Publication - Statistics

Scottish house condition survey: 2018 key findings

Published: 21 Jan 2020
Directorate:
Housing and Social Justice Directorate
Part of:
Housing, Statistics
ISBN:
9781839604751

Figures from the 2018 survey, including updated fuel poverty rates, energy efficiency ratings, the condition of housing and the Scottish Housing Quality Standard.

152 page PDF

2.7 MB

152 page PDF

2.7 MB

Contents
Scottish house condition survey: 2018 key findings
6 Housing Conditions

152 page PDF

2.7 MB

6 Housing Conditions

6.1 Disrepair

Key Points

  • The level of disrepair increased 7 percentage points, with 75% of all dwellings having some degree of disrepair, however minor it may be.
  • Disrepair to critical elements stood at 57%, an increase of 7 percentage points.
  • 30% of dwellings had some instances of urgent disrepair, and in 6% of the housing stock some extensive disrepair was present. Neither of these represent a statistically significant difference from 2017 although there is a longer-term trend of improvement since 2012.
  • Levels of damp and condensation were similar to that seen in 2017: 89% of properties were free from any damp or condensation.

249. 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 7.11.7.3. 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.

250. More detailed description of the categories of disrepair is given in section 7.11.7. Rates for each category for the period 2012-2018 are shown in Table 46.

251. In 2018, 75% of Scottish dwellings had some disrepair, however minor it may be. This is an increase of 7 percentage points from 2017, but is still lower than 81% in 2012. Disrepair to critical elements stood at 57%, a 7 percentage point increase on 2017 levels.

252. 30% of dwellings had some urgent disrepair, and in 6% of the housing stock some extensive disrepair was present. Neither of these represent a statistically significant difference from 2017 but still, follow reductions from 39% and 9% respectively in 2012.

Table 46: Rates of Disrepair by Category, 2012-2018

Year Any (Basic) Disrepair Disrepair to Critical Elements Urgent Disrepair Extensive Disrepair
No Disrepair1 Some Disrepair
2018 25% 75% 57% 30% 6%
2017 32% 68% 50% 28% 5%
2016 31% 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. Figures in this time series will not match those in previous publications as a correction to the basic disrepair time series has been applied, resulting in a very small change of either one percentage point, or less. See the technical notes for further information.

253. It is fairly common for dwellings to display elements of disrepair in more than one category, as illustrated in Figure 30. 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.

254. 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.

255. 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.

256. 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 30: Disrepair Categories, Proportions of Scotland’s Housing Stock, 2018

Figure 30: Disrepair Categories, Proportions of Scotland’s Housing Stock, 2018

6.1.1 Disrepair to Critical Elements

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

258. As shown in Table 47, in 2018 the proportion of dwellings which had some disrepair to a critical element(s) was 57%, 7 percentage points higher than in 2017. In some of these dwellings, accounting for 26% of the stock overall, there was also some urgent disrepair. In 4% of the housing stock, in addition to critical and urgent disrepair, some disrepair was assessed as extensive, an increase of 1 percentage point from 2017.

6.1.1.1 Dwelling age and location

259. 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 52% while those built after 1982 have a rate two-thirds that level at 35%. This is also evident where instances of critical disrepair co-exist with urgent disrepair, a pattern which has remained unchanged in the last year.

260. Of the categories of disrepair shown, urban dwellings have a higher rate of dwellings with both critical and urgent disrepair than rural dwellings. There has been an increase in the rates of urban disrepair in all categories between 2017 and 2018; in comparison, only critical disrepair rates increased in rural areas between 2017 and 2018.

