Publication - Statistics

Scottish house condition survey: 2019 key findings

Published: 1 Dec 2020
Directorate:
Housing and Social Justice Directorate
Part of:
Housing
ISBN:
9781800043527

Figures from the 2019 survey, including updated fuel poverty rates, energy efficiency ratings, the condition of housing and the Scottish Housing Quality Standard.

Scottish house condition survey: 2019 key findings
6 Housing Conditions

6 Housing Conditions

6.1 Disrepair

Key Points

  • Disrepair to critical elements, central to weather-tightness, structural stability and preventing deterioration of the property, stood at 52% in 2019. Less than half of these (19% of all dwellings) required urgent disrepair to critical elements and just 1% had extensive disrepair (covering at least a fifth of the element area) to critical elements.
  • Overall, this is an improvement of 5 percentage points on 2018, when 57% of dwellings had disrepair to critical elements, with 20% having critical elements in urgent need of repair and, again, just 1% having extensive disrepair to critical elements. The 2019 rate has returned to a level similar to 2017 (50%).
  • 18% of dwellings had disrepair only to non-critical elements, with 3% of dwellings requiring some urgent repair and 1% with extensive disrepair to non-critical elements, similar to 2018.
  • Levels of damp and condensation were similar to those seen in 2018: 91% of properties were free from any damp or condensation.

258. The SHCS measures disrepair for a wide range of different building elements ranging from aspects of roofs and walls to chimney stacks, internal rooms and common parts of shared buildings like access balconies and entry doors.

259. This is reported in two categories:

  • Critical elements. This refers to disrepair to building elements central to weather-tightness, structural stability and preventing deterioration of the property, such as roof coverings or the structure of external walls. These elements are listed in section 7.8.7.1.
  • Non-critical elements. This relates to any damage to a non-critical element (such as skirtings and internal wall finishes, staircases, boundary fences or attached garages) which requires some repair beyond routine maintenance.

260. Elements in both of the above categories can be assessed according to the severity of disrepair, as follows:

  • Urgent disrepair. This relates only to external and common elements[21] (a mixture of critical and non-critical). Urgent disrepair to these elements is recorded where immediate repair is required to prevent further deterioration to the building fabric or health and safety risks to occupants. Not all disrepair to critical elements is necessarily considered urgent by the surveyor. Internal room floor structures and floor finishes as well as internal walls and the presence of dry / wet rot are the only critical elements for which urgency is not applicable.
  • Extensive disrepair. Damage which covers at least a fifth (20%) or more of the building element area. This can apply to any element whether critical or otherwise.

Disrepair which is not to a critical element, is not urgent or extensive, is referred to as basic. This is the minimum category of disrepair in the survey.

261. More detailed description of the categories of disrepair is given in section 7.8.7.

262. It is fairly common for dwellings to display elements of disrepair in more than one category. The SHCS surveyor manual provides guidance for our surveyors on assessing the type and severity of disrepair for each element, for example:

  • A leaking tap in the bathroom (disrepair to a non-critical element).
  • A large section (covering over 20% of the area) of the render on an external wall has broken off but is not considered an urgent repair by the surveyor (extensive disrepair to a critical element).
  • A small area of guttering is damaged, causing rain water to pour down an external wall surface. This is marked as urgent by the surveyor as it is likely to lead to further damage and compromise the weather-proofing of the building in the short term (urgent disrepair to a critical element).

263. This is illustrated in Figure 30, which shows that 52% of dwellings had some disrepair to critical elements, of which: 27% had no instances of urgent or extensive disrepair; 21% had some urgent disrepair (which could be to critical or non-critical elements) but no extensive disrepair; 3% had some urgent and some extensive disrepair (to any element); and 2% had had some extensive disrepair (to any element) but no urgent disrepair.

Figure 30: Disrepair Categories, Proportions of Scotland's Housing Stock, 2019
Venn diagram showing disrepair categories as a proportion of households in 2019

Notes:

1. No disrepair, includes a very small number of cases where it was not possible to obtain the disrepair status of every element of the property. See the technical notes section 7.8.7 for further information.

2. Where categories overlap in the above figure, this means that the properties have instances of each type of disrepair. However, this may be to different elements. For example 21% of properties have disrepair to critical elements and urgent disrepair. This can include properties where disrepair to an element (e.g. guttering) is both critical and urgent as well as properties which have critical disrepair to one element (e.g. external wall finish) and urgent disrepair to another (e.g. flashings).

6.1.1 Rates of Disrepair

264. Table 49 provides details of rates of disrepair over time for dwellings with disrepair to critical elements and for dwellings with only disrepair to non-critical elements. In 2019, disrepair to critical elements stood at 52% of all dwellings. Less than half, 19% of all dwellings, had instances of urgent disrepair to these critical elements and only 1% of dwellings had extensive disrepair to one or more critical elements. These dwellings may also have other instances of disrepair (including urgent and extensive) to non-critical elements.

