Housing Options and Homelessness

What is Housing Options?

Housing Options is a process which starts with housing advice when someone approaches a local authority with a housing issue. This means looking at individual options and choices in the wider sense. This approach features early intervention and explores all possible tenure options, including Registered Social Landlords and the Private Rented Sector.

“The advice can also cover personal circumstances which may not necessarily be housing related, such as debt advice, mediation and mental health issues. Rather than only accepting a homelessness application, local authority homelessness services will work together with other services such as employability, mental health, money advice and family mediation services, etc. to assist the individual with issues from an early stage in the hope of avoiding a housing crisis.” (Scottish Government).

Housing Options services are, by their nature, diverse, but will commonly include the following:

  • housing advice;
  • health advice;
  • advice on aids and adaptations;
  • financial inclusion;
  • budget management support; and
  • employability support.

For further information and advice, please see Inverclyde Housing Options Guide for a guide regarding the housing options available in Inverclyde.


Social Housing

Following a stock transfer in 2007, Inverclyde Council no longer has housing to rent. Ownership and management of the former council housing stock was transferred to River Clyde Homes and Cloch Housing Association at that time. At present, households seeking access to social housing can choose to register through River Clyde Homes and/or the Inverclyde Common Housing Register.

There are eleven housing associations within Inverclyde.  The six main housing associations are:

  • Cloch Housing Association
  • Larkfield Housing Association
  • Link Housing Association
  • Oaktree Housing Association
  • River Clyde Homes
  • Sanctuary Scotland

Who can apply?

Everyone aged 16 or over can apply for social housing in Inverclyde.  This includes applicants from inside and outside Inverclyde as well as existing tenants who wish to move to alternative accommodation.

When deciding whether or not to include you on the register, a social housing provider cannot consider:

  • Your age (provided you are over 16)
  • Your income
  • Whether you own your current home
  • Whether you are single, married or in a civil partnership
  • Whether you or any of your family owns or has owned heritable or moveable property

River Clyde Homes are the largest provider of social housing in Inverclyde with over 6,000 homes. More information on applying for a home with River Clyde Homes can be found here - https://www.riverclydehomes.org.uk/ 

Further information regarding social housing and applying for social housing out with Inverclyde can be found in Inverclyde Housing Options Guide. 


Private Housing

The private rented sector has increased in the Inverclyde area in recent years. Living in private rented accommodation means that you are a tenant of a private landlord and not a housing association or the local authority. You should always make sure that you have a written tenancy agreement, which sets out your rights and obligations.

Tenant Information Pack

Landlords have a legal duty to provide new tenants with a tenant information pack which provides important information to tenants who rent their homes privately. It talks about your home, tenancy and landlord, and the responsibilities of you and your landlord.

This is now available to view on the Scottish Government website - https://www.gov.scot/publications/tenant-information-pack-revised-december-2016/documents/

How to find out about private rented accommodation

There are properties for rent in most parts of Inverclyde. Information on vacancies can usually be found in:

  • Estate agencies
  • Local letting agencies
  • Notice boards in supermarkets and shops
  • Online or Social Media platforms
  • Notices in property windows

Prospective tenants should always look for the landlord’s registration number and detail of Energy Performance Certificates in any written adverts, as private landlords have a duty to provide this information. 

Deposit Guarantee Scheme

The Deposit Guarantee Scheme (DGS) is to support people to access accommodation in the private rented sector, by guaranteeing a deposit where the applicant does not have sufficient funds to cover the cost. The scheme provides a written bond ‘guarantee’ equivalent to the value of the deposit on the property, up to a maximum of £650, to the private landlord instead of providing cash deposit upfront.

The Deposit Guarantee Scheme covers the first 12 months of the tenancy, which gives the applicant a chance to save a cash deposit to give to the landlord if they remain in the property after 12 months.

Home Ownership

Owner occupation offers a wide choice of accommodation however when considering buying a property you should investigate the short and long term costs.  In doing this you should take into account any potential changes in circumstances that may affect your finances such as redundancy, fluctuations in interest rates, relationship breakdown or repairs.

Advice on the property buying process, including mortgages, is available on the Citizens Advice Bureau - https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/scotland/

Low Cost Home Ownership Schemes

Due to the rising house prices, home ownership is sometimes out of reach for many people. As a result, there are schemes available to help first time buyers onto the housing ladder. Low cost home ownership schemes are usually based on purchase on a shared ownership bases (part rent, part buy) or a shared equity basis where equity finance helps to cover the total cost of the home in addition to a mortgage.

Low Cost Initiative for First Time Buyers (LIFT)

The Scottish Government has a low cost initiative for first time buyers (LIFT) which brings together several ways to help household’s access home ownership. This scheme is operated as an Open Market Shared Equity scheme to allow first time buyers to buy a second hand property on a shared equity basis.

More information about the different options available can be found on the Scottish Government website - http://www.gov.scot/Topics/Built-Environment/Housing/BuyingSelling/lift

Help to Buy (Scotland) Affordable New Build Scheme

The Help to Buy (Scotland) Affordable New Build Schemes comprise two schemes which help buyers who would not otherwise be able to do so to buy an affordable new build home from a participating home builder.