Table 47: Disrepair to Critical Elements, Urgent and Extensive Disrepair by Dwelling Age and Location, 2017 and 2018

Age of dwelling Location Scotland
pre-1919 1919-1944 1945-1964 1965-1982 post 1982 Urban Rural
Dwellings with any Critical Disrepair
2018 73% 73% 67% 52% 35% 57% 54% 57%
2017 68% 63% 58% 48% 24% 50% 47% 50%
Dwellings with Critical and Urgent disrepair
2018 40% 35% 34% 21% 12% 27% 23% 26%
2017 36% 32% 31% 21% 8% 24% 23% 24%
Dwellings with Critical, Urgent & Extensive disrepair
2018 7% 2% 5% 3% 1% 4% 4% 4%
2017 5% 1% 4% 3% * 2% 3% 2%

6.1.1.2 Tenure

261. Levels of critical disrepair are similar for the private and the social housing sector considered as a whole. In 2018, over half of all dwellings (57% in both the private and social sector) have some disrepair to critical elements. Over a quarter of dwellings have both critical and urgent disrepair (27% for the private sector and 26% for the social sector) and a small proportion (4% in the private and 3% in social sector) also have instances of extensive disrepair in addition to critical and urgent.

262. However, the sectors are not homogenous. Housing associations dwellings have the lowest levels of disrepair in all of the categories covered by Table 48 in 2018. They are followed by owner occupied dwellings and LA properties, while private rented properties have the highest levels of disrepair in these categories.

263. Between 2017 and 2018, there were increases in critical disrepair rates for owner-occupied and PRS dwellings. Correspondingly, the overall private critical disrepair rate increased. Housing association dwelling rates of critical and urgent disrepair increased by 4 percentage points. Rates of critical, urgent and extensive disrepair increased in the PRS, and hence the private sector overall, between 2017 and 2018.

Table 48: Disrepair to Critical Elements, Urgent and Extensive Disrepair by Tenure Group, 2017 and 2018

Tenure
Owner occupied LA/Other Public HA/Co-op Private rented Private Sector Social Sector Scotland
Dwellings with any Critical Disrepair
2018 54% 63% 46% 72% 57% 57% 57%
2017 46% 61% 40% 59% 49% 53% 50%
Dwellings with Critical and Urgent disrepair
2018 24% 31% 17% 39% 27% 26% 26%
2017 22% 30% 13% 33% 24% 23% 24%
Dwellings with Critical, Urgent & Extensive disrepair
2018 3% 3% 2% 9% 4% 3% 4%
2017 2% 5% * 3% 2% 3% 2%

6.1.1.3 Type of Disrepair to Critical Elements

264. As shown in Figure 31, 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 7.11.7.3.

265. Wall finish and roof coverings are often affected. Around 30% of dwellings had some disrepair to wall finish and 21% 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.

266. Around 30% of dwellings with chimneys showed some signs of disrepair. Unchecked this can lead to water ingress and eventually falling masonry.

Figure 31: The Number of Households (HHs) Affected and Average (Median) Extent of Disrepair to External Critical Elements

Figure 31: 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

267. The definitions of damp and condensation are provided in section 7.11.8.

268. 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.

269. The incidence of these defects in isolation and together is given in Table 49. Around 89% of all dwellings in 2018 were free from any form of condensation or damp. This is similar to 2017 (91%) and represents an overall improvement from 86% in 2012.

270. In 2018 2.8% of the housing stock (around 69,000 dwellings) suffered from some degree of penetrating damp, which is similar to 2017 levels. The presence of penetrating damp has fluctuated between 2.3% and 3.7% across the past 7 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%.

271. Condensation was observed in 8.9% of the surveyed stock (equivalent to around 220,000 dwellings) which is similar to 2017 and 2016 levels, although represents a reduction from 11.3% in 2012.

272. In 1% of dwellings (26,000) both condensation and some form of damp were recorded. This level has not changed significantly in the previous six years.

Table 49: Presence of Damp and/or Condensation in 2012-2018

2018 2017 2016 2012
Defect 000s % 000s % 000s % 000s %
No Damp or Condensation 2,209 89.2% 2,236 90.8% 2,171 88.6% 2,056 86.2%
Condensation 220 8.9% 185 7.5% 209 8.5% 270 11.3%
Penetrating damp 69 2.8% 58 2.3% 91 3.7% 86 3.6%
Rising damp 10 0.4% 6 0.2% 10 0.4% 7 0.3%
Condensation and any damp 26 1.0% 19 0.8% 26 1.0% 29 1.2%
Total 2,477 2,464 2,452 2,386
Sample 2,964 3,002 2,850 2,787