265. Overall, this is an improvement of 5 percentage points on 2018, when 57% of dwellings had disrepair to critical elements, with 20% having critical elements in urgent need of repair and, again, just 1% having extensive disrepair to critical elements. The 2019 rate has returned to a level similar to 2017 (50%).

266. 18% of dwellings had disrepair only to non-critical elements, with 3% of dwellings requiring some urgent repair and 1% with extensive disrepair to non-critical elements, similar to 2018.

267. Urgent and extensive repair can apply to both critical and non-critical elements. Table 50 shows the rates of this type of disrepair regardless of element type. 27% of properties had some instances of urgent disrepair improving on 30% in 2018 and down from 39% in 2012. In 6% of the housing stock some extensive disrepair was present, similar to 2018 but improving from 9% in 2012.

Table 49: Disrepair to Critical Elements and Non-Critical Elements, 2012-2019
Year Critical Elements Only Disrepair to Non-Critical Elements Sample size
Disrepair Urgent disrepair to critical elements Extensive disrepair to critical elements Disrepair Urgent Extensive
2019 52% 19% 1% 18% 3% 1% 2,997
2018 57% 20% 1% 18% 3% 1% 2,964
2017 50% N/A N/A 18% 4% 1% 3,002
2016 48% N/A N/A 20% 4% 1% 2,850
2015 52% N/A N/A 21% 5% 1% 2,754
2014 53% N/A N/A 20% 4% 1% 2,682
2013 57% N/A N/A 20% 4% 1% 2,725
2012 61% N/A N/A 20% 4% 1% 2,787

Notes:

1. For a very small number of cases it was not possible to obtain the disrepair status of every element of the property. Where that element feeds into one of the disrepair categories the result is recorded as unobtainable.

2. Urgent disrepair concerns only external and common elements which are a mixture of critical and non-critical. Urgent disrepair to critical elements and extensive disrepair to critical elements have been calculated for the first time in 2019 and back updated for 2018 to allow a comparison. Back updating to previous years is complex and work will be taken forward to ensure that a longer trend can be presented in the next report.

3. Dwellings which have disrepair to critical elements may also have instances of disrepair to non-critical elements. Similarly, dwellings which have urgent or extensive disrepair to critical elements may also have urgent or extensive disrepair to non-critical elements which is not captured in this table. Table 50 provides rates of urgent and extensive disrepair regardless of element type.

See the technical notes for further information.

Table 50: Rates of Disrepair, 2012-2019
Year Disrepair to Critical Elements Any Urgent Disrepair Any Extensive Disrepair Sample size
2019 52% 27% 6% 2,997
2018 57% 30% 6% 2,964
2017 50% 28% 5% 3,002
2016 48% 28% 6% 2,850
2015 52% 33% 8% 2,754
2014 53% 32% 7% 2,682
2013 57% 36% 7% 2,725
2012 61% 39% 9% 2,787

Note: 1. For a very small number of cases it was not possible to obtain the disrepair status of every element of the property. Where that element feeds into one of the disrepair categories the result is recorded as unobtainable. See the technical notes for further information.

6.1.2 Disrepair to Critical Elements

268. This section examines in more detail disrepair to critical elements (affecting 52% of dwellings in 2019) and its prevalence across tenure, dwelling age band and location.

269. As shown above in Figure 30 and in Table 51, in some of those dwellings with disrepair to critical elements there was also some urgent disrepair (not necessarily to the same elements), accounting for 24% of the housing stock. This represents a reduction from 26% in 2018.

270. In 3% of the housing stock, in addition to the presence of disrepair to critical elements and urgent disrepair, some disrepair in the property was assessed as extensive, similar to the rate in 2018.

6.1.2.1 Dwelling age and location

271. 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 pre-1919 have a rate of disrepair to critical elements of 71%. However, only 32% had any urgent disrepair to critical elements and only 2% had any extensive disrepair to critical elements. Rates of disrepair to critical elements fall to 48% (15% urgent disrepair to critical elements and 1% extensive disrepair to critical elements) for those built in the period 1965-1982 while those built after 1982 have a rate two-thirds that level again at 31% (9% urgent disrepair to critical elements and no instances in the sample of extensive disrepair to critical elements). This is also evident where instances of disrepair to critical elements co-exist with urgent disrepair to any element, a pattern which has remained unchanged since 2018.

272. In 2019, rates of disrepair were similar between urban and rural areas for all categories shown. This reflects improvements for urban areas in rates of disrepair to critical elements (6 percentage point reduction) and rates of both disrepair to critical elements and urgent disrepair to any elements (3 percentage point reduction) between 2018 and 2019 while rates for rural areas have remained similar.

273. The above figures consider the presence of critical, urgent and extensive disrepair within a dwelling. However, these need not apply to the same elements. Table 51 also provides some further breakdowns for those dwellings which have urgent disrepair or extensive disrepair to one or more critical elements. Urgent disrepair to critical elements follows a similar pattern by age and location as described above. However, rates of extensive disrepair to critical elements are very small and therefore similar across all age and location categories.

