Publication - Statistics

Scottish House Condition Survey: Key Findings 2011

Published: 13 Dec 2012
ISBN:
9781782562924

The Scottish House Condition Survey (SHCS) combines both an interview with occupants and a physical inspection of dwellings to build up a picture of Scotland’s occupied housing stock. This is the eighth ‘Key Findings’ report since the SHCS changed to a continuous format in 2003.

Scottish House Condition Survey: Key Findings 2011
5 Housing Quality

5 Housing Quality

5.1 The Scottish Housing Quality Standard

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

120. The first is the tolerable standard which 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. The tolerable standard was redefined in the Housing (Scotland) Act 2006 and applies to all houses in Scotland. Local authorities have a statutory duty and specific powers to deal with houses that fall below the tolerable standard.

121. The second standard is the Scottish Housing Quality Standard (SHQS) which was announced by the Minister for Communities in February 2004[30]. A target was agreed that all social landlords must ensure that all their dwellings pass the SHQS by 2015. Private owners and private landlords are currently under no obligation to bring their properties up to a standard which meets the SHQS. However the same data is collected and reported for all dwellings to allow comparison across the housing stock.

122. The 2002 SHCS failure rate estimates were produced after the announcement[31]. The 2003/4 survey field work began in October 2003, before the final clarification of the SHQS in July 2004[32]. Thus, the 2002 and 2003/4 surveys did not gather all the data needed to fully assess dwellings against the SHQS. This was rectified for the 2004/5 survey and all later surveys including the 2011 survey.

123. The SHQS is an aggregation of the results from about 60 different programme modules aggregated into 5 higher-level classifications which in turn provide a single pass/fail classification for all dwellings. The 5 higher-level criteria are that the dwelling must be:

  • above the statutory tolerable standard;[33]
  • free from serious disrepair;
  • energy efficient;
  • with modern facilities and services;
  • healthy, safe and secure.

124. The tolerable standard definition was amended by the Housing (Scotland) Act 2006 to include additional criteria, covering thermal performance and electrical safety[34]. As the amendment was not implemented until April 2009, the results from the 2010 survey were the first year to be based on the amended standard. The change in definition caused the fail rate for the standard to increase from 0.7% in 2009 to 3.9% in 2010.

125. In 2011, 72,000 homes were found to be below tolerable standard (BTS), amounting to 3% of the housing stock (Table 30).

Table 30 Below Tolerable Standard Housing by Tenure and Age of Dwelling

Below Tolerable Standard Row Sample
000s Failure by Group % of BTS Stock
Tenure Owner-occupier 51 3.5% 71% 2050
LA/other public 5 1.5% 7% 464
HA/co-op 2 0.6% 2% 354
Private-rented 14 5.0% 20% 342
Age of Dwelling pre-1919 35 7.8% 49% 585
1919-1944 16 5.4% 23% 420
1945-1964 9 1.8% 13% 745
1965-1982 6 1.1% 9% 768
post 1982 5 0.9% 7% 692
Whole Stock 72 3.0% 100% 3210

Source: SHCS 2011

126. 5% of private rented dwellings fail the tolerable standard, the highest failure rate by sector. These 14,000 homes account for 20% of the BTS stock.

127. Around 8% of pre-1919 dwellings fail the tolerable standard; these account for almost half (49%) of the dwellings that fail.

Table 31 Scottish Housing Quality Standard 2008 - 2011 (000s and % failure)

Tenure SHQS Failure Survey Year
2008 2009 2010 2011
Owner-occupier Housholds (000s) 957 885 857 855
% 65 62 59 59
LA/other public Housholds (000s) 237 247 253 194
% 69 69 69 58
HA/co-op Housholds (000s) 146 141 140 118
% 51 52 53 45
Private-rented Housholds (000s) 153 157 157 181
% 72 64 67 65
Private Sector Housholds (000s) 1,109 1,042 1,014 1,037
% 66 62 60 60
Social Sector Housholds (000s) 383 388 393 313
% 61 62 62 52
All housing Housholds (000s) 1,493 1,429 1,407 1,349
% 64 62 61 58
Total 2,331 2,344 2,357 2,368
Sample size 3,015 3,346 3,115 3,219

Source: Continuous SHCS

128. About 58% of the Scottish housing stock failed the SHQS in 2011. This was a significant decrease from 61% of dwellings in 2010. In 2011, the private rented sector had the highest failure rate at 65% (Table 31 and Figure 14).

129. Figure 14 shows steady decrease in the number of houses failing the SHQS. In 2004/05 around 75% of dwellings failed the SHQS compared to 58% in 2011.