6.2 Housing Quality Standards

Key Points

  • Levels of compliance with the tolerable standard in 2018 decreased slightly to 2016 levels: 2% (or 50,000) of all dwellings fell below the Tolerable Standard. Longer term this represents an improvement of 2 percentage points since 2012.
  • The Scottish Housing Quality Standard (SHQS) failure rate in the social sector was 36%, not allowing for abeyances and exemptions, representing no change from 2017. 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 23% if it is assumed that all social dwellings have insulated cavity walls where this is technically feasible.
  • The failure rate in the private sector overall is similar to that seen in 2017 (44%, compared to 41%), although the PRS failure rate increased nine percentage points from 48% in 2017, to 57% in 2018. Nevertheless, whilst private owners and landlords are currently under no obligation to bring their properties up to this standard, long term improvement is being made in the private sector overall.
  • The majority of dwellings falling below the SHQS failed on a single criterion; this accounted for more than 8 out of 10 failures in the social sector.
  • For almost three quarters of 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, full and efficient central heating, effective loft insulation, at least six kitchen sockets, and safe common front and rear doors

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

274. 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 7.11.10.

275. The Scottish Housing Quality Standard (SHQS) was introduced in February 2004[62]. 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).

276. For more information on the SHQS see section 7.11.11.

6.2.1 Tolerable Standard

277. The overall level of compliance with the tolerable standard decreased slightly from 2017, returning to 2016 levels. As shown in Table 50, 2% of all dwellings (or 50,000 dwellings) fell below the tolerable standard in 2018. However there is a longer term trend of improvement and 2018 levels represent a drop of
2 percentage points since 2012.

278. The share of dwellings below tolerable standard in the private sectors was 2%, 1 percentage point higher than in 2017, but similar to 2016 levels. The proportion of social sector dwellings below tolerable standard increased one percentage point from 2017 levels, returning to the same proportion in 2016.

279. The rate for the PRS in 2018 was 4% and has remained broadly at the same level for the last seven years. 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, 2017 and 2018 and there is no significant difference in levels of compliance.

280. The proportion of pre-1919 dwellings below tolerable standard increased by three percentage points from 3% in 2017, to 6% in 2018. This is similar to proportion below tolerable standard in 2016, but is three percentage points lower than in 2012. Relatively fewer recently built dwellings (post 1965) were below tolerable standard compared to pre-1919 dwellings, at 1% in 2018.

Table 50: Dwellings Below Tolerable Standard (BTS) by Tenure and Age Band, 2018

Below Tolerable Standard
% 000s % of BTS Stock Sample
Whole Stock 2% 50 100% 2,964
Tenure Owner-occupied 2% 27 54% 1,937
Private-rented 4% 10 21% 294
Subtotal: Private 2% 37 75% 2,231
Social 2% 12 25% 733
Age of Dwelling Pre-1919 6% 26 53% 521
1919-1944 2% 7 13% 327
1945-1964 2% 11 22% 654
Post-1965 1% 6 13% 1,462

281. The tolerable standard consists of 12 criteria (listed in section 7.11.10), failure on one of which leads to a failure overall. Dwellings which failed the tolerable standard in 2018 most commonly did so because they:

  • were not free from rising/penetrating damp (13,000 or 27% of BTS dwellings);
  • did not have safe electrical systems (11,000 or 22% of BTS dwellings);
  • were not satisfactorily insulated (10,000, or 20% of BTS dwellings);
  • had unsatisfactory provision for lighting, ventilation or heating (7,000 or 14% of BTS dwellings).

6.2.2 Scottish Housing Quality Standard (SHQS)

282. 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.

283. 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)[63]. 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.

284. Table 51 shows the overall results for the Scottish housing stock, covering the period 2010 to 2018. In 2018, 41% of all dwellings failed to meet the SHQS, which is similar to 2017. However, it is 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 (12.6%) and Modern Facilities (6%). There were a small number of dwellings which did not meet the BTS criterion (2%) or the Serious Disrepair criterion (0.1%). The increase in the rate of dwellings failing the tolerable standard and healthy, safe and secure criteria between 2017 and 2018 are statistically significant whilst the changes for other criteria are within the margin of error for this survey.