Table 51: Disrepair to Critical Elements, Urgent and Extensive Disrepair by Dwelling Age and Location, 2018 and 2019
Age of dwelling Location Scotland
pre-1919 1919-1944 1945-1964 1965-1982 post 1982 Urban Rural
Dwellings with any disrepair to critical elements
2019 71% 64% 59% 48% 31% 52% 53% 52%
2018 73% 73% 67% 52% 35% 57% 54% 57%
Dwellings with any disrepair to critical elements and any urgent disrepair
2019 36% 30% 30% 19% 11% 24% 21% 24%
2018 40% 35% 34% 21% 12% 27% 23% 26%
Dwellings with any disrepair to critical elements, any urgent and any extensive disrepair
2019 4% 4% 3% 4% 1% 3% 3% 3%
2018 7% 2% 5% 3% 1% 4% 4% 4%
Dwellings with urgent disrepair to one or more critical elements
2019 32% 24% 22% 15% 9% 19% 18% 19%
2018 31% 26% 26% 15% 8% 20% 20% 20%
Dwellings with extensive disrepair to one or more critical elements
2019 2% 1% 2% 1% - 1% 1% 1%
2018 3% * 1% 1% 1% 1% 3% 1%
Sample sizes
2019 546 310 638 704 799 2,280 717 2,997
2018 521 327 654 654 808 2,292 672 2,964

Notes:

1. For a very small number of cases it was not possible to obtain the disrepair status of every element of the property. Where that element feeds into one of the disrepair categories the result is recorded as unobtainable.

2. Urgent disrepair concerns only external and common elements which are a mixture of critical and non-critical. Urgent disrepair to critical elements and extensive disrepair to critical elements have been calculated for the first time in 2019 and back updated for 2018 to allow a comparison.

See the technical notes for further information.

6.1.2.2 Tenure

274. Levels of disrepair to critical elements are lower for the private sector (50%) than the social housing sector (58%) considered as a whole. This is driven by a reduction, since 2018, in the private sector, from 57% to 50%.

275. Private sector dwellings have also seen a decrease in dwellings with some disrepair to critical elements as well as some urgent disrepair to any elements (27% to 24%) and in 2019 have the same rate as the social sector. A small proportion (3% in the private and 3% in the social sector) also have instances of extensive disrepair in addition to critical and urgent.

276. Housing association dwellings tend to have amongst the lowest levels of disrepair in the categories covered by Table 52 in 2019. However, in 2019, owner occupied dwellings (47%) have a similar level of disrepair to critical elements as housing association dwellings (48%). This follows a decrease from 54% in 2018 for the owner occupied sector. Local authority and private rented sector properties have the highest levels of disrepair in these categories, for example having disrepair to critical elements in 66% and 65% of dwellings respectively.

277. The private rented sector has seen a decrease in dwellings with instances of disrepair to critical elements, urgent disrepair to any elements and extensive disrepair to any elements from 9% in 2018 to 4% in 2019.

Table 52: Disrepair to Critical Elements, Urgent and Extensive Disrepair by Tenure Group, 2018 and 2019
Tenure
Owner occupied LA/Other Public HA/Co-op Private rented Private Sector Social Sector Scotland
Dwellings with any disrepair to Critical elements
2019 47% 66% 48% 65% 50% 58% 52%
2018 54% 63% 46% 72% 57% 57% 57%
Dwellings with any disrepair to Critical elements and any Urgent disrepair
2019 21% 31% 14% 36% 24% 24% 24%
2018 24% 31% 17% 39% 27% 26% 26%
Dwellings with any disrepair to critical elements, any Urgent any Extensive disrepair
2019 3% 4% 1% 4% 3% 3% 3%
2018 3% 3% 2% 9% 4% 3% 4%
Dwellings with urgent disrepair to one or more critical elements
2019 16% 25% 12% 30% 19% 20% 19%
2018 18% 25% 11% 29% 20% 20% 20%
Dwellings with extensive disrepair to one or more critical elements
2019 1% 2% 2% 1% 1% 2% 1%
2018 1% 1% * 2% 1% 1% 1%
Sample sizes
2019 1,965 425 290 317 2,282 715 2,997
2018 1,937 459 274 294 2,231 733 2,964

Notes:

1. For a very small number of cases it was not possible to obtain the disrepair status of every element of the property. Where that element feeds into one of the disrepair categories the result is recorded as unobtainable.

2. Urgent disrepair concerns only external and common elements which are a mixture of critical and non-critical. Urgent disrepair to critical elements and extensive disrepair to critical elements have been calculated for the first time in 2019 and back updated for 2018 to allow a comparison.

See the technical notes for further information.

6.1.2.3 Type of Disrepair to Critical Elements

278. 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 (median) 2.5% of the relevant area. A full list of elements in this category is provided in section 7.8.7.1 along with details of how the extent of disrepair is recorded in the survey for each and how an average extent is calculated.

