Publication - Statistics

Scottish house condition survey: 2017 key findings

Published: 4 Dec 2018
Directorate:
Housing and Social Justice Directorate
Part of:
Housing, Statistics
ISBN:
9781787814271

Indicators from the 2017 survey, including updated fuel poverty rates, energy efficiency ratings, carbon emissions and Scottish Housing Quality Standard.

134 page PDF

2.8 MB

134 page PDF

2.8 MB

Contents
Scottish house condition survey: 2017 key findings
6 Housing Conditions

134 page PDF

2.8 MB

6 Housing Conditions

6.1 Disrepair

  • The level of disrepair was unchanged in 2017, with 68% of all dwellings having some degree of disrepair, however minor it may be.
  • Disrepair to critical elements stood at 50%, 28% of dwellings had some instances of urgent disrepair, and in 5% of the housing stock some extensive disrepair was present. None of these represent a statistically significant difference from 2016 although there is a longer-term trend of improvement.
  • Levels of damp and condensation improved slightly compared to 2016. 91% of properties were free from any damp or condensation, up from 89%.

210. The SHCS measures disrepair for a wide range of building elements. This is reported in four broad categories:

  • Any (or Basic) disrepair. This is the minimum threshold of disrepair measured in the SHCS and relates to any damage where a building element requires some repair beyond routine maintenance. It is the most comprehensive category covering all types of disrepair, however minor, and encompasses all other types of disrepair (see Figure 29).
  • Extensive disrepair. To be described as extensive, the damage must cover at least a fifth (20%) or more of the building element area. This category is different from the severity of damage as described by the next two categories, urgent and critical, and can be applied to any of the other 3 categories of disrepair.
  • Urgent disrepair. This relates to cases requiring immediate repair to prevent further damage or health and safety risk to occupants. Urgency of disrepair is only assessed for external and common elements.
  • Critical element disrepair. This refers to disrepair to building elements central to weather-tightness, structural stability and preventing deterioration of the property. These elements are listed in section 7.9.7.3. There is some overlap in the building elements assessed under this category and those assessed for urgent disrepair. Not all disrepair to critical elements is necessarily considered urgent by the surveyor.

211. More detailed description of the categories of disrepair is given in section 7.9.7. Rates for each category for the period 2013-2017 are shown in Table 44.

212. In 2017, 68% of Scottish dwellings had some disrepair, however minor it may be. This is similar to 2016 and follows reductions from 81% in 2012. Disrepair to critical elements stood at 50%, 28% of dwellings had some urgent disrepair, and in 5% of the housing stock some extensive disrepair was present. None of these represent a statistically significant difference from 2016 but, again, follow reductions from 61%, 39% and 9% respectively in 2012.

Table 44: Rates of Disrepair by Category, 2012-2017

Year Any (Basic) Disrepair Disrepair to Critical Elements Urgent Disrepair Extensive Disrepair
No Disrepair1 Some Disrepair
2017 32% 68% 50% 28% 5%
2016 32% 68% 48% 28% 6%
2015 27% 73% 52% 33% 8%
2014 27% 73% 53% 32% 7%
2013 22% 78% 57% 36% 7%
2012 19% 81% 61% 39% 9%

Notes: 1. This category may contain very small number of cases where it was not possible to obtain the disrepair status of every element of the property.

213. It is fairly common for dwellings to display elements of disrepair in more than one category, as illustrated in Figure 27. For example, we imagine a house with several elements in disrepair of varying severity.

  • There is a leaking tap in the bathroom.
  • A large section of the render on an external wall has broken off.
  • A small area of guttering is damaged, causing rain water to pour down an external wall surface.

214. Following the guidance in the SHCS surveyor handbook, the leaking tap is recorded in the survey as a minor repair. This alone is sufficient to place the house in the category any (or basic) disrepair.

215. The broken render on the external wall covers more than 20% of the wall area. The surveyor does not consider the repair urgent. However, the external wall finish is a critical element. This is therefore recorded as both an extensive disrepair and a disrepair to a critical element.

216. The surveyor has marked the guttering defect as requiring urgent repair, considering that the water pouring down the wall is likely to lead to further damage and compromise the weather-proofing of the building in the short term. Guttering is also one of the critical elements. As a result of this defect the dwelling has both urgent and critical element disrepair.

Figure 29: Disrepair Categories, Proportions of Scotland’s Housing Stock, 2017

Figure 29: Disrepair Categories, Proportions of Scotland’s Housing Stock, 2017

6.1.1 Disrepair to Critical Elements

217. This section examines in more detail disrepair to critical elements and its prevalence across tenure, dwelling age band and location.

218. As shown in Table 45, in 2017 the proportion of dwellings which had some disrepair to a critical element(s) was 50%, similar to the rate in 2016. In some of these dwellings, accounting for 24% of the stock overall, there was also some urgent disrepair. In 2% of the housing stock, in addition to critical and urgent disrepair, some disrepair was assessed as extensive. There is no significant difference in any of these rates compared to 2016.