Table 51: Proportion of Dwellings Failing SHQS and Individual Criteria 2010-2017

2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010
SHQS 41.5% 40.3% 44.7% 45.4% 47.5% 49.1% 54.0% 58.2% 61.0%
BTS 2.0% 1.0% 1.6% 1.7% 2.0% 3.0% 3.7% 3.0% 3.6%
Serious Disrepair 0.1% 0.1% * 0.1% 0.1% 0.2% 0.1% 0.5% 0.8%
Energy Efficient 30.4% 29.7% 32.8% 33.7% 34.8% 36.3% 42.2% 46.0% 49.2%
Modern Facilities 6.0% 7.4% 8.6% 8.8% 11.1% 11.4% 11.9% 13.7% 15.6%
Healthy, Safe and Secure 12.6% 10.4% 12.4% 13.4% 13.8% 13.7% 16.1% 17.0% 16.6%

Notes: 1. Figures for 2014-2018 are not fully comparable to previous years. For details see Technical Notes and Definitions

6.2.2.1 Compliance with SHQS by Tenure, Dwelling Age and Location

285. Table 52 shows the number and proportion of properties failing the SHQS by selected characteristics.

286. The lowest failure rates are in the newest dwellings (post-1982, 17% fail) and in Housing Associations stock (26% 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.

287. The overall SHQS failure rate for social sector housing in 2018 stood at 36%, similar to 2017. 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 23% (see section 6.2.2.4). SHCS based measures do not make an allowance for abeyances and exemptions.

288. The overall similarity in the SHQS failure rate in the past year is reflected across the dwelling types, tenures and locations detailed in Table 52. Only PRS dwellings had a statistically significant change in SHQS failure rate, increasing 9 percentage points from 48% in 2017, to 57% in 2018.

Table 52: Number and Proportion of Dwellings Failing SHQS, 2017 and 2018

2018 2017
000s % fail Sample 000s % fail Sample
All Scotland 1,027 41% 2,964 993 40% 3,002
Tenure
Owned outright 371 44% 1,091 338 41% 1,104
Mortgaged 268 38% 846 255 38% 797
LA 168 41% 459 159 42% 439
HA/co-op 64 26% 274 75 30% 289
PRS 155 57% 294 166 48% 373
Private 794 44% 2,231 759 41% 2,274
Social 233 36% 733 234 37% 728
Dwelling Age
pre-1919 253 54% 521 226 48% 512
1919-1944 143 51% 327 142 49% 369
1945-1964 260 49% 654 272 50% 684
1965-1982 258 49% 654 238 46% 647
post-1982 114 17% 808 115 18% 790
Location
Urban 823 40% 2,292 806 39% 2,341
Rural 205 49% 672 187 46% 661

6.2.2.2 Individual SHQS Criteria

289. Table 53 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, although overall, the SHQS failure rates remain unchanged in the last year. The survey sample is not large enough to measure accurately year-on-year changes for each criterion. However, in 2018 we do see significant increases in the failure rates for dwellings failing the Below Tolerable Standard criterion for the private and social sectors, plus overall from 2017 to 2018. Furthermore, there is an increase in the proportion of private sector dwellings failing the Not Healthy, Safe or Secure criterion.

290. The SHCS estimates that 36% of social sector housing failed to meet the SHQS in 2018. This was predominantly due to the Energy Efficient criterion, 26% of properties failed on this measure. 9% failed the Healthy, Safe and Secure criterion and 5% failed the Modern Facilities criterion. A small number (2%) failed the Below Tolerable Standard criterion.