Figure 14 SHQS failures 2003/04 to 2011 by Tenure (%)

Figure 14 SHQS failures 2003/04 to 2011 by Tenure (%)

Source: Continuous SHCS

130. Table 32 shows that both tenure groups show an increased pass rate, but social housing is improving far faster overall. The proportion of dwellings failing the SHQS fell from around three quarters of both private and social sector dwellings in 2004/05 to 60% of private and 52% social failing in 2011.

131. The majority of dwellings that failed the SHQS failed the energy efficiency criterion. Full and efficient central heating[35] as well as minimum levels of thermal insulation - such as loft, hot water tank and wall insulation (where applicable) - are required. While this remains the most failed element, passes have increased across the board, most notably in the social sector where the pass rate has improved by 6 percentage points between 2009 and 2011.

Table 32 Scottish Housing Quality Standard element failure rate by tenure 2004/05 to 2011 (%)

SHQS Element Failures (%)
2004/5 2005/6 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011
All tenures SHQS Overall Fail 74 70 68 64 61 60 58
Below Tolerable Standard 1 0 1 1 1 4 3
Free from Serious Disrepair 3 2 3 3 2 3 3
Energy Efficient 57 54 52 51 48 48 45
Modern Facilities and Services 23 22 19 14 13 12 11
Healthy, Safe and Secure 28 27 24 24 21 20 19
Private Sector SHQS Overall Fail 74 71 67 66 61 59 60
Below Tolerable Standard 1 1 1 1 1 4 4
Free from Serious Disrepair 3 2 4 3 2 3 3
Energy Efficient 61 57 53 55 50 49 48
Modern Facilities and Services 18 18 15 11 10 10 10
Healthy, Safe and Secure 28 26 23 23 21 19 19
Social Sector SHQS Overall Fail 73 67 70 60 60 60 52
Below Tolerable Standard 0 0 1 0 1 2 1
Free from Serious Disrepair 2 3 2 2 2 3 1
Energy Efficient 48 46 48 40 42 44 36
Modern Facilities and Services 38 32 29 22 21 15 12
Healthy, Safe and Secure 28 29 27 25 22 23 18

Source: Continuous SHCS

132. The proportion of dwellings failing the modern facilities and services criterion of the SHQS has also fallen since 2004/05 in both the social and private sectors. Overall it fell from 23% in 2004/5 to 11% of dwellings in 2011 (Table 32). The change from 2007 (19%) to 2011 (11%) is statistically significant.

133. Table 33 shows that the proportion of dwellings with more than one criterion failure has fallen since 2004/05. In 2011, 40% of dwellings failed on only one of the five higher-level criteria and 13% on two criteria. As a result, the number of SHQS element failures (as opposed to failing properties) has reduced from about 2.6 million to 1.9 million (Table 33)[36].

134. Table 34 shows that dwellings in rural areas are significantly more likely to fail the SHQS than in urban areas.

Table 33 SHQS criterion failures 2008-2011 (000s and Column %)

SHQS Criterion Failures 2004/5 2005/6 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011
000's % 000's % 000's % 000's % 000's % 000's % 000's %
No failures/ unobtainable 605 26 692 30 750 32 838 36 915 39 951 40 1,019 43
1 Failure 1,025 45 991 43 1,008 44 980 42 988 42 938 40 942 40
2 Failures 484 21 456 20 404 17 376 16 343 15 346 15 301 13
3 Failures 162 7 162 7 140 6 124 5 90 4 97 4 86 4
4 Failures 24 1 13 1 11 0 10 0 8 0 20 1 17 1
5 Failures 1 0 1 0 1 0 2 0 0 0 6 0 4 0
Failures sub-total 1,696 74 1,622 70 1,564 68 1,493 64 1,429 61 1,407 60 1,349 57
Total SHQS criterion failures 2,578 2,444 2,286 2,156 1,976 2,031 1,888
Total dwellings 2,301 100 2,315 100 2,314 100 2,331 100 2,344 100 2,357 100 2,368 100
Sample size 3,093 3,147 3,033 3,015 3,346 3,115 3,219

Source: Continuous SHCS

Table 34 SHQS urban/rural breakdown (000s and %)

Urban Rural Unweighted
000's % 000's %
Pass 836 43 145 37 1,321
Fail 1,101 57 249 63 1,855
Total 1,970 100 398 100 3,219
Unweighted Sample size 2,462 714

Source: SHCS 2011

5.2 Dampness and Condensation

135. 'Any condensation' and 'Any rising or penetrating damp' 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 is not necessarily a serious housing quality issue in all cases.

136. Rising damp is the result of defective or missing damp proof coursing leading to water leaching into the building fabric. Penetrating damp is usually the result of a defect in the building fabric, such as damage to the walls or roof, water ingress due to damaged seals on doors or windows or damp as a result of leaking plumbing.