6.1.1.1 Dwelling age and location

219. The prevalence of disrepair to critical elements is associated with age of construction, with dwellings built after 1964 less likely to fall within this category. Dwellings built in the period 1965 to 1982 have a critical disrepair rate of 48% while those built after 1982 have a rate half that level at 24%. This is also evident where instances of critical disrepair co-exist with urgent or urgent and extensive disrepair, a pattern which has remained unchanged in the last year.

220. Urban and rural dwellings show similar rates in all categories of disrepair shown in Table 45. There has been no significant change in the rates of disrepair in any of these categories for urban or rural areas between 2016 and 2017.

Table 45: Disrepair to Critical Elements, Urgent and Extensive Disrepair by Dwelling Age and Location, 2016 and 2017

Age of dwelling Location
pre-1919 1919-1944 1945-1964 1965-1982 post 1982 Urban Rural Scotland
Dwellings with any Critical Disrepair
2017 68% 63% 58% 48% 24% 50% 47% 50%
2016 67% 58% 60% 48% 20% 48% 49% 48%
Dwellings with Critical and Urgent disrepair
2017 36% 32% 31% 21% 8% 24% 23% 24%
2016 37% 27% 30% 22% 9% 24% 25% 24%
Dwellings with Critical, Urgent & Extensive disrepair
2017 5% 1% 4% 3% 0% 2% 3% 2%
2016 5% 3% 5% 2% 1% 3% 2% 3%

6.1.1.2 Tenure

221. Levels of critical disrepair are similar for the private and the social housing sector considered as a whole. In 2017, around half of all dwellings (49% in the private and 53% in the social sector) have some disrepair to critical elements. Just under a quarter of dwellings have both critical and urgent disrepair (24% for the private sector and 23% for the social sector) and a very small proportion (2% in the private and 3% in social sector) also have instances of extensive disrepair in addition to critical and urgent.

222. However, the sectors are not homogenous. Housing associations dwellings have the lowest levels of disrepair in all of the categories covered by Table 46 in 2017. They are followed by owner occupied dwellings, while LA properties and private rented properties have the highest levels of disrepair in these categories.

223. Only the reduction in the percentage of housing association dwellings with instances of critical, urgent and extensive disrepair from 3% in 2016 to 0% in 2017 is statistically significant.

Table 46: Disrepair to Critical Elements, Urgent and Extensive Disrepair by Tenure Group, 2016 and 2017

Tenure
Owner occupied LA/Other Public HA/Co-op Private rented Private Sector Social Sector Scotland
Dwellings with any Critical Disrepair
2017 46% 61% 40% 59% 49% 53% 50%
2016 46% 57% 37% 60% 48% 49% 48%
Dwellings with Critical and Urgent disrepair
2017 22% 30% 13% 33% 24% 23% 24%
2016 22% 30% 16% 31% 24% 24% 24%
Dwellings with Critical, Urgent & Extensive disrepair
2017 2% 5% 0% 3% 2% 3% 2%
2016 2% 5% 3% 3% 3% 4% 3%

6.1.1.3 Type of Disrepair to Critical Elements

224. As shown in Figure 30, although some disrepair to critical elements is fairly common it tends to be at a relatively low level in each property, affecting on average no more than 2.5% of the relevant area. A full list of elements in this category is provided in section 7.8.7.3.

225. Wall finish and roof coverings are often affected. Around 28% of dwellings had some disrepair to wall finish and 17% had some disrepair to roof coverings; however, in both cases the disrepair covered no more than 2.5% of the area on average. Where stone pointing, render or harling on walls is damaged, moisture can seep into the structure of the walls and cause further damage. Similarly slipped roof tiles or slates can allow water to access the roof structure or the tops of internal walls.

226. Around 23% of dwellings with chimneys showed some signs of disrepair. Unchecked this can lead to water ingress and eventually falling masonry.

Figure 30: The Number of Households (HHs) Affected and Average (Median) Extent of Disrepair to External Critical Elements

Figure 30: The Number of Households (HHs) Affected and Average (Median) Extent of Disrepair to External Critical Elements

* Av. Extent has been suppressed for some categories due to small sample sizes

6.1.2 Damp and Condensation

227. The definitions of damp and condensation are provided in section 7.9.8.

228. Any condensation, rising or penetrating damp recorded in the SHCS can cover anything from a small damp patch or area of condensation on a single wall in one room (caused for example by ineffective ventilation whilst cooking) to prevalence throughout a dwelling, so does not indicate a serious housing quality issue in all cases.

229. The incidence of these defects in isolation and together is given in Table 47. Around 91% of all dwellings in 2017 were free from any form of condensation or damp. This is an increase on 2016 (89%) but similar to 2015 (90%) and represents an overall improvement from 86% in 2012.

230. In 2017 2.3% of the housing stock (around 58,000 dwellings) suffered from some degree of penetrating damp, a slight decrease on 2016 (3.7%) and returning to 2015 levels. The presence of penetrating damp has fluctuated between 2.3% and 3.7% across the past 6 years of the survey. There were a very small number of properties with rising damp in the survey sample, suggesting that their share in the housing stock is less than 1%.