Table 53: SHQS Criteria Failure Rates by Tenure, 2010-2018

2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010
All tenures SHQS Overall 41% 40% 45% 45% 47% 49% 54% 58% 61%
Below Tolerable Standard 2% 1% 2% 2% 2% 3% 4% 3% 4%
Serious Disrepair * 0% * 0% 0% 0% 0% 1% 1%
Not Energy Efficient 30% 30% 33% 34% 35% 36% 42% 46% 49%
Lacking Modern Facilities/Services 6% 7% 9% 9% 11% 11% 12% 14% 16%
Not Healthy, Safe or Secure 13% 10% 12% 13% 14% 14% 16% 17% 17%
Private SHQS Overall 44% 41% 47% 47% 48% 51% 55% 60% 61%
Below Tolerable Standard 2% 1% 2% 2% 2% 3% 4% 4% 4%
Serious Disrepair * 0% * 0% 0% 0% * 1% 1%
Not Energy Efficient 32% 31% 35% 36% 37% 39% 43% 49% 51%
Lacking Modern Facilities/Services 7% 7% 9% 9% 11% 11% 11% 13% 13%
Not Healthy, Safe or Secure 14% 11% 14% 14% 14% 14% 17% 17% 17%
Social SHQS Overall 36% 37% 38% 39% 45% 43% 52% 52% 60%
Below Tolerable Standard 2% 0% 1% 1% 1% 3% 3% 1% 2%
Serious Disrepair * - - - * * * * *
Not Energy Efficient 26% 26% 26% 27% 30% 28% 39% 37% 44%
Lacking Modern Facilities/Services 5% 7% 8% 8% 12% 12% 15% 15% 22%
Not Healthy, Safe or Secure 9% 7% 9% 10% 14% 13% 13% 15% 16%

Notes: 1. Figures for 2014-2018 are not fully comparable to previous years.

6.2.2.3 Number of Criteria and Elements Failing

291. 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[64].

292. Table 54 and Table 55 present the distribution of dwellings for Scotland as a whole and social housing separately by number of criteria failed. The majority of failures in 2018 were due to a single criterion: 33% of dwellings in the whole stock and 30% of social sector dwellings failed the SHQS because of a single criterion.

293. This constitutes respectively 79% (for all housing) and 84% (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 54: Number and Proportion of Dwellings by Numbers of SHQS Criteria Failures, All Housing, 2010, 2015-2018

Number of Criteria Failures 2018 2017 2016 2015 2010
000s Col % 000s Col % 000s Col % 000s Col % 000s Col %
None 1,450 59% 1,470 60% 1,355 55% 1,328 55% 920 39%
1 816 33% 821 33% 867 35% 843 35% 980 42%
2 185 7% 143 6% 202 8% 226 9% 352 15%
3+ 26 1% 29 1% 28 1% 37 2% 106 4%
Total Dwellings 2,477 100% 2,464 100% 2,452 100% 2,434 100% 2,357 100%
Criteria Fails as % of All assessed 10% 10% 11% 12% 17%
Sample size 2,964 3,002 2,850 2,754 3,115

Table 55: Number and Proportion of Dwellings by Numbers of SHQS Criteria Failures, Social Dwellings, 2010, 2015-2018

Number of Criteria Failures 2018 2017 2016 2015 2010
000s Col % 000s Col % 000s Col % 000s Col % 000s Col %
None 423 64% 392 63% 385 62% 359 61% 252 40%
1 194 30% 217 35% 202 33% 191 32% 257 41%
2 34 5% * * 35 6% 35 6% 95 15%
3+ 4 1% * * - - 4 1% 29 5%
Total Dwellings 656 100% 626 100% 622 100% 589 100% 633 100%
Criteria Fails as % of All Assessed 8% 8% 9% 9% 17%
Sample size 733 728 716 659 798

Table 56: Number and Proportion of Social Sector Dwellings by Number of SHQS Element Failures, and Most Common Single-Element Failures, 2018

Number of Element Failures 000s % of All Dwellings % of Failing Dwellings
None 423 65%
1 element 169 26% 73%
… of which
Cavity wall insulation (C31) 84
Pipe and tank insulation (C33) 17
Full and efficient central heating (D34) 11
Effective loft insulation (C32) 10
At least six kitchen sockets (D39) 8
Safe Common Front and Rear Doors (E55) 8
2 elements 42 6% 18%
3 or more elements 21 3% 9%
Subtotal: dwellings failing the SHQS 232 100%
All social sector dwellings 656 100%
Sample size 733

294. Table 56 shows the distribution of social sector dwellings by the number of elements failed. Almost three quarters (73%) 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, full and efficient central heating, effective loft insulation, at least six kitchen sockets, and safe common front and rear doors.

