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The Rural and Islands Housing Funds (RIHF) can help you:

  • build new homes
  • change buildings into homes
  • make empty homes ready to rent or sell

The planned homes must be affordable and can be for rent or sale.

To get funding from the RIHF you must:

  • have a building site or buildings chosen in a rural area of Scotland - see below for a definition of rural
  • show that there's a need for affordable housing in the area
  • have council support for the homes
  • plan to work with the community
  • be able to provide long-term affordable housing

To get funding from the Islands Housing Fund your building site or building must also be located on a Scottish Island.

You cannot apply for this fund if you've already started building work.

Fund options

There are 2 parts to the RIHF:

  • the main fund to help get homes built, convert business buildings into homes or make existing empty homes ready to rent or sell
  • a smaller fund to help you plan the building project, called the 'feasibility fund' (From August 2019 applications for feasibility funding will only be accepted from projects already invited to apply at the Expression of Interest stage. Any further update on availability of feasibility funding will be provided here).

What is a rural area?

To get money from this fund the homes you're planning must be in a rural area.

Rural areas in Scotland are defined as:

  • 'remote small towns' - 3,000-9,999 people and a 30 minute drive to a place with 10,000 people or more
  • 'accessible rural areas' - 3,000 or less people and within 30 minutes drive to a place with 10,000 people or more
  • 'remote rural areas' - 3,000 or less people and a drive of more than 30 minutes to a place with 10,000 people or more

There's more information in the Scottish Government Urban Rural Classification.

More information about the fund is available on the RIHF guidance document.
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