Scottish House Condition Survey: 2018 Key Findings

A National Statistics Publication for Scotland.

The Chief Statistician has released figures on fuel poverty, energy efficiency, the condition of housing, the Scottish Housing Quality Standard (SHQS) and other key descriptors of the occupied housing stock in Scotland. This publication provides the first release of information from the Scottish House Condition Survey (SHCS) for the year January to December 2018.

In 2018 the level of fuel poverty remained similar to 2017: 25.0% or 619,000 households were fuel poor, with 11.3% or 279,000 households living in extreme fuel poverty. This compares to the 23.7% or 583,000 fuel poor households in 2017, with 11.9% or 293,000 households living in extreme fuel poverty.

There has been little change in the fuel poverty rate over the past 3 years, but there has been a reduction from the peak of 31.7%, or 761,000 households, in 2013.

Levels of extreme fuel poverty have been decreasing since the peak in 2013 of 16.0%, or 384,000 households.

In 2018, 43% of Scottish homes were in the highest energy efficiency bands, C or better, and half had an energy efficiency rating of 67 or higher (using Standard Assessment Procedure 2012, Reduced Data Standard Assessment Procedure version 9.93).

Using Standard Assessment Procedure 2009 allows the longer-term trend to be explored and shows strong improvement in the energy efficiency profile of housing. The share of the most energy efficient dwellings, those rated C or better, increased from 24% in 2010 to 49% in 2018. In the same period, the proportion of properties in the lowest EPC bands (E, F or G) more than halved, reducing from 27% to 12%.

The level of disrepair increased 7 percentage points on 2017, with 75% of all dwellings having some degree of disrepair, however minor. The increase is likely driven by the increase in disrepair to critical elements, which increased 7 percentage points from 50% in 2017, to 57% in 2018.

The Scottish Housing Quality Standard failure rate in the social sector was 36%, not allowing for abeyances and exemptions which are taken into account by the Scottish Housing Regulator. This has fallen from 60% in 2010.

Overcrowding levels in Scotland remain unchanged: 2%, or 53,000 households, were living in overcrowded accommodation in 2018.


The Fuel Poverty (Targets, Definition and Strategy) (Scotland) Act 2019 received Royal Assent in July 2019. The figures presented in the 2018 survey are a best estimate of fuel poverty and extreme fuel poverty rates under the proposed new definition of fuel poverty, following amendments agreed at Stage 2 of the Fuel Poverty (Targets, Definition and Strategy) Bill.

The first set of fuel poverty estimates fully compatible with all of the elements of the new definition in the Fuel Poverty (Targets, Definition and Strategy) (Scotland) Act are expected to be published in December 2021. This requires additional information being collected in the 2020 Scottish House Condition Survey and the production of a new Minimum Income Standard (MIS) for Remote Rural, Remote Small Town and Island areas. The Minimum Income Standard (MIS) for Remote Rural, Remote Small Town and Island areas applied to the estimates in this publication have been estimated based on previous studies.

Read the full statistical publication

The Scottish House Condition Survey is a sample survey, hence all figures are subject to a degree of uncertainty due to sampling variability. It is a two-part survey combining both an interview with occupants and a physical inspection of dwellings. The sample size in 2018 was 2,964 dwellings where both an interview and a physical survey were conducted.

Local Authority tables giving breakdowns of key SHCS measures will be published in February 2020. Local Authority estimates use combined data over the three year survey period (2016-2018), in order to obtain suitable sample sizes.

Statistics from the SHCS are used for a variety of purposes including:

  • To monitor changes in the condition of the Scottish housing stock.
  • To monitor changes in rates of fuel poverty, extreme fuel poverty and the median fuel poverty gap and to provide evidence of the types of households vulnerable to fuel poverty.
  • To monitor commitments for all social sector landlords to ensure that all of their dwellings pass the Scottish Housing Quality Standard by 2015.
  • To monitor commitments to improve the energy efficiency of the Scottish housing stock to contribute to the reduction of emissions as set out in the Climate Change (Scotland) Act, 2009.
  • To monitor progress on National Performance Framework Indicators
  • To monitor progress on Housing and Regeneration Outcome Indicators.
  • To support policy development on energy efficiency standards through Energy Efficient Scotland (EES); and help target programmes such as Home Energy Efficiency Programmes Scotland (HEEPS) and ECO on the most vulnerable households.

Read further information on Housing and Regeneration statistics in Scotland.

National statistics are produced by professionally independent statistical staff in accordance with the Code of Practice for Statistics.


Media enquiries

Back to top