6.2.2.4 SHQS Compliance and Cavity Wall Insulation

295. 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[65] reported that 94% of social homes met the SHQS in 2018/19.

296. 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.

297. 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.

298. 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 57). 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 57: 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, 2017 and 2018

Dwellings Failing the Energy Efficient Criterion Dwellings Failing the SHQS Overall
000s % 000s %
2018 inc. CWI element 172 26% 233 36%
exc. CWI element 71 11% 149 23%
Difference -101 -15 pts -84 -13 pts
2017 inc. CWI element 160 26% 234 37%
exc. CWI element 70 11% 154 25%
Difference -90 -14 pts -80 -13 pts

299. In 2018, around one sixth of social dwellings (17% or 113,000 dwellings) are recorded as failing the CWI element of the SHQS. Excluding this element from the compliance requirement leads to a 15 percentage point reduction in the energy efficiency element failure rate and a 13 percentage point reduction in overall SHQS failure. This amounts to around 84,000 fewer social sector dwellings failing the SHQS and an overall SHQS failure rate of 23%.

6.3 Overcrowding and Under-Occupancy

Key Points

  • In 2018 around 53,000 households lived in overcrowded accommodation (2%) under the bedroom standard.
  • Around 918,000 (37%) households had one bedroom in excess of the minimum requirement under the bedroom standard. A further 804,000 (32%) 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 (53% compared to 19% 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 (1%).

300. 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[66] taking into account the number of bedrooms available in the dwelling and the type of household that occupies it.

301. 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 7.11.9.

302. A minor error in how bedrooms were calculated in previous years is corrected here. The impact on headline rates is less than a percentage point change. Please see the technical notes section 7.11.9 for further information.

303. Figure 32 and Table 58 show how headline occupancy measures have changed over time. There was no significant change in these headline measures between 2017 and 2018. In 2018, the national rate of households with at least one bedroom above the minimum standard was 69%. The rate of overcrowding has stayed stable since 2012 (3%).

304. Subsequent sections examine in more detail differences across household and dwelling characteristics for 2018 and the preceding year.

Figure 32: Proportion of Dwellings which are Overcrowded, Meet the Minimum Standard, Exceed it by 1 Bedroom or Exceed by 2 or More Bedrooms, 2012-2018

Figure 32: Proportion of Dwellings which are Overcrowded, Meet the Minimum Standard, Exceed it by 1 Bedroom or Exceed by 2 or More Bedrooms, 2012-2018

Note: The SHS collects data on gender and not sex. Therefore the number of bedrooms required are allocated based on self-reported gender. In addition, from 2018 onwards the question on gender was non-binary and included two additional responses: ‘Identified in another way’ and ‘Refused’. Please see Annex 2 of the Scottish Household Survey Annual Report 2018 for further details.

Table 58: Dwellings which are Below The Standard, Meet The Minimum Requirement, or Exceed it by 1, 2 or + Bedrooms, 2012, 2017, 2018

Bedroom Standard 2018 2017 2012
000s % 000s % 000s %
Below Standard 53 2% 61 2% 62 3%
Compliance: minimum requirements 703 28% 749 30% 718 30%
Above Standard 1721 69% 1654 67% 1607 67%
1 bedroom above minimum 918 37% 885 36% 900 38%
2+ bedrooms above minimum 804 32% 769 31% 706 30%
2 bedrooms above minimum 573 23% 520 21% 514 22%
3 or more bedrooms above minimum 230 9% 249 10% 192 8%
Total 2,477 100% 2,464 100% 2,386 100%
Sample Size 2,964 3,002 2,787

6.3.1 Overcrowding

305. A dwelling is considered overcrowded if there are insufficient bedrooms to meet the occupants’ requirements under the bedroom standard definition (see section 7.11.9).

