the Scottish Government.  

In most areas you can increase your equity share to 100% over time if you choose to do so.

The Scottish Government’s contribution depends on the amount of mortgage you can get compared to the value of the property that meets your needs. Size and price thresholds apply.

When you buy through a shared equity scheme, you own the property outright. Find out more about shared equity.

Who is eligible?  

As a social tenant, you have priority access to the LIFT Open Market Shared Equity Scheme which is open to the following groups:  

  • First-time buyers  
  • Social renters  (tenants of a Local Authority or Housing Association) 
  • People with a disability who can demonstrate a housing need 
  • Members of the armed forces   
  • Veterans who have left the armed forces within the past two years   
  • Widows, widowers and other partners of service personnel whose partner has lost their life while serving in the armed forces within the last two years   
  • People aged over 60 who can demonstrate a housing need  

If you can raise more than 90% of the value of the property, you will not be eligible for the scheme.   

There is a similar scheme for applicants aged over 60.

Over 60s

How do I apply?

Submit an online application to find out if you are eligible for the LIFT scheme.   

We recommend that you speak with an Independent Financial Advisor or Mortgage Advisor before applying to the scheme as you are required to provide a Mortgage Promise or Mortgage Agreement in Principle along with your application.

If your application is eligible, you will be issued with a Passport Letter, which is valid for 12 weeks to give you time to find a suitable property.   

Not ready to apply? Sign up for the LIFT mailing list to receive additional information on the scheme, including the maximum purchase price for a property in your area, via email.   

What size and price of property can I buy? 

Properties must be advertised for sale on the open market and be: 

  • Priced within the maximum threshold for the Local Authority area, and  
  • The correct size for your household. 

A family of four (two parents and two children) could be entitled to buy up to a four-bedroom property (that is, five apartments including living/dining rooms). Check the size and price thresholds for your area here:

         
Aberdeen City Angus Argyll & Bute Central Aberdeenshire Central Mainland (Highland)
Clackmannanshire Dumfries & Galloway Dundee City East Ayrshire East Dunbartonshire
East Lothian East Mainland (Highland) East Renfrewshire Edinburgh City Eilean Siar
Falkirk Fife North Fife South Glasgow City Inverclyde
Midlothian Moray North Aberdeenshire North Ayrshire North Lanarkshire
Orkney Perth & Kinross Renfrewshire Rural Stirling Scottish Borders
Shetland South Aberdeenshire South Ayrshire South Lanarkshire Urban Stirling
West Dunbartonshire West Lothian West Mainland (Highland)    

Advertised on the ‘open market’ means that the property has been advertised publicly e.g. on an Estate Agent's website or a social media site.  

Once your application has been approved and you have found a home you would like to buy, simply send us the details we will assess whether the property meets the scheme criteria. 

Frequently asked questions  

Do you have a question about using the LIFT scheme? Get in touch on lift@linkhaltd.co.uk  

Do I need a deposit to buy a property through the LIFT scheme?
How much does an Independent Financial Advisor (IFA) cost?
I am not a first-time buyer, can I still apply?
Can I apply with a Guarantor mortgage?
Is every applicant eligible for the maximum 40% funding?
Is there an option to buy the property I currently live in?
I am on a waiting list for a Local Authority property, does this mean I qualify?
I am living in Local Authority temporary accommodation, can I apply as a priority group?
I am renting a mid-market rented property from a Housing Association, does that give me priority?

More information 

For more information about the LIFT Open Market Shared Equity scheme, please read the Buyers’ Information Guide, join our LIFT mailing list or contact us at lift@linkhaltd.co.uk or 0330 303 0125.  You can also check the Scottish Government’s website.