137. Table 35 and Table 36 indicate that just over 1 in 10 dwellings had condensation in at least one room, whilst few dwellings in Scotland suffered from either rising or penetrating damp (around 1 in 30). These figures are largely unchanged from those reported from 2002 to 2010.

Table 35 Presence of condensation in dwelling (000s and %)

Any condensation? 000s % unweighted
Sample size
None 2,106 89 2,871
Some 262 11 348
Total 2,368 100 3,219

Source: SHCS 2011

Table 36 Presence of rising or penetrating damp in dwelling (000s and %)

Any rising or
penetrating damp?
000s % Sample size
None 2,289 97 3,095
Some 79 3 124
Total 2,368 100 3,219

Source: SHCS 2011

5.3 Disrepair

138. Data on the state of disrepair of each dwelling is gathered in the physical inspection part of the SHCS. For clarification, the definition of 'disrepair' here is not the same at that measured in SHQS (section 5.1 above) which requires a property to be 'free from serious disrepair' so the numbers and percentages will be different from the SHQS data[37].

139. A range of elements - both internal and external - are assessed for the presence of disrepair, the urgency of disrepair (for external and common elements only), the extent of disrepair and in some cases the residual life of the element. These assessments allow an overall picture of the state of dwelling disrepair to be built up. We can therefore estimate the extent of disrepair of various types in Scotland's occupied housing stock. Definitions of the different types of disrepair are given in paragraph 189.

Table 37 Presence of any disrepair by age of dwelling, tenure and urban/rural indicator (000s and Row %)

No disrepair Disrepair Total Sample size
000s % 000s % 000s %
Age of Dwelling
Pre-1919 37 8 422 92 459 100 590
1919-1944 21 7 281 93 303 100 422
1945-1964 37 7 486 93 523 100 747
1965-1982 94 17 471 83 565 100 768
Post-1982 225 43 294 57 519 100 692
Tenure
Owner-occupier 302 21 1,167 79 1,468 100 2,054
LA/other public 34 10 311 90 345 100 464
HA/co-op 46 17 226 83 272 100 355
Private-rented 32 11 251 89 283 100 346
Private Sector 334 19 1,417 81 1,751 100 2,400
Social Sector 80 13 536 87 617 100 819
Urban/Rural
Urban 343 17 1,627 83 1,970 100 2,498
Rural 71 18 327 82 398 100 721
All Dwellings 414 17 1,954 83 2,368 100 3,219
Sample size 559 2,660 3,219

Source: SHCS 2011

140. 'Any disrepair' covers all disrepair, irrespective of extent or seriousness, and can therefore mean anything from a leaking bathroom tap to a missing roof.

141. Table 37 shows the presence of 'any disrepair' by age of dwelling. Just over eighty percent (83%) of dwellings in Scotland have some disrepair. Older dwellings are more likely to have some form of disrepair with 92% of those built before 1919 having some disrepair compared with 57% of dwellings built after 1982.

142. In the private sector, 81% of dwellings have some form of disrepair, compared to 87% of dwellings in the social sector.

143. Levels of 'any disrepair' in urban and rural areas are about the same.

144. For common and external elements the surveyor is asked to assess the urgency of disrepair. An urgent repair is one which, if not carried out, would cause the fabric of the building to deteriorate further and/or place the health and safety of the occupier at risk. Table 38 shows 'any disrepair' by 'urgency of disrepair'.

Table 38 Urgent disrepair in buildings with some disrepair (000s and Column %)

Any urgent disrepair Any Disrepair Total Sample Size
000s % 000s %
None 904 46 904 38 1,226
Some 939 48 939 40 1,278
Not Applicable 108 6 513 22 702
Unobtainable 3 0 12 1 13
Total 1,954 100 2,368 100 3,219
Sample size 2,660 3,219

Source: SHCS 2011

145. Figure 15(a-c) shows the presence of urgent disrepair, disrepair to critical elements and extensive disrepair in dwellings which have some form of disrepair (i.e. dwellings which have 'any disrepair' as defined above).

146. Critical elements are those whose condition is central to a dwelling being wind and weather proof, structurally stable and safeguarded against further rapid deterioration. Paragraph 189 lists the critical elements. The figures for critical disrepair are shown in Table 39 against dwelling and household characteristics.

147. 'Extensive disrepair' is used to identify dwellings where the disrepair present is of relatively greater severity. A detailed definition of extensive disrepair is given in paragraph 189.

