Scottish House Condition Survey: 2022 Key Findings

Figures from the 2022 survey, including updated fuel poverty rates, energy efficiency ratings, the condition of housing and the Scottish Housing Quality Standard.

1. Introduction

The statistics in this report are based on a national survey of the housing stock, the only one of its kind in Scotland, which is part of the Scottish Household Survey (SHS). Until 2011 it was carried out as a stand-alone survey, under the name the Scottish House Condition Survey (SHCS). Following the review of the large-scale Scottish population surveys, the SHCS was incorporated within the SHS in 2012 and became one of its modules. We continue to report the results from this module of the SHS under the name the SHCS. 

The SHCS consists of an interview with householders and a physical inspection of the dwelling they occupy, which provides a picture of Scotland's occupied housing stock. It covers all types of households and dwellings across the country - whether owned or rented, flats or houses. The physical data about the dwelling is recorded by surveyors trained to collect detailed information on housing characteristics. This is combined with information about the household collected through the (usually) face-to-face social interview, covering a range of topics such as household characteristics, tenure, neighbourhood satisfaction, dwelling satisfaction, health status and income. The result is a unique and powerful data set for examining the condition and characteristics of Scotland's housing stock alongside the views and experience of the people living in those dwellings. 

This is the eighteenth 'Key Findings' report since the SHCS changed to a continuous format in 2003 and the tenth since it was integrated within the SHS in 2012. (Note that the 2020 SHCS could not be completed due to Covid-19 restrictions.) As well as the first report since 2019 to be published as Accredited Official Statistics.  

Details on the methodology and design of the survey are provided in the Scottish Household Survey Methodology and Fieldwork Outcomes reports. The incorporation of the SHCS within the SHS in 2012 introduced some discontinuities in the methodology of the survey and may contribute to some observed change over time. 

In 2022 there were 2,983 surveyed properties. Statistics published in this report are based on fieldwork undertaken mostly during 2022. Household interviews took place between March 2022 and March 2023 with 19% of the interviews taking place in the first quarter of 2023. Physical surveys took place between April 2022 and March 2023 with 30% of the surveys taking place in the first quarter of 2023. 

In 2009, the SHCS was designated as a National Statistics product by the UK Statistics Authority (UKSA) and in October 2020, following a compliance check by the Office for Statistics Regulation (OSR), it was confirmed that these statistics should continue to be designated as National Statistics. This demonstrates that the SHCS statistics are accurate, trustworthy, and compliant with the high standards required of National Statistics.  

Due to Covid-19 restrictions the 2020 SHS and the 2021 SHS were undertaken using a push to telephone/video approach. It was not possible to resume the 2020 SHCS but the 2021 SHCS was undertaken using an external+ approach. For further details see the section on external+ data quality in the 2021 report. 

However, due to the change in approach for the 2021 SHCS, its results are not directly comparable with the National Statistics from previous waves of the survey. 

As such, in 2021 we agreed with the OSR (see the letters between the OSR’s Director General for Regulation and the Scottish Government’s Chief Statistician) that the key findings should be published as Experimental Statistics representing a snapshot of the key attributes, energy efficiency and condition of the housing stock and fuel poverty levels in 2021. As such the results for 2021 should not be compared with those for previous or future years. 

As the 2022 survey returned to its typical methodology of in-home surveying in March the statistics from the SHCS were independently reviewed by the Office for Statistics Regulation in February 2024. Through this review it was determined that they comply with the standards of trustworthiness, quality and value in the Code of Practice for Statistics and should return to being labelled ‘Accredited Official Statistics’ 

Past methodological changes are described in each year's key findings report and associated methodology notes and, where relevant, in individual sections of this report. We always seek to improve and keep our methods and processes up to date and there may therefore be small changes to elements of data processing which do not impact significantly on the results. Details are provided in the respective technical sections. 

The main change for 2022 is to the information presented relating to disrepair in section 5. The Tolerable Standard was amended by the Housing (Scotland) Act 1987 (Tolerable Standard) (Extension of Criteria) Order 2019 and now includes a new element covering smoke, heat, and carbon monoxide alarms. For the first time, in SHCS 2022 assessors considered the presence, type and condition of smoke, heat, and carbon monoxide alarms in a house when deciding if the house meets the Tolerable Standard. Additionally, for the first time the SHCS includes the presence of mould in a property.  

Differences across characteristics are only highlighted in the commentary of this report if they are statistically significant. Values will be described as 'similar' if they are not significantly different. On occasion we also explicitly note that a difference is not statistically significant, particularly if it might appear large to the reader. This can occur if the statistic is based on a small sample size. Please see the Methodological and Technical note for further details on confidence intervals, design effects and statistical significance. 

Scottish House Condition Survey results for 2022 have been assessed to be comparable in the most part to 2019 and earlier years. However, the 2022 results for percentages of households in each tenure should be treated with caution, as there is evidence to suggest that social rented, and private rented households may be under-represented in the 2022 achieved sample while owner occupiers are overrepresented. See section 1.1.4 in the Methodological and Technical note for details of SHCS weighting and section 1.1.5 in the Methodological and Technical note for a comparison to Previous SHCS Waves. In general, these differences are unlikely to have a significant impact on the reported results. For those results where an impact is more likely, this is highlighted in the relevant chapter and as notes to the relevant data tables. 

The remainder of this report covers the following topics: 

Key Attributes of the Scottish Housing Stock: this chapter describes key dwelling characteristics such as dwelling type, age of construction, main heating fuel and the characteristics of the households that occupy them. 

Energy Efficiency: this chapter presents an analysis of the energy efficiency of the housing stock including presence and level of insulation. 

Fuel Poverty: this chapter presents an analysis of the characteristics of households in fuel poverty and extreme fuel poverty. It also examines the drivers of fuel poverty and how they have changed over time. 

Energy Perceptions: this chapter examines the householder’s self-reported experience and satisfaction with their heating system and the extent to which they monitor their use of energy. This is analysed by the fuel poverty status of the household. 

Housing Conditions: this part of the report provides information on the number of dwellings with urgent disrepair to critical elements and the external critical elements with disrepair. It also covers overcrowding and under-occupation, as defined by the bedroom standard. As well as statutory housing standards including the Tolerable Standard, the Scottish Housing Quality Standard (SHQS) 

Bedroom Standard: this chapter examines the measures of whether households are living in overcrowded or under-occupied conditions. It also examines the householder’s views on the number of rooms in their accommodation. 

Methodological and Technical notes: the final part of the report is available in a separate document and provides information about the content of the survey and the definition of some of the key concepts used. Discussion on the statistical reliability of the estimates is also included.

While the key findings report it usually accompanied by the later release of Local Authority level analysis, the lack of SHCS data for 2020 and the enforced changes for 2021 cause issues with the production of this, as they require three consecutive years of survey data to be combined to provide a three-year average. 

For the 2022 SHCS we cannot take the usual approach for two reasons. Firstly, there is no SHCS data for 2020 so we cannot produce a three-year average for 2020 to 2022. Secondly, the data from the 2021 external+ SHCS is not directly comparable with that for earlier years due to the methodological differences and it would not be appropriate to combine it with the data for 2019 (or earlier) to produce a multi-year average. Therefore, we will not be using the 2021 external+ SHCS to produce local authority estimates. 

 Due to this we won’t be able to return to the usual approach for producing local authority estimates from the SHCS until the 2024 wave of the SHCS has completed. We will then be able to produce local authority estimates from the SHCS based on a three-year average for 2022 to 2024. We expect these estimates to be published in early 2026.


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