231. Condensation was observed in 7.5% of the surveyed stock (equivalent to around 185,000 dwellings) which is similar to 2016 levels although represents a reduction from 11.3% in 2012.

232. In just under 1% of dwellings (19,000) both condensation and some form of damp were recorded. This level has not changed significantly in the previous six years.

Table 47: Presence of Damp and/or Condensation in 2012-2017

2017 2016 2015 2012
Defect 000s % 000s % 000s % 000s %
No Damp or Condensation 2,237 90.8% 2,171 88.6% 2,179 89.5% 2,056 86.2%
Condensation 185 7.5% 209 8.5% 214 8.8% 270 11.3%
Penetrating damp 58 2.3% 91 3.7% 58 2.4% 86 3.6%
Rising damp 6 0.2% 10 0.4% 3 0.1% 7 0.3%
Condensation and any damp 19 0.8% 26 1.0% 20 0.8% 29 1.2%
Total 2,464 2,452 2,434 2,386
Sample 3,002 2,850 2,754 2,787

6.2 Housing Quality Standards

  • Levels of compliance with the tolerable standard in 2017 remained similar to 2016: 1% (or 24,000) of all dwellings fell below the Tolerable Standard. Longer term this represents an improvement of 3 percentage points since 2012.
  • The Scottish Housing Quality Standard (SHQS) failure rate in the social sector was 37%, not allowing for abeyances and exemptions, representing no change from 2016. This has fallen from 60% in 2010. 26% of social sector properties did not meet the Energy Efficient criterion.
  • SHCS surveyors may not always be able to identify the presence of cavity wall insulation. The overall SHQS failure rate in the social sector would be 25% if it is assumed that all social dwellings have insulated cavity walls where this is technically feasible.
  • The failure rate in the private sector dropped from 47% in 2016 to 41% in 2017, driven mainly by a reduction for properties which are owned outright. Whilst private owners and landlords are currently under no obligation to bring their properties up to this standard, the comparison demonstrates that improvement is being made in this sector and, in 2017, there was no statistically significant difference in the failure rate overall between the private and social sectors.
  • The majority of dwellings falling below the SHQS failed on a single criterion; this accounted for more than 9 out of 10 failures in the social sector.
  • For almost 8 out of 10 social homes failing the SHQS this was due to falling short on a single one of the 55 elements which make up the standard. Most frequently these were cavity wall insulation, pipe and tank insulation, presence of at least six electrical sockets in the kitchen, full and efficient central heating, safe kitchen working arrangements and the presence of a minimum of 1m3 food storage in the kitchen.

233. Two quality standards are set by the Scottish Government and monitored through the Scottish House Condition Survey.

234. The Tolerable Standard is a "condemnatory" standard. In other words, it is not reasonable to expect people to continue to live in a house that falls below it. For more information on the Tolerable Standard see section 7.9.10.

235. The Scottish Housing Quality Standard (SHQS) was introduced in February 2004[49]. It means social landlords must make sure their tenants' homes are in a good state of repair, energy efficient, healthy, safe and secure. A target was agreed that all social landlords must ensure that all their dwellings pass the SHQS by April 2015. Private owners and private landlords are currently under no obligation to bring their properties up to this standard. However SHCS collects the same data for all dwellings to allow comparison across the housing stock. Since 2012 this target has been incorporated in the Scottish Social Housing Charter and the performance of landlords has been monitored by the independent Scottish Housing Regulator (SHR).

236. For more information on the SHQS see section 7.9.11.

6.2.1 Tolerable Standard

237. The overall level of compliance with the tolerable standard remained similar to 2016. As shown in Table 48, 1% of all dwellings (or 24,000 dwellings) fell below the tolerable standard in 2017. However there is a longer term trend of improvement and 2016 levels represent a drop of 3 percentage points since 2012.

238. The share of dwellings below tolerable standard in the private sectors was 1%. This is similar to 2016 but around 3 points better than 2012 when 4% of all private dwellings fell below tolerable standard.

239. There was no change since 2016 in the social sector, where dwellings rarely fell below the tolerable standard.

240. The rate for the private rented sector in 2017 was 2% and has remained broadly at the same level for the last 6 years. However, while in the past, we have found that PRS dwellings were more likely to fall below tolerable standard than owner occupied dwellings or those in the social sector, this gap is no longer observed in the SHCS sample for 2016 or 2017.

241. The proportion of pre-1919 dwellings below tolerable standard has declined since 2012 by around 6 percentage points and stood at 3% in 2017. This however still exceeds the levels of BTS recorded for the most recently built dwellings (post 1965), at under 1%.