279. Wall finish, gutters / downpipes and roof coverings are often affected. Around 28% of dwellings had some disrepair to wall finish, 19% had some disrepair to gutters / downpipes and 18% had some disrepair to roof coverings; however, in all three cases the average (median) disrepair covered around 2.5% of the area. 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.

280. Around a quarter (26%) 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
Image showing the number of households affected by, and median extent of, disrepair to external critical elements in 2019

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

6.1.3 Damp and Condensation

281. The definitions of damp and condensation are provided in section 7.8.8.

282. 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.

283. The incidence of these defects in isolation and together is given in Table 53. Around 91% of all dwellings in 2019 were free from any form of condensation or damp. This rate has been stable in recent years but represents an overall improvement from 86% in 2012.

284. In 2019, 2.0% of the housing stock (around 49,000 dwellings) suffered from some degree of penetrating damp, which is similar to 2018 levels. The presence of penetrating damp has fluctuated between 2.0% and 3.7% across the past 8 years of the survey.

285. 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%.

286. Condensation was observed in 7.7% of the surveyed stock (equivalent to around 192,000 dwellings) which is similar to recent years, although represents a reduction from 11.3% in 2012.

287. In 0.7% of dwellings (18,000) both condensation and some form of damp were recorded. This level has not changed significantly in the previous eight years.

Table 53: Presence of Damp and/or Condensation in 2012-2019
Defect 2019 2018 2017 2012
000s % 000s % 000s % 000s %
No Damp or Condensation 2,268 90.9% 2,209 89.2% 2,236 90.8% 2,056 86.2%
Condensation 192 7.7% 220 8.9% 185 7.5% 270 11.3%
Penetrating damp 49 2.0% 69 2.8% 58 2.3% 86 3.6%
Rising damp 10 0.4% 10 0.4% 6 0.2% 7 0.3%
Rising and / or penetrating damp 54 2.2% 73 3.0% 60 2.4% 90 3.8%
Condensation and any damp 18 0.7% 26 1.0% 19 0.8% 29 1.2%
Total 2,496 2,477 2,464 2,386
Sample 2,997 2,964 3,002 2,787

6.2 Housing Quality Standards

Key Points

  • 2% (or 40,000) of all dwellings fell below the Tolerable Standard in 2019, similar to 2018. 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 41%, not allowing for abeyances and exemptions, which is similar to 2018. This has fallen from 60% in 2010. Failures of the Energy Efficient criterion were the biggest driver of failures overall. In 2019, 31% 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 Energy Efficient criterion failure rate in the social sector would be 14% if it is assumed that all social dwellings have insulated cavity walls where this is technically feasible. This in turn would lower the overall SHQS failure rate in the social sector to 28%.
  • The failure rate in the private sector overall is similar to that seen in 2018 (44%, compared to 43%) and is also driven by failures of the Energy Efficient criterion. 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 and overall.
  • For 69% of social homes failing the SHQS this was due to falling short on just 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.

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

  • The Tolerable Standard. A "condemnatory" standard which means that 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 7.8.10.
  • The Scottish Housing Quality Standard (SHQS). This was introduced in February 2004 and 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). For more information on the SHQS see section 7.8.11.

6.2.1 Tolerable Standard

289. 2% of all dwellings (around 40,000) fell below the tolerable standard in 2019, similar to 2018. However there is a longer term trend of improvement and 2019 levels represent a drop of 2 percentage points since 2012.

290. The share of dwellings below tolerable standard in the private sectors was 2% and in the social sector was 1%, both similar to 2018. The proportion of owner occupied dwellings failing the tolerable standard has reduced from 4% in 2012 to 1% in 2019.

291. The rate for the PRS in 2019 was 3% and has remained broadly at the same level for the last eight 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 onwards, and there remains no significant difference in levels of compliance.

292. The proportion of pre-1919 dwellings below tolerable standard was 4% in 2019, also similar to 2018 but 4 percentage points lower than in 2012. Very few recently built dwellings (post 1965) were below tolerable standard compared to pre-1919 dwellings, at less than 1% in 2019.

293. The tolerable standard consists of 12 criteria (listed in section 7.8.10), failure on one of which leads to a failure overall. Dwellings which failed the tolerable standard in 2019 most commonly did so because they were:

  • not free from rising/penetrating damp (13,000 or 33% of BTS dwellings);
  • not satisfactorily insulated (8,000 or 21% of BTS dwellings);
  • had unsatisfactory provision for lighting, ventilation or heating (8,000 or 21% of BTS dwellings).
Table 54: Dwellings Below Tolerable Standard ( BTS) by Tenure and Age Band, 2019 and 2012
Below Tolerable Standard % BTS (2012)
% 000s % of BTS Stock Sample
Whole Stock 2% 40 100% 2,997 4%
Tenure Owner-occupied 1% 23 57% 1,965 4%
Private-rented 3% 9 22% 317 4%
Subtotal: Private 2% 31 78% 2,282 4%
Social 1% 9 22% 715 3%
Age of Dwelling Pre-1919 4% 21 53% 546 9%
1919-1944 3% 7 17% 310 4%
1945-1964 1% 7 17% 638 2%
Post-1965 0% 5 12% 1,503 2%

6.2.2 Scottish Housing Quality Standard (SHQS)

294. 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). In the SHCS 54 of the 55 individual elements are 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.[22] The data collected is subsequently aggregated by Scottish Government analysts into higher level measures for each of the 5 criteria and the standard overall.