‘Help to Buy (Scotland) Affordable New Build Scheme’ is available to larger homebuilders while the ‘Help to Buy (Scotland)’ Smaller Developers New Build Scheme is available to smaller home builders. The rules to both schemes are identical and the agents administering the schemes will identify which scheme your application is to be processed under.

More information about the different options available can be found on the Scottish Government website - http://www.gov.scot/Topics/Built-Environment/Housing/BuyingSelling/help-to-buy/

Rent to Buy

Rent to Buy gives you the chance to rent a home whilst saving to buy the property after five years. In this scheme you will pay a monthly rent on the property of your choice as well as giving you the opportunity to buy it after five years.

In such schemes a portion of your rent will be set aside and when you come to buy the property it will be used to provide a discount on the sale price. This gives you time to save a deposit and have your finances in place whilst living in your new home.


Sheltered Housing

Sheltered housing is a group of self-contained properties designated for older people that are linked to and supported by sheltered housing support staff.  The support staffs provide housing support to tenants to assist them in living independently.  This can include assistance with completing forms, reporting repairs or maintaining contact with other agencies such as Health and Social Work Services. Support is provided 24 hours per day through on-site support staff and emergency call systems.

Sheltered housing may have special design features that make it more suitable for older people such as level access showers and hand rails.  There are also communal facilities on site where a range of social activities take place in which tenants can participate.

Service users who have an assessed need will receive the service of Community Health & Care Partnership (CHCP) and will receive an emergency response alarm link. Additional call services are available on request.

Sheltered housing in Inverclyde is managed by Registered Social Landlords, namely Abbeyfield, Bield, Blackwood, Cloch, River Clyde Homes and Trust. 


Very Sheltered Housing

Similar to sheltered housing, Tenants of this type of housing usually require assistance with their daily living tasks such as dressing or personal care and support is provided 24 hours per day through on-site support staff and emergency call systems. 

Very sheltered housing is designed to meet the needs of people who require a greater level of support than can be provided at sheltered housing.  There is meal provision for tenants (general 2 meals per day) to help ensure that they receive their minimal nutritional value.  It also provides an enhanced level of special features including assisted bathing facilities, hairdressing and hobbies rooms.

Very sheltered housing in Inverclyde is managed by Registered Social Landlords, namely Bield and Trust.

Related Links:

Shelter Scotland: Sheltered Housing - https://scotland.shelter.org.uk/housing_advice/finding_a_place_to_live/housing_if_you_have_special_requirements/d_housing



If you have nowhere to live or are afraid of losing your home, contact the Homeless Centre on 01475 715880 or email at HOHAS@inverclyde.gov.uk

Local authorities in Scotland have a legal duty to help people who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. We do this by:

  • providing information and advice on homelessness and the prevention of homelessness
  • offering temporary or permanent accommodation if required

Under the Housing (Scotland) Act 1987 a person should be treated as homeless, even if they have accommodation, if it would not be reasonable for them to continue to stay in it.

This could mean that you are:

  • sleeping rough
  • sleeping on the couch of a family member or friend
  • leaving care or prison with nowhere to go
  • living in poor conditions i.e. overcrowding, conditions which could affect your health
  • at risk of violence or abuse in your current living situation (If you are fleeing from domestic abuse the local Women’s Aid is also available for assistance on 01475 888505, or if you are a male domestic abuse victim Mankind Initiative can be found at mankind.org.uk or on 01823 334244)
  • being asked to leave your home

If you currently have your own accommodation but are at risk of losing it within the next two months you are considered to be ‘threatened with homelessness’. If this is the case we ask that you please contact the Homelessness Service as soon as possible so that our prevention team can aid you or alternatively put you in contact with specialist services.

Homeless Assessment

Once you have contacted one of the homelessness team they will discuss your housing situation and offer advice in order to prevent homelessness. In the event that you are already homeless or homelessness cannot be prevented the team may ask you if you would like to make a homeless application. Temporary accommodation may be offered while the team assess your application.

The homeless assessment checks for the criteria:

  • Are you legally homeless? The definition of homeless in Scotland includes those who are not yet homeless but likely to be so within two months and can be found at Shelter Scotland. The legal definition of homeless -https://scotland.shelter.org.uk/housing_advice/homelessness/the_councils_assessment/definition_homelessness
  • Have you become homeless intentionally? You are deemed intentionally homeless if you deliberately do, or fail to do something, that causes you to leave housing that is available to stay in. More information can be found here  - https://scotland.shelter.org.uk/housing_advice/homelessness/the_councils_assessment/intetionally_unintentionally_homeless

We aim to have made a decision on your application within 28 days and will be informed of the decision in writing. If you do not agree with the outcome of the assessment you can ask for a review of your case.

If you meet the criteria outlined above, Inverclyde Council will work with the local housing associations to secure a suitable offer of housing for you.

Where there is/are support needs identified, the service will provide you with required housing support while waiting for an offer of housing which can continue when rehoused. The Service could also provide you with resettlement assistance after you are offered a tenancy that will help you settle in your new home. This typically include furnishing and utility set up supports.  


For more information please contact:

Housing Options and Homelessness Advice Service

98 Dalrymple Street,

Greenock PA15 1BZ

Telephone:  01475 715880