Table 48: Dwellings Below Tolerable Standard (BTS) by Tenure and Age Band, 2017

Below Tolerable Standard
% 000s % of BTS Stock Sample
Whole Stock 1% 24 100% 3,002
Tenure Owner-occupied 1% 16 64% 1,901
Private-rented 2% 6 24% 373
Subtotal: Private 1% 22 89% 2,274
Social 0% 3 11% 728
Age of Dwelling Pre-1919 3% 13 55% 512
1919-1944 1% 4 18% 369
1945-1964 1% 4 15% 684
Post-1965 0% 3 12% 1,437

242. The tolerable standard consists of 12 criteria (listed in section 7.9.10), failure on one of which leads to a failure overall. Dwellings which failed the tolerable standard in 2017 most commonly did so because they:

  • were not free from rising/penetrating damp (7,000 or 31% of BTS dwellings);
  • were not satisfactorily insulated (5,000 or 19% of BTS dwellings);
  • did not have adequate piped wholesome water (3,000 or 14% of BTS dwellings);
  • had unsatisfactory provision for lighting, ventilation or heating (3,000 or 12% of BTS dwellings).

6.2.2 Scottish Housing Quality Standard (SHQS)

243. In this section we present the results of analysis of the SHCS with regards to compliance with the Scottish Housing Quality Standard (SHQS). The SHQS provides a common standard for assessing the condition of Scottish housing. For this reason, although the requirement to comply with SHQS applies only to social sector housing, we assess all tenures for comparison.

244. The SHQS is made up of 55 different elements grouped into 5 higher-level criteria: Tolerable Standard (A), Serious Disrepair (B), Energy Efficiency (C), Modern Facilities and Services (D) and Healthy, Safe and Secure (E)[50]. In the SHCS 54 of the 55 individual elements is assessed by surveyors trained to collect detailed information on housing characteristics. Only one element is not assessed using SHCS data: no information is collected on external noise insulation. This data collected is subsequently aggregated by Scottish Government analysts into higher level measures for each of the 5 criteria and the standard overall.

245. Table 49 shows the overall results for the Scottish housing stock, covering the period 2010 to 2017. In 2017, 40% of all dwellings failed to meet the SHQS, down from 45% in 2016 and 61% in 2010. As in previous years, the highest failure rate was with respect to the Energy Efficient criterion (30%), followed by Healthy, Safe and Secure (10%) and Modern Facilities (7%). There were a very small number of dwellings which did not meet the BTS criterion (1%) or the Serious Disrepair criterion (0.1%). The reduction in the rate of dwellings failing the energy efficient and healthy, safe and secure criteria between 2016 and 2017 are statistically significant whilst the changes for other criteria are within the margin of error for this survey.

Table 49: Proportion of Dwellings Failing SHQS and Individual Criteria 2010-2017

2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010
SHQS 40.3% 44.7% 45.4% 47.5% 49.1% 54.0% 58.2% 61.0%
BTS 1.0% 1.6% 1.7% 2.0% 3.0% 3.7% 3.0% 3.6%
Serious Disrepair 0.1% * 0.1% 0.1% 0.2% 0.1% 0.5% 0.8%
Energy Efficient 29.7% 32.8% 33.7% 34.8% 36.3% 42.2% 46.0% 49.2%
Modern Facilities 7.4% 8.6% 8.8% 11.1% 11.4% 11.9% 13.7% 15.6%
Healthy, Safe and Secure 10.4% 12.4% 13.4% 13.8% 13.7% 16.1% 17.0% 16.6%

Notes: 1. Figures for 2014-2017 are not fully comparable to previous years. For details see Technical Notes and Definitions

6.2.2.1 Compliance by Tenure, Dwelling Age and Location

246. Table 50 shows the number and proportion of properties failing the SHQS by selected characteristics.

247. The lowest failure rates are in the newest dwellings (post-1982, 18% fail) and in Housing Associations stock (30% fail). As previously shown (section 2.5.2), Housing Association dwellings are often newer than Local Authority stock and are built to a higher energy efficiency standard. The newest purpose-build social housing in Scotland is also likely to be designed to comply with SHQS.

248. The overall SHQS failure rate for social sector housing in 2017 stood at 37%, similar to 2016. If it is assumed that all social dwellings have insulated cavity walls where this is technically feasible, the overall SHQS failure rate in the social sector would be 25% (see section 6.2.2.4). SHCS based measures do not make an allowance for abeyances and exemptions.

Table 50: Number and Proportion of Dwellings Failing SHQS, 2016 and 2017

2017 2016
000s % fail Sample 000s % fail Sample
All Scotland 993 40% 3,002 1,097 45% 2,850
Tenure
Owned outright 338 41% 1,104 406 51% 988
Mortgaged 255 38% 797 277 40% 802
LA 159 42% 439 159 45% 419
HA/co-op 75 30% 289 78 29% 297
PRS 166 48% 373 176 53% 344
Private 759 41% 2,274 859 47% 2,134
Social 234 37% 728 237 38% 716
Dwelling Age
pre-1919 226 48% 512 238 49% 529
1919-1944 142 49% 369 165 57% 330
1945-1964 272 50% 684 279 53% 640
1965-1982 238 46% 647 293 55% 627
post-1982 115 18% 790 122 20% 724
Location
Urban 806 39% 2,341 888 43% 2,189
Rural 187 46% 661 209 51% 661

249. The overall reduction in the SHQS failure rate in the past year is driven by improvements in the private sector, where the failure rate dropped from 47% to 41% and there was a particular reduction in the failure rate where properties were owned outright. The reduction in urban areas and properties aged 1919-1944 or 1965-1982 are also statistically significant.