306. Around 2%, or 53,000 households, lived in overcrowded accommodation in 2018 (Table 59). Social sector dwellings (4%) were more likely to be overcrowded than private sector dwellings (1%).

307. Households who own their properties outright, or mortgaged, and who live in rural areas had below average national overcrowding rates. There were also lower rates than the national average for households living in detached and semi-detached dwellings.

Table 59: Overcrowding by Tenure and Housing Type, Dwelling Age Band, Income Band and Location, and Weekly Household Income, 2017 and 2018

Overcrowded under Bedroom Standard
2018 2017
000s % Sample 000s % Sample
Tenure
Owned 2 0% 1091 5 1% 1104
Mortgaged 7 1% 846 15 2% 797
LA 14 3% 459 19 5% 439
HA 14 6% 274 7 3% 289
PRS 15 6% 294 15 4% 373
Private 25 1% 2,231 35 2% 2,274
Social 28 4% 733 26 4% 728
Age of dwelling
pre-1919 10 2% 521 14 3% 512
1919-1944 8 3% 327 9 3% 369
1945-1964 13 3% 654 12 2% 684
1965-1982 9 2% 654 17 3% 647
post-1982 13 2% 808 8 1% 790
Dwelling Type
Detached 4 1% 807 6 1% 661
Semi-detached 4 1% 659 12 2% 619
Terraced 13 2% 633 12 2% 520
Tenement 22 4% 514 20 3% 378
Other flats 10 3% 351 12 4% 316
Weekly Household Income
< £200 3 1% 281 2 1% 316
£200-300 13 3% 480 7 2% 479
£300-400 8 2% 464 7 2% 446
£400-500 7 2% 344 13 4% 375
£500-700 8 2% 506 18 4% 543
£700+ 12 2% 830 11 2% 789
Location
urban 50 2% 2,292 55 3% 2,341
rural 3 1% 672 6 1% 661
Scotland 53 2% 2,964 61 2% 3,002

Note: A correction in how bedrooms are allocated is applied here, and the 2017 rates and household counts will not all match those in the 2017 Key Findings report. However, where differences are present, the midpoint changes by one percentage point or less.

6.3.2 Under-Occupancy

308. In 2018 around 918,000 (37%) had one additional bedroom above the minimum under the bedroom standard (Table 60). 804,000 (32%) households had two or more bedrooms in excess of the minimum standard.

309. Social sector tenants are more likely to live in accommodation which is at the level meeting the minimum requirements of the bedroom standard (Table 61; 53% compared to 19% 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: 9% have two or more additional rooms, compared to 41% of private sector households. This pattern is also true for just one bedroom in excess of minimum requirements (38% and 33% for private and social sectors respectively).

310. There are also differences within the private sector. Those dwellings which are owned outright (53%) or are mortgaged (38%) are more likely to have at least 2 additional rooms than those renting in the private sector (12%).

311. Higher income households (£700+ per week) are more likely to live in dwellings with additional bedrooms: 47% have two or more additional bedrooms.

312. Under-occupied dwellings are least common amongst dwellings built between 1919-1944 and 1945-1964, where 28% and 27% have two or more bedrooms in excess of the standard respectively, compared to post-1982 where the rate is 39%. Similarly, detached houses have the highest rates of under-occupancy compared to other building types: 71% with two or more additional bedrooms.

313. Under-occupation is more common in rural areas. 48% of rural dwellings have two or more bedrooms in excess of the minimum requirements under the bedroom standard, compared to 29% for urban properties.

314. Changes from 2017 on the measures shown in Table 60 and Table 61 are mostly within the margin of error for this survey. Changes include a 5 percentage point increase in the proportion of HA dwellings which have two or more bedrooms in excess of the minimum standards. This has likely driven the overall social sector under occupancy rate for two or more bedrooms by four percentage points. Semi-detached dwelling under occupancy (in excess of one bedroom) rates increased eight percentage points, with a corresponding two percentage drop in the below bedroom standard rate.

