From converted croft houses and stone cottages to Victorian town houses and Scandinavian timber-clad homes, Shetland has a range of housing options to suit most tastes and budgets.

Where to look for property

Websites to look for accommodation to rent or buy in Shetland include:

For short-term accommodation/holiday lets:

Classified adverts, where you can also advertise:

Buying a house in Shetland

Although estate agents are active in Scotland’s main cities, homes in Shetland are generally sold through solicitors, who also carry out all the associated legal work. The Scottish system of submitting offers over an indicative price applies and this typically means that a house may fetch perhaps 10% to 30% above that price. Occasionally, houses may be advertised at a fixed price.

If you’ve been used to the English market, it’s important to note that, in Scotland, an offer is binding once accepted by the vendor, provided that any conditions attached to the offer are met, for example, a stipulation that the survey is satisfactory.

Social housing

Social housing is in high demand in Shetland, particularly in Lerwick. To apply, complete a Housing Application form and be considered by both Hjaltland Housing Association and Shetland Islands Council for a social rented property.

Self builds

There’s a strong tradition of self building in Shetland. For more information, see the House Building page of the SIC website for information on acquiring a site and planning regulations. For home building inspiration, see our feature on Building a dream home in Shetland.

Croft houses

Shetland’s rural areas have many houses that are in crofting tenure, a form of property holding that is regulated by the Crofters’ Commission. A croft house may be held on a lease or may be owner-occupied.

It is occasionally possible to buy a croft and croft house, subject to Crofters’ Commission approval. Crofting leases are unusual in that there is security of tenure and the lease can be passed on to the crofter’s heir. More information is available on the Shetland Islands Council’s housing options website or from the Crofting Commission.

Restoring property

If you’d like to rescue a ruin, you can browse the Buildings at Risk Register. Also, speak to the Planning Service’s heritage staff on +44 (0)1595 744800; they can advise on the planning procedures and, depending on the property, may be able to offer advice on sources of grant aid.