6.2.2.2 Individual SHQS Criteria

250. Table 51 shows the failure rates for each criterion of the SHQS for private and social sector housing since 2010. It demonstrates that there has been a consistent trend of improvement in both the private and the social sector. The survey sample is not large enough to measure accurately year-on-year change in each instance. However, in 2017 we do see significant improvements, overall and in the private sector, from 2016 in the failure rates for the overall SHQS, the energy efficient criteria and the healthy, safe and secure criteria.

251. The SHCS estimates that 37% of social sector housing failed to meet the SHQS in 2017. This was predominantly due to the Energy Efficient criterion, 26% of properties failed on this measure. Seven per cent failed the Healthy, Safe and Secure criterion and 7% failed the Modern Facilities criterion. The share of those not meeting the BTS or the Disrepair criterion was negligible.

Table 51: SHQS Criteria Failure Rates by Tenure, 2010-2017

2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010

All tenures

SHQS Overall 40% 45% 45% 47% 49% 54% 58% 61%
Below Tolerable Standard 1% 2% 2% 2% 3% 4% 3% 4%
Serious Disrepair 0% * 0% 0% 0% 0% 1% 1%
Not Energy Efficient 30% 33% 34% 35% 36% 42% 46% 49%
Lacking Modern Facilities/Services 7% 9% 9% 11% 11% 12% 14% 16%
Not Healthy, Safe or Secure 10% 12% 13% 14% 14% 16% 17% 17%

Private

SHQS Overall 41% 47% 47% 48% 51% 55% 60% 61%
Below Tolerable Standard 1% 2% 2% 2% 3% 4% 4% 4%
Serious Disrepair 0% * 0% 0% 0% * 1% 1%
Not Energy Efficient 31% 35% 36% 37% 39% 43% 49% 51%
Lacking Modern Facilities/Services 7% 9% 9% 11% 11% 11% 13% 13%
Not Healthy, Safe or Secure 11% 14% 14% 14% 14% 17% 17% 17%

Social

SHQS Overall 37% 38% 39% 45% 43% 52% 52% 60%
Below Tolerable Standard 0% 1% 1% 1% 3% 3% 1% 2%
Serious Disrepair - - - * * * * *
Not Energy Efficient 26% 26% 27% 30% 28% 39% 37% 44%
Lacking Modern Facilities/Services 7% 8% 8% 12% 12% 15% 15% 22%
Not Healthy, Safe or Secure 7% 9% 10% 14% 13% 13% 15% 16%

Notes: 1. Figures for 2014-2017 are not fully comparable to previous years.

6.2.2.3 Number of Criteria and Elements Failing

252. In the large majority of cases failure to meet the SHQS is due to a dwelling not passing one criterion or even a single element. As the standard incorporates 55 different elements, it is generally sufficient for a dwelling to fail on a single one of these in order to be considered not satisfying the higher level criterion requirement and the SHQS overall[51].

253. Table 52 and Table 53 present the distribution of dwellings for Scotland as a whole and social housing separately by number of criteria failed. The majority of failures in 2017 were due to a single criterion: 33% of dwellings in the whole stock and 35% of social sector dwellings failed the SHQS because of a single criterion. This constitutes respectively 83% (for all housing) and 92% (for social sector) of all dwellings falling below the SHQS. In 2010 the corresponding figure for the percentage of dwellings failing the SHQS which do so on just one criterion was 68% for both the social sector and the whole housing stock. Therefore over time, alongside the reduction in the overall failure rate, there has also been a reduction in the reasons why a dwelling does not meet the standard.

Table 52: Number and Proportion of Dwellings by Numbers of SHQS Criteria Failures, All Housing, 2010, 2014-2017

Number of Criteria Fail

2017 2016 2015 2014 2010
000s Col % 000s Col % 000s Col % 000s Col % 000s Col %
None 1,470 60% 1,355 55% 1,328 55% 1,271 53% 920 39%
1 821 33% 867 35% 843 35% 865 36% 980 42%
2 143 6% 202 8% 226 9% 227 9% 352 15%
3+ 29 1% 28 1% 37 2% 58 2% 106 4%
Total Dwellings 2,464 100% 2,452 100% 2,434 100% 2,420 100% 2,357 100%
Criteria Fails as % of All assessed 10% 11% 12% 12% 17%
Sample size 3,002 2,850 2,754 2,682 3,115

Table 53: Number and Proportion of Dwellings by Numbers of SHQS Criteria Failures, Social Dwellings, 2010, 2014-2017