Table 60: Above Minimum Standard, by Tenure, Dwelling Age, Type and Location, and Weekly Household Income, 2017 and 2018

2018 2017
2+
additional
1
additional
Sample 2+
additional
1
additional
Sample
000s % 000s % 000s % 000s %
Tenure
Owned 446 53% 306 36% 1091 445 54% 287 35% 1104
Mortgaged 267 38% 289 41% 846 246 37% 246 37% 797
LA 39 10% 141 35% 459 27 7% 131 35% 439
HA/co-op 19 8% 79 32% 274 7 3% 89 35% 289
PRS 32 12% 103 38% 294 44 13% 133 38% 373
Private 745 41% 698 38% 2,231 735 40% 666 36% 2,274
Social 59 9% 220 33% 733 34 5% 219 35% 728
Age of dwelling
pre-1919 142 30% 166 35% 521 154 33% 144 31% 512
1919-1944 79 28% 124 44% 327 70 24% 143 49% 369
1945-1964 143 27% 217 41% 654 130 24% 234 43% 684
1965-1982 183 35% 185 35% 654 178 35% 153 30% 647
post-1982 257 39% 226 34% 808 237 37% 212 33% 790
Dwelling Type
Detached 391 71% 122 22% 807 397 72% 122 22% 824
Semi 175 35% 223 44% 659 183 38% 176 37% 661
Terraced 160 30% 210 39% 633 133 25% 222 41% 619
Tenement 36 6% 222 39% 514 25 4% 213 37% 520
Other flats 42 13% 140 45% 351 30 10% 153 49% 378
Weekly Household Income
< £200 58 23% 103 41% 281 54 21% 94 37% 316
£200-300 100 24% 152 36% 480 83 21% 143 36% 479
£300-400 106 27% 134 34% 464 98 26% 139 37% 446
£400-500 80 27% 124 42% 344 77 24% 121 38% 375
£500-700 142 34% 150 37% 506 152 34% 169 38% 543
£700+ 308 47% 231 35% 830 291 46% 205 33% 789
Urban-rural indicator
urban 606 29% 771 37% 2,292 568 28% 757 37% 2,341
rural 197 48% 147 35% 672 201 49% 128 31% 661
Scotland 804 32% 918 37% 2,964 769 31% 885 36% 3,002

Note: A correction in how bedrooms are allocated is applied here, and the 2017 rates and household counts will not all match those in the 2017 Key Findings report. However, where differences are present, the midpoint changes by one percentage point or less

Table 61: Households Meeting the Minimum Bedroom Standard, by Tenure, Dwelling Age, Type and Location, and Weekly Household Income 2017 and 2018

2018 2017
000s % Sample 000s % Sample
Tenure
Owned 92 11% 1,091 90 11% 1104
Mortgaged 138 20% 846 157 24% 797
LA 213 52% 459 198 53% 439
HA 136 55% 274 149 59% 289
PRS 123 45% 294 155 45% 373
Private 353 19% 2,231 402 22% 2,274
Social 350 53% 733 347 55% 728
Age of dwelling
pre-1919 153 32% 521 155 33% 512
1919-1944 70 25% 327 70 24% 369
1945-1964 157 30% 654 168 31% 684
1965-1982 152 29% 654 167 32% 647
post-1982 171 26% 808 189 29% 790
Dwelling Type
Detached 35 6% 807 29 5% 824
Semi-detached 102 20% 659 111 23% 661
Terraced 149 28% 633 168 31% 619
Tenement 296 51% 514 326 56% 520
Other flats 121 39% 351 116 37% 378
Weekly Household Income
< £200 86 34% 281 104 41% 316
£200-300 153 37% 480 164 41% 479
£300-400 143 36% 464 129 34% 446
£400-500 85 29% 344 107 34% 375
£500-700 111 27% 506 108 24% 543
£700+ 109 16% 830 120 19% 789
Location
urban 636 31% 2,292 675 33% 2,341
rural 67 16% 672 74 18% 661
Scotland 703 28% 2,964 749 30% 3,002

Note: A correction in how bedrooms are allocated is applied here, and the 2017 rates and household counts will not all match those in the 2017 Key Findings report. However, where differences are present, the midpoint changes by one percentage point or less


Contact

Email: ScottishHouseConditionSurvey@gov.scot