295. A minor error was found in the SHQS energy efficient data for 2018 which has been addressed in this publication. This reduces the 2018 energy efficient failure rate by 0.4 percentage points and the overall failure rate by 0.4 percentage points. The energy efficiency criterion failure rate for 2018 is therefore similar to 2017 rather than a statistically significant increase as reported previously. For more information see section 7.7.

296. Table 55 shows the overall results for the Scottish housing stock, covering the period 2010 to 2019. In 2019, 43% of all dwellings failed to meet the SHQS, which is similar to recent years. However, it is down from 47% in 2014 and 61% in 2010. As in previous years, the highest failure rate was with respect to the Energy Efficient criterion (32%), followed by Healthy, Safe and Secure (12%) and Modern Facilities (7%). There were a small number of dwellings which did not meet the BTS criterion (2%) or the Serious Disrepair criterion (0.1%). There are no statistically significant changes between 2018 and 2019 on any of the criteria.

Table 55: Proportion of Dwellings Failing SHQS and Individual Criteria 2010-2019
2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2010
SHQS* 42.9% 41.1% 40.3% 44.7% 45.4% 47.5% 61.0%
BTS 1.6% 2.0% 1.0% 1.6% 1.7% 2.0% 3.6%
Serious Disrepair 0.1% 0.1% 0.1% * 0.1% 0.1% 0.8%
Energy Efficient* 31.8% 29.9% 29.7% 32.8% 33.7% 34.8% 49.2%
Modern Facilities 6.5% 6.0% 7.4% 8.6% 8.8% 11.1% 15.6%
Healthy, Safe and Secure 12.2% 12.6% 10.4% 12.4% 13.4% 13.8% 16.6%

Notes:

1. Figures for 2014-2019 are not fully comparable to previous years.

2. A minor error was found in the SHQS energy efficient data for 2018 which has been addressed in this publication.

For details see Technical Notes and Definitions.

6.2.2.1 Compliance with SHQS by Tenure, Dwelling Age and Location

297. Table 56 shows the number and proportion of properties failing the SHQS by selected characteristics.

298. The lowest failure rates are in the newest dwellings (post-1982, 17% fail) and in Housing Associations stock (32% 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.

299. The overall SHQS failure rate for social sector housing in 2019 stood at 41%, similar to 2018 (35%) and to the private sector at 44%. 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 28% (see section 6.2.2.4). SHCS based measures do not make an allowance for abeyances and exemptions.

300. The overall similarity in the SHQS failure rate in the past year is reflected across the dwelling types, tenures and locations detailed in Table 56.

Table 56: Number and Proportion of Dwellings Failing SHQS, 2018 and 2019
2019 2018
000s % fail Sample 000s % fail Sample
All Scotland 1,070 43% 2,997 1,017 41% 2,964
Tenure
Owned outright 384 44% 1,159 367 43% 1,091
Mortgaged 265 40% 806 266 38% 846
LA 172 47% 425 167 41% 459
HA/co-op 86 32% 290 64 26% 274
PRS 163 52% 317 153 56% 294
Private 812 44% 2,282 786 43% 2,231
Social 258 41% 715 231 35% 733
Dwelling Age
pre-1919 256 53% 546 251 53% 521
1919-1944 151 55% 310 143 51% 327
1945-1964 277 53% 638 260 49% 654
1965-1982 269 49% 704 253 48% 654
post-1982 117 17% 799 110 17% 808
Location
Urban 860 42% 2,280 813 39% 2,292
Rural 209 49% 717 204 49% 672

Note: A minor error was found in the SHQS energy efficient data for 2018 which has been addressed in this publication. For details see Technical Notes and Definitions.

6.2.2.2 Individual SHQS Criteria

301. Table 57 shows the failure rates for each criterion of the SHQS for private and social sector housing since 2010. Whilst there has been a consistent trend of decreases between 2010 and 2017, since then SHQS failure rates have remained similar. The survey sample is not large enough to measure accurately year-on-year changes for each criterion and between 2018 and 2019 we see no significant changes in failure rates on any criterion by sector.

302. The SHCS estimates that 41% of social sector housing failed to meet the SHQS in 2019. This was predominantly due to the Energy Efficient criterion, where 31% of properties failed on this measure. 9% failed the Healthy, Safe and Secure criterion and 7% failed the Modern Facilities criterion. A small number (1%) failed the Below Tolerable Standard criterion.