Number of Criteria Failing 2017 2016 2015 2014 2010
000s Col % 000s Col % 000s Col % 000s Col % 000s Col %
None 392 63% 385 62% 359 61% 347 55% 252 40%
1 217 35% 202 33% 191 32% 216 34% 257 41%
2 15 2% 35 6% 35 6% 54 9% 95 15%
3+ * * - - 4 1% 10 2% 29 5%
Total Dwellings 626 100% 622 100% 589 100% 627 100% 633 100%
Criteria Fails as % of All Assessed 8% 9% 9% 11% 17%
Sample size 728 716 659 673 798

Table 54: Number and Proportion of Social Sector Dwellings by Number of SHQS Element Failures, and Most Common Single-Element Failures, 2017

Number of Element Failures 000s % ofAll Dwellings % of Failing Dwellings
None 392 63%
1 element 185 30% 79%
of which
Cavity wall insulation (C31) 80
Pipe and tank insulation (C33) 25
At least six kitchen sockets (D39) 15
Full and efficient central heating (D34)* 13
Safe kitchen working arrangements (D38) 11
Adequate food storage space (D40) 9
2 elements 34 5% 15%
3 or more elements 15 2% 6%
Subtotal: dwellings failing the SHQS 234 100%
All social sector dwellings 626 100%
Sample size 728

*Note that this element should have been included in the same table in the 2016 Key Findings report. 9,000 dwellings in 2016 had a single-element failure due to a lack of full or efficient central heating.

254. Table 54 shows the distribution of social sector dwellings by the number of elements failed. Over three quarters (79%) of dwellings failing the SHQS did so because of a single element. The elements most likely to cause failure (as there are no other reasons to fail the SHQS in these dwellings) are cavity wall insulation, pipe and tank insulation, presence of at least six electrical sockets in the kitchen, full and efficient central heating, safe kitchen working arrangements and the presence of a minimum of 1m3 food storage in the kitchen (Table 54).

6.2.2.4 SHQS Compliance and Cavity Wall Insulation

255. The SHQS target is incorporated into the Scottish Social Housing Charter and the independent Scottish Housing Regulator (SHR) is responsible for monitoring social landlords’ progress towards the target. The latest SHQS progress update published by the SHR[52] reported that 94% of social homes met the SHQS in 2017/18.

256. There are some differences between the SHR and the SHCS survey in the way data for assessing the SHQS is collected and reported which make the headline compliance rates not immediately comparable. Abeyances and exemptions are not taken into account by the SHCS as it is not feasible to collect this kind of information in the survey.

257. One potential source of difference relates to the ability of the survey to detect the presence of cavity wall insulation (CWI) in all cases. According to feedback from social landlords, cavity wall insulation is installed as standard where there is a suitable cavity, and in most other cases external or internal insulation is considered (although this is not required for SHQS). This is because CWI is recognised throughout the sector as a relatively low cost measure with a high impact on energy efficiency.

258. However, the survey still records uninsulated cavity wall properties, and to allow for the possibility that SHCS surveyors may not always be able to identify the presence of CWI we provide an alternative estimate of SHQS compliance (Table 55). This estimate assumes that all social dwellings have insulated cavity walls where this is technically appropriate. Where it is not appropriate we assume an exemption. Therefore this alternative measure of compliance assumes that no dwelling fails the SHQS for lack of CWI. Although this is an unlikely scenario, it illustrates the maximum impact that undercounting CWI in the survey could potentially be making on the measurement of SHQS compliance in the social sector.

Table 55: Number and Proportion of Dwellings in the Social Sector Failing the Energy Efficient Criterion and SHQS Overall, With and Without the Cavity Wall Insulation (CWI) Element, 2016 and 2017

Dwellings Failing the Energy Efficient Criterion Dwellings Failing the SHQS Overall
000s % 000s %
2017 inc. CWI element 160 26% 234 37%
exc. CWI element 70 11% 154 25%
Difference -90 -14 pts -80 -13 pts
2016 inc. CWI element 159 26% 237 38%
exc. CWI element 68 11% 160 26%
Difference -91 -15 pts -77 -12 pts

259. In 2017, almost one fifth of social dwellings (16% or 101,000 dwellings) are recorded as failing the CWI element of the SHQS. Excluding this element from the compliance requirement leads to a 14 percentage point reduction in the energy efficiency element failure rate and a 13 percentage point reduction in overall SHQS failure. This amounts to around 80,000 fewer social sector dwellings failing the SHQS and an overall SHQS failure rate of 25%.

6.3 Overcrowding and Under-Occupancy

  • In 2017 around 66,000 households lived in overcrowded accommodation (3%) under the bedroom standard.
  • Around 880,000 (36%) households had one bedroom in excess of the minimum requirement under the bedroom standard. A further 766,000 (31%) households had two or more bedrooms in excess.
  • Social sector tenants are more likely to live in accommodation which is at the level meeting the minimum requirements of the bedroom standard (55% compared to 22% in the private sector). Social sector tenants are also slightly more likely (4%) to live in accommodation which is overcrowded according to the bedroom standard than those households living in the private sector (2%).

260. This section examines some key measures of whether households are living in overcrowded or under-occupied conditions. This is determined on the basis of the bedroom standard as defined in the Housing (Overcrowding) Bill 2003[53] taking into account the number of bedrooms available in the dwelling and the type of household that occupies it.

