There was no formal urban planning system when Charles Dickens was writing, but the planning approach to Build to Rent (BTR) in Scotland is very much a "tale of two cities".

Just over four years ago, the Scottish Government acknowledged the crucial supporting role that planners have in expanding housing delivery and issued an advice note entitled "Planning delivery advice: build to rent". That advice encouraged planning authorities to embrace the growing BTR sector. So far, so good – for development - but are we seeing this encouragement reflected in the consent process?

To varying degrees, we would say "yes".

As with any new model, the planning authorities were initially cautious about BTR but a better understanding of the BTR product has helped with the progress of planning applications. As such, whilst close attention is still generally paid to the extent of habitable space, amenity space and single aspect units, the paramount consideration is the quality of the accommodation overall.

Planning scrutiny has largely focused on BTR development in Glasgow and Edinburgh, with a lighter touch taken to projects elsewhere in Scotland. Having been involved in the majority of BTR schemes across Scotland, we have produced key takeaway points to be aware of in our two major cities. Download the document below. 

If you are contemplating a BTR project in Scotland please do get in touch and we can provide further advice.


Neil Collar


Johane Murray

Head of Real Estate & Partner