Table 57: SHQS Criteria Failure Rates by Tenure, 2010-2019
2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2010
All tenures SHQS Overall 43% 41% 40% 45% 45% 47% 61%
Below Tolerable Standard 2% 2% 1% 2% 2% 2% 4%
Serious Disrepair 0% 0% 0% * 0% 0% 1%
Not Energy Efficient 32% 30% 30% 33% 34% 35% 49%
Lacking Modern Facilities/Services 7% 6% 7% 9% 9% 11% 16%
Not Healthy, Safe or Secure 12% 13% 10% 12% 13% 14% 17%
Private SHQS Overall 44% 43% 41% 47% 47% 48% 61%
Below Tolerable Standard 2% 2% 1% 2% 2% 2% 4%
Serious Disrepair 0% * 0% * 0% 0% 1%
Not Energy Efficient 32% 31% 31% 35% 36% 37% 51%
Lacking Modern Facilities/Services 6% 7% 7% 9% 9% 11% 13%
Not Healthy, Safe or Secure 13% 14% 11% 14% 14% 14% 17%
Social SHQS Overall 41% 35% 37% 38% 39% 45% 60%
Below Tolerable Standard 1% 2% 0% 1% 1% 1% 2%
Serious Disrepair - * - - - * *
Not Energy Efficient 31% 26% 26% 26% 27% 30% 44%
Lacking Modern Facilities/Services 7% 5% 7% 8% 8% 12% 22%
Not Healthy, Safe or Secure 9% 9% 7% 9% 10% 14% 16%

Notes:

1. Figures for 2014-2019 are not fully comparable to previous years.

2. A minor error was found in the SHQS energy efficient data for 2018 which has been addressed in this publication.

For details see Technical Notes and Definitions.

6.2.2.3 Number of Criteria and Elements Failing

303. 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.[23]

304. Table 58 and Table 59 present the distribution of dwellings for Scotland as a whole and social housing separately by number of criteria failed. The majority of failures in 2019 were due to a single criterion: 35% of dwellings in the whole stock and 34% of social sector dwellings failed the SHQS because of a single criterion.

305. This constitutes respectively 81% (for all housing) and 83% (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 although this has been more stable in recent years.

Table 58 : Number and Proportion of Dwellings by Numbers of SHQS Criteria Failures, All Housing, 2010, 2016-2019
Number of Criteria Failures 2019 2018 2017 2016 2010
000s Col % 000s Col % 000s Col % 000s Col % 000s Col %
None 1,426 57% 1,460 59% 1,470 60% 1,355 55% 920 39%
1 865 35% 806 33% 821 33% 867 35% 980 42%
2 178 7% 185 7% 143 6% 202 8% 352 15%
3+ 26 1% 26 1% 29 1% 28 1% 106 4%
Total Dwellings 2,496 100% 2,477 100% 2,464 100% 2,452 100% 2,357 100%
Criteria Fails as % of All assessed 10% 10% 10% 11% 17%
Sample size 2,997 2,964 3,002 2,850 3,115

Note: A minor error was found in the SHQS energy efficient data for 2018 which has been addressed in this publication. For details see Technical Notes and Definitions.

Table 59 : Number and Proportion of Dwellings by Numbers of SHQS Criteria Failures, Social Dwellings, 2010, 2016-2019
Number of Criteria Failures 2019 2018 2017 2016 2010
000s Col % 000s Col % 000s Col % 000s Col % 000s Col %
None 376 59% 425 65% 392 63% 385 62% 259 40%
1 214 34% 193 29% 217 35% 202 33% 262 41%
2 40 6% 34 5% * * 35 6% 98 15%
3+ 4 1% 4 1% * * - - 31 5%
Total Dwellings 634 100% 656 100% 626 100% 622 100% 650 100%
Criteria Fails as % of All Assessed 10% 8% 8% 9% 17%
Sample size 715 733 728 716 823

Note: A minor error was found in the SHQS energy efficient data for 2018 which has been addressed in this publication. For details see Technical Notes and Definitions.

Table 60: Number and Proportion of Social Sector Dwellings by Number of SHQS Element Failures, and Most Common Single-Element Failures, 2019
Number of Element Failures 000s % of All Dwellings % of Failing Dwellings
None 376 59%
1 element 177 28% 69%
… of which
Cavity wall insulation (C31) 81
Pipe and tank insulation (C33) 29
Full and efficient central heating (D34) 14
Effective loft insulation (C32) 12
At least six kitchen sockets (D39) 10
Safe Common Front and Rear Doors (E55) 9
2 elements 55 9% 21%
3 or more elements 27 4% 10%
Subtotal: dwellings failing the SHQS 258 100%
All social sector dwellings 634 100%
Sample size 715

306. Table 60 shows the distribution of social sector dwellings by the number of elements failed. 69% 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

307. 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 reported that 94% of social homes met the SHQS in 2019/20.

308. 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.

309. 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.