261. Minimum requirements for bedrooms under the bedroom standard should not be confused with criteria for the removal of the spare room subsidy. More information on the bedroom standard and the differences between the two is included in section 7.9.9.

262. Figure 31 and Table 56 show how headline occupancy measures have changed over time. There was no significant change in these headline measures between 2016 and 2017. In 2017, the national rate of households with at least one bedroom above the minimum standard was 67%. The rate of overcrowding has stayed stable since 2009 (3%), and is significantly lower than the peak observed in 2004/5 (4%).

263. Subsequent sections examine in more detail differences across household and dwelling characteristics for 2017 and the preceding year.

Figure 31: Proportion of Dwellings which are Overcrowded, Meet the Minimum Standard, Exceed it by 1 Bedroom or Exceed by 2 or More Bedrooms, 2003/4-2017

Figure 31: Proportion of Dwellings which are Overcrowded, Meet the Minimum Standard, Exceed it by 1 Bedroom or Exceed by 2 or More Bedrooms, 2003/4-2017

Table 56: Dwellings which are Below The Standard, Meet The Minimum Requirement, or Exceed it by 1, 2 or + Bedrooms, 2010, 2016, 2017

Bedroom Standard 2017 2016 2010
000s % 000s % 000s %
Below Standard 66 3% 67 3% 61 3%
Compliance: minimum requirements 752 31% 695 28% 644 27%
Above Standard 1,646 67% 1,690 69% 1,653 70%
1 bedroom above minimum 880 36% 912 37% 898 38%
2+ bedrooms above minimum 766 31% 777 32% 754 32%
2 bedrooms above minimum 517 21% 560 23% 543 23%
3 or more bedrooms above minimum 249 10% 217 9% 211 9%
Total 2,464 100% 2,452 100% 2,357 100%
Sample Size 3,002 2,850 3,115

6.3.1 Overcrowding

264. A dwelling is considered overcrowded if there are insufficient bedrooms to meet the occupants’ requirements under the bedroom standard definition (see section 7.9.9).

265. Around 3%, or 66,000 households, lived in overcrowded accommodation in 2017. Social sector dwellings (4%) were more likely to be overcrowded than private sector dwellings (2%). There was also a 4 percentage point increase in overcrowded households who rent from their local authority, compared to 2016 (from 1% to 5%), bringing the rate for the local authority sector back to 2015 levels (6%).

Table 57: Overcrowding by Tenure and Housing Type, Dwelling Age Band, Income Band and Location, 2016 and 2017

Overcrowded under Bedroom Standard

2017

2016

000s

%

Sample

000s

%

Sample

Tenure
Owned 5 1% 1,104 9 1% 988
Mortgaged 16 2% 797 15 2% 802
LA 20 5% 439 5 1% 419
HA 7 3% 289 15 6% 297
PRS 18 5% 373 23 7% 344
Private 39 2% 2,274 48 3% 2,134
Social 27 4% 728 20 3% 716
Age of dwelling
pre-1919 17 4% 512 9 2% 529
1919-1944 9 3% 369 8 3% 330
1945-1964 13 2% 684 14 3% 640
1965-1982 18 4% 647 14 3% 627
post-1982 8 1% 790 22 4% 724
Dwelling Type
Detached 6 1% 824 2 0% 767
Semi-detached 12 2% 661 9 2% 606
Terraced 12 2% 619 18 3% 620
Tenement 24 4% 520 24 4% 506
Other flats 13 4% 378 14 4% 351
Weekly Household Income
< £200 2 1% 316 5 2% 355
£200-300 7 2% 479 10 2% 506
£300-400 7 2% 446 16 4% 436
£400-500 14 5% 375 4 2% 312
£500-700 18 4% 543 11 3% 516
£700+ 15 2% 789 14 2% 669
Location
urban 60 3% 2,341 58 3% 2,189
rural 6 1% 661 9 2% 661
Scotland 66 3% 3,002 67 3% 2,850

266. Households who own their properties outright and who live in rural areas had below the average national overcrowding rate. There were also lower rates than the national average for households living in post-1982 dwellings and for those in the lowest weekly income band. Only 1% of households earning less than £200 a week were living in overcrowded accommodation while 5% of those earning £400-£500 a week were overcrowded.

6.3.2 Under-Occupancy

267. In 2017 around 880,000 (36%) had one additional bedroom above the minimum under the bedroom standard. 766,000 (31%) households had two or more bedrooms in excess of the minimum standard.

268. In 2017, there were both differences and similarities between residents in private housing and the social housing sector for different measures of under-occupancy. Social sector tenants are more likely to live in accommodation which is at the level meeting the minimum requirements of the bedroom standard (55% compared to 22% in the private sector). In contrast, households in the social housing sector are less likely to have two or more bedrooms in excess of the minimum requirements: 5% have two or more additional rooms, compared to 40% of private sector households. However, rates of social and private sector households with just one bedroom in excess of minimum requirements (36% and 35% respectively) are similar.