148. Urgent disrepair, extensive disrepair and disrepair to critical elements are all subsets of 'any disrepair'.

149. In just under half of dwellings (48%) with some form of disrepair, that disrepair is urgent. Three quarters of dwellings with any disrepair have some disrepair to critical elements whilst around a third (32%) suffer from extensive disrepair (Figure 15(a-c)).

Figure 15 Of those dwellings with any disrepair: (a) urgency of disrepair (b) some disrepair to critical elements and (c) some extensive disrepair (%)

Figure 15 Of those dwellings with any disrepair: (a) urgency of disrepair (b) some disrepair to critical elements and (c) some extensive disrepair (%)

Source: SHCS 2011

Table 39 Disrepair to critical elements by age of dwelling, tenure and urban/rural indicator (000s and Row %)

No disrepair to critical elements Disrepair to critical elements Total Unweighted
Sample size
000s % 000s % 000s %
Age of dwelling
Pre-1919 105 23 355 77 459 100 590
1919-1944 74 25 228 75 303 100 422
1945-1964 149 28 374 72 523 100 747
1965-1982 221 39 344 61 565 100 768
Post-1982 353 68 166 32 519 100 692
Tenure
Owner-occupier 605 41 863 59 1,468 100 2,054
LA/other public 91 26 254 74 345 100 464
HA/co-op 121 44 151 56 272 100 355
Private-rented 84 30 199 70 283 100 346
Private Sector 690 39 1,062 61 1,751 100 2,400
Social Sector 212 34 405 66 617 100 819
Urban/Rural
Urban 760 39 1,209 61 1,970 100 2,498
Rural 141 35 257 65 398 100 721
All Dwellings 902 38 1,467 62 2,368 100 3,219
Unweighted Sample size 1,205 2,014 3,219

Source: SHCS 2011

150. Table 39 shows that the likelihood of experiencing disrepair to critical elements increases with the age of the dwelling. More than three-quarters of pre-1919 dwellings have some form of disrepair to critical elements, compared to about one third of those built after 1982.

151. Just over half of owner-occupied dwellings and just over half of dwellings rented from housing associations and housing co-operatives have some form of critical disrepair compared with 70% of those which are rented from a private landlord and 74% of those rented from a local authority or other public sector organisation. Overall, dwellings in the social sector are more likely to have disrepair to critical elements than those in the private sector.

152.Table 40 shows that 26% of dwellings in Scotland have some extensive disrepair. Following the same trend as 'any disrepair' and 'disrepair to critical elements', newer dwellings are less likely to suffer from extensive disrepair. Of dwellings built before 1919, 38% have some extensive disrepair compared with just 8% of those built after 1982.

153. Owner-occupied, Housing Association and housing co-operative dwellings are least likely to have some extensive disrepair.

Table 40 Extensive disrepair by age of dwelling, tenure and urban/rural indicator (000s and Row %)

No extensive disrepair Some extensive disrepair Total Unweighted
Sample size
000s % 000s % 000s %
Age of Dwelling
Pre-1919 285 62 174 38 459 100 590
1919-1944 196 65 107 35 303 100 422
1945-1964 372 71 151 29 523 100 747
1965-1982 423 75 142 25 565 100 768
Post-1982 476 92 42 8 519 100 692
Tenure
Owner-occupier 1,143 78 325 22 1,468 100 2,054
LA/other public 232 67 113 33 345 100 464
HA/co-op 200 74 72 26 272 100 355
Private-rented 178 63 106 37 283 100 346
Private Sector 1,320 75 431 25 1,751 100 2,400
Social Sector 432 70 185 30 617 100 819
Urban/Rural
Urban 1,466 74 503 26 1,970 100 2,498
Rural 286 72 113 28 398 100 721
All Dwellings 1,752 74 616 26 2,368 100 3,219
Unweighted Sample size 2,399 820 3,219

Source: SHCS 2011

154. For 57% of dwellings with some disrepair to critical elements the disrepair is urgent (Figure 16).

Figure 16 Urgent disrepair in dwellings with some form of disrepair to critical elements (%)

Figure 16 Urgent disrepair in dwellings with some form of disrepair to critical elements (%)

Source: SHCS 2011

155. In 66% of dwellings with extensive disrepair, the disrepair is classed as 'urgent' (Figure 17).

Figure 17 Urgent disrepair in dwellings with some form of extensive disrepair (%)

Figure 17 Urgent disrepair in dwellings with some form of extensive disrepair (%)

Source: SHCS 2011

156. Figure 18 shows the proportion of dwellings in each age group which experience 'any disrepair', 'disrepair to critical elements' and 'extensive disrepair'.

Figure 18 Any disrepair, critical element and extensive disrepair by age of dwelling (%)

Figure 18 Any disrepair, critical element and extensive disrepair by age of dwelling (%)

Source: SHCS 2011


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