310. 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 61). 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 61: 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, 2018 and 2019
Dwellings Failing the Energy Efficient Criterion Dwellings Failing the SHQS Overall
000s % 000s %
2019 inc. CWI element 193 31% 258 41%
exc. CWI element 90 14% 176 28%
Difference -103 -16 pts -81 -13 pts
2018 inc. CWI element 170 26% 231 35%
exc. CWI element 68 10% 147 22%
Difference -102 -16 pts -84 -13 pts

311. In 2019, around one sixth of social dwellings (19% or 118,000 dwellings) are recorded as failing the CWI element of the SHQS. Excluding this element from the compliance requirement leads to a 16 percentage point reduction in the energy efficiency element failure rate and a 13 percentage point reduction in overall SHQS failure. This amounts to around 81,000 fewer social sector dwellings failing the SHQS and an overall SHQS failure rate of 28%.

6.3 Overcrowding and Under-Occupancy

Key Points

  • In 2019 around 51,000 households lived in overcrowded accommodation (2%) under the bedroom standard, which is similar to 2018.
  • Around 918,000 (37%) households had one bedroom in excess of the minimum requirement under the bedroom standard. A further 812,000 (33%) 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 20% in the private sector). Social sector tenants are also slightly more likely (3%) to live in accommodation which is overcrowded according to the bedroom standard than those households living in the private sector (2%).

312. 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 taking into account the number of bedrooms available in the dwelling and the type of household that occupies it.

313. 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 7.8.9.

314. Figure 32 and Table 62 show how headline occupancy measures have changed over time. There was no significant change in these headline measures between 2018 and 2019. In both years, the national rate of households with at least one bedroom above the minimum standard was 69%. The rate of overcrowding has remained within 2-3% since 2012 and is currently at 2% in 2019. However, there has been a small increase in the rate of dwellings with 3 or more bedrooms above the minimum from 8% in 2012 to 11% in 2019.

315. Subsequent sections examine in more detail differences across household and dwelling characteristics for 2019 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, 2012-2019
Bar chart showing proportion of households which are overcrowded, meet the minimum standard and exceed it from 2012 to 2019

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 62: Dwellings which are Below The Standard, Meet The Minimum Requirement, or Exceed it by 1, 2 or + Bedrooms, 2012, 2018, 2019
Bedroom Standard 2019 2018 2012
000s % 000s % 000s %
Below Standard 51 2% 53 2% 62 3%
Compliance: minimum requirements 714 29% 703 28% 718 30%
Above Standard 1,730 69% 1,721 69% 1,607 67%
1 bedroom above minimum 918 37% 918 37% 900 38%
2+ bedrooms above minimum 812 33% 804 32% 706 30%
2 bedrooms above minimum 549 22% 573 23% 514 22%
3 or more bedrooms above minimum 263 11% 230 9% 192 8%
Total 2,496 100% 2,477 100% 2,386 100%
Sample Size 2,997 2,964 2,787

6.3.1 Overcrowding

316. A dwelling is considered overcrowded if there are insufficient bedrooms to meet the occupants' requirements under the bedroom standard definition (see section 7.8.9).

Table 63: Overcrowding by Tenure and Housing Type, Dwelling Age Band, Income Band and Location, and Weekly Household Income, 2018 and 2019
Overcrowded under Bedroom Standard
2019 2018
000s % Sample 000s % Sample
Tenure
Owned 7 1% 1,159 2 0% 1091
Mortgaged 10 2% 806 7 1% 846
LA 8 2% 425 14 3% 459
HA 13 5% 290 14 6% 274
PRS 13 4% 317 15 6% 294
Private 31 2% 2,282 25 1% 2,231
Social 21 3% 715 28 4% 733
Age of dwelling
pre-1919 * * 546 10 2% 521
1919-1944 * * 310 8 3% 327
1945-1964 16 3% 638 13 3% 654
1965-1982 13 2% 704 9 2% 654
post-1982 11 2% 799 13 2% 808
Dwelling Type
Detached * * 852 4 1% 807
Semi-detached 10 2% 685 4 1% 659
Terraced 8 2% 589 13 2% 633
Tenement 24 4% 488 22 4% 514
Other flats * * 383 10 3% 351
Weekly Household Income
< £200 5 2% 272 3 1% 281
£200-300 7 2% 448 13 3% 480
£300-400 9 2% 491 8 2% 464
£400-500 7 2% 358 7 2% 344
£500-700 15 3% 530 8 2% 506
£700+ 8 1% 851 12 2% 830
Location
urban 48 2% 2,280 50 2% 2,292
rural 4 1% 717 3 1% 672
Scotland 51 2% 2,997 53 2% 2,964

317. Around 2%, or 51,000 households, lived in overcrowded accommodation in 2019 (Table 63). Social sector dwellings (3%) were more likely to be overcrowded than private sector dwellings (2%). Households who own their properties outright or live in rural areas had below average national overcrowding rates.

6.3.2 Under-Occupancy

318. In 2019 around 918,000 (37%) had one additional bedroom above the minimum under the bedroom standard (Table 64). 812,000 (33%) households had two or more bedrooms in excess of the minimum standard.