269. There are also differences within the private sector. Those dwellings which are owned outright (54%) or are mortgaged (37%) are more likely to have at least 2 additional rooms than those renting in the private sector (12%).

270. Higher income households (£700+ per week) are more likely to live in dwellings with additional bedrooms: 46% have two or more additional bedrooms.

271. Under-occupied dwellings are least common amongst dwellings built between 1919 and 1964, where 24% have two or more bedrooms in excess of the standard compared to post-1982 where the rate is 37%. Similarly, detached houses have the highest rates of under-occupancy compared to other building types: 72% with two or more additional bedrooms.

272. Under-occupation is more common in rural areas. 49% of rural dwellings have two or more bedrooms in excess of the minimum requirements under the bedroom standard, compared to 28% for urban properties.

273. Changes from 2016 on the measures shown in Table 58 and Table 59 are mostly within the margin of error for this survey. A decrease of three percentage points in the proportion of social sector dwellings with two or more bedrooms above the minimum was recorded in 2017.

274. Longer term, the proportion of social dwellings with two or more additional bedrooms has dropped by 8 percentage points, from 13% in 2011 to 5% in 2017. In the same period the proportion of social sector households at the minimum bedroom standard has increased from 46% to 55% in 2017.

Table 58: Above Minimum Standard, by Tenure, Dwelling Age, Type and Location, 2016 and 2017

2017 2016
2+ additional 1 additional Sample 2+ additional 1 additional Sample
000s % 000s % 000s % 000s %
Tenure
Owned 445 54% 286 35% 1,104 416 52% 299 37% 988
Mortgaged 244 37% 243 37% 797 253 36% 275 39% 802
LA 27 7% 131 35% 439 37 11% 131 37% 419
HA/co-op 7 3% 89 35% 289 17 6% 93 34% 297
PRS 43 12% 131 38% 373 54 16% 115 35% 344
Private 732 40% 661 36% 2,274 723 40% 689 38% 2,134
Social 34 5% 219 35% 728 54 9% 224 36% 716
Age of dwelling
pre-1919 153 33% 140 30% 512 179 37% 129 27% 529
1919-1944 70 24% 143 49% 369 84 29% 124 43% 330
1945-1964 129 24% 233 43% 684 136 26% 230 44% 640
1965-1982 178 35% 153 30% 647 150 28% 208 39% 627
post-1982 236 37% 211 33% 790 229 37% 222 36% 724
Dwelling Type
Detached 397 72% 122 22% 824 365 65% 161 29% 767
Semi 183 38% 173 36% 661 183 39% 182 38% 606
Terraced 131 25% 221 41% 619 147 28% 213 40% 620
Tenement 25 4% 212 36% 520 46 8% 210 37% 506
Other flats 30 10% 151 49% 378 36 11% 146 46% 351
Weekly Household Income
< £200 54 21% 94 37% 316 74 24% 113 37% 355
£200-300 83 21% 143 36% 479 87 19% 183 40% 506
£300-400 98 26% 139 37% 446 107 28% 149 39% 436
£400-500 77 24% 121 38% 375 85 32% 89 34% 312
£500-700 151 34% 168 38% 543 149 35% 164 38% 516
£700+ 289 46% 202 32% 789 261 46% 201 35% 669
Urban-rural indicator
urban 567 28% 750 37% 2,341 585 29% 773 38% 2,189
rural 199 49% 130 32% 661 192 47% 140 34% 661
Scotland 766 31% 880 36% 3,002 777 32% 912 37% 2,850

Table 59: Households Meeting the Minimum Bedroom Standard, by Tenure, Dwelling Age, Type and Location, 2016 and 2017

2017 2016
000s % Sample 000s % Sample
Tenure
Owned 92 11% 1,104 79 10% 988
Mortgaged 160 24% 797 154 22% 802
LA 197 53% 439 180 51% 419
HA 149 59% 289 145 54% 297
PRS 154 45% 373 137 42% 344
Private 406 22% 2,274 370 20% 2,134
Social 346 55% 728 325 52% 716
Age of dwelling
pre-1919 156 33% 512 166 34% 529
1919-1944 70 24% 369 71 25% 330
1945-1964 169 31% 684 146 28% 640
1965-1982 166 32% 347 163 30% 627
post-1982 191 30% 790 149 24% 724
Dwelling Type
Detached 29 5% 824 32 6% 767
Semi-detached 113 24% 661 99 21% 606
Terraced 170 32% 619 154 29% 620
Tenement 323 55% 520 286 50% 506
Other flats 117 38% 378 124 39% 351
Weekly Household Income
< £200 104 41% 316 111 37% 355
£200-300 164 41% 479 172 38% 506
£300-400 129 34% 446 112 29% 436
£400-500 106 33% 375 86 33% 312
£500-700 109 24% 543 107 25% 516
£700+ 121 19% 789 94 16% 669
Location
urban 677 33% 2,341 625 31% 2,189
rural 74 18% 661 69 17% 661
Scotland 752 31% 3,002 695 28% 2,850