319. Social and private rented sector tenants are more likely to live in accommodation which is at the level meeting the minimum requirements of the bedroom standard (Table 65; 53% of the social sector and 43% in the PRS, compared to 10% for those who own outright and 23% for those with a mortgage). In contrast, households in the social housing and private rented sectors are less likely to have two or more bedrooms in excess of the minimum requirements: 10% (social) and 13% (PRS) have two or more additional rooms, compared to 55% of those who own out right and 34% of those with a mortgage. The proportion of households with one bedroom in excess of minimum requirements is similar across the tenures (38% and 34% for private and social sectors respectively).

320. Higher income households (£700+ per week) are more likely to live in dwellings with two or more additional bedrooms (43%) than the national average.

321. 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 37%. Similarly, detached houses have the highest rates of under-occupancy compared to other building types: 69% with two or more additional bedrooms. Tenements (6%) and other flats (11%) have the lowest rates with two or more additional bedrooms but are more likely to meet the minimum standard (52% and 41% respectively).

322. Under-occupation is more common in rural areas. 46% of rural dwellings have two or more bedrooms in excess of the minimum requirements under the bedroom standard, compared to 30% for urban properties. Conversely urban dwellings are more likely to meet the minimum standard (31%) than rural dwellings (19%).

Table 64: Above Minimum Standard, by Tenure, Dwelling Age, Type and Location, and Weekly Household Income, 2018 and 2019
2019 2018
2+ additional 1 additional Sample 2+ additional 1 additional Sample
000s % 000s % 000s % 000s %
Tenure
Owned 482 55% 302 34% 1159 446 53% 306 36% 1091
Mortgaged 228 34% 273 41% 806 267 38% 289 41% 846
LA 44 12% 125 34% 425 39 10% 141 35% 459
HA/co-op 19 7% 91 34% 290 19 8% 79 32% 274
PRS 39 13% 127 41% 317 32 12% 103 38% 294
Private 749 40% 702 38% 2,282 745 41% 698 38% 2,231
Social 63 10% 216 34% 715 59 9% 220 33% 733
Age of dwelling
pre-1919 162 34% 164 34% 546 142 30% 166 35% 521
1919-1944 76 28% 124 45% 310 79 28% 124 44% 327
1945-1964 142 27% 211 41% 638 143 27% 217 41% 654
1965-1982 180 33% 184 34% 704 183 35% 185 35% 654
post-1982 252 37% 235 35% 799 257 39% 226 34% 808
Dwelling Type
Detached 395 69% 140 24% 852 391 71% 122 22% 807
Semi 183 37% 201 41% 685 175 35% 223 44% 659
Terraced 164 31% 211 40% 589 160 30% 210 39% 633
Tenement 36 6% 225 38% 488 36 6% 222 39% 514
Other flats 35 11% 141 45% 383 42 13% 140 45% 351
Weekly Household Income
< £200 60 27% 81 35% 272 58 23% 103 41% 281
£200-300 87 23% 145 38% 448 100 24% 152 36% 480
£300-400 106 26% 155 38% 491 106 27% 134 34% 464
£400-500 89 30% 113 38% 358 80 27% 124 42% 344
£500-700 159 35% 161 36% 530 142 34% 150 37% 506
£700+ 294 43% 254 37% 851 308 47% 231 35% 830
Urban-rural indicator
urban 616 30% 774 37% 2,280 606 29% 771 37% 2,292
rural 196 46% 143 34% 717 197 48% 147 35% 672
Scotland 812 33% 918 37% 2,997 804 32% 918 37% 2,964
Table 65: Households Meeting the Minimum Bedroom Standard, by Tenure, Dwelling Age, Type and Location, and Weekly Household Income 2018 and 2019
2019 2018
000s % Sample 000s % Sample
Tenure
Owned 91 10% 1,159 92 11% 1,091
Mortgaged 156 23% 806 138 20% 846
LA 190 52% 425 213 52% 459
HA 144 54% 290 136 55% 274
PRS 133 43% 317 123 45% 294
Private 380 20% 2,282 353 19% 2,231
Social 334 53% 715 350 53% 733
Age of dwelling
pre-1919 144 30% 546 153 32% 521
1919-1944 71 26% 310 70 25% 327
1945-1964 149 29% 638 157 30% 654
1965-1982 172 31% 704 152 29% 654
post-1982 178 26% 799 171 26% 808
Dwelling Type
Detached 40 7% 852 35 6% 807
Semi-detached 101 20% 685 102 20% 659
Terraced 142 27% 589 149 28% 633
Tenement 302 52% 488 296 51% 514
Other flats 130 41% 383 121 39% 351
Weekly Household Income
< £200 81 36% 272 86 34% 281
£200-300 144 38% 448 153 37% 480
£300-400 133 33% 491 143 36% 464
£400-500 92 31% 358 85 29% 344
£500-700 116 26% 530 111 27% 506
£700+ 129 19% 851 109 16% 830
Location
urban 632 31% 2,280 636 31% 2,292
rural 82 19% 717 67 16% 672
Scotland 714 29% 2,997 703 28% 2,964

Contact

Email: ScottishHouseConditionSurvey@gov.scot