Social tenants in Scotland 2017

Overview of social tenants and social rented housing in Scotland for 2017, covering information on stock, households, housing flows, rents and income.

This document is part of a collection

Section 1 - Background

This is an annual Official Statistics compendium publication that presents an overview of social tenants and social rented housing in Scotland in the calendar year 2017. Where source data is available on a financial year basis then figures are presented for the 2017/18 financial year, or 2016/17 where later years are not yet available. This publication includes trend data for earlier years and comparisons with other housing tenures and with other parts of the UK where possible.

The publication is based on analysis of a range of existing Official Statistics data sources such as the Scottish Household Survey, the Family Resources Survey and Scottish Government Housing Statistics collected from local authorities, along with figures, not Official Statistics, from the Scottish Housing Regulator Social Housing Charter Indicator Data, as well as various comparable data and reports for England, Wales and Northern Ireland where these are available.

Note that the Scottish Household Survey and Family Resources Survey are both sample surveys, and therefore some differences over time or between different groups of households may be due to sampling variation rather than being statistically significant differences. In some cases it has been necessary to combine several years of data in order to produce results to a level of precision useful for the analysis. Throughout this publication any differences highlighted in the text between particular sets of figures are based on statistically significant differences. Other differences seen in charts and tables, particularly small differences, should be treated with caution as these could reflect sampling variation rather than real differences. Further information on the samples sizes of these surveys per year is available in Annex A on Data Sources Used.

The main users of this publication are likely to include those involved in social housing policy and practice, researchers, tenants, social landlords, and other individuals with an interest in social tenants and social rented housing. The publication also helps to fill the gap in information available about social housing tenants following the cessation of the Scottish Government SCORE data collection and publication on housing association new lets, which ran up to and including the year 2014/15. Further information on the cessation of the previous Scottish Government SCORE data collection, including final results for 2014/15, is available at

The publication is not intended to cover the detail of new house building starts and completions or affordable housing supply - these figures are reported separately each quarter in Housing Statistics for Scotland Quarterly Updates at and in the annual Affordable Housing Supply Programme (AHSP) Outturn Reports at

Other analytical reports on social housing that may be useful to refer to alongside this statistical publication include:

  • Scottish Government Annual Housing Statistics Key Trends on provision and management of local authority housing[1]
  • Scottish Government Scottish Household Survey 2017 Annual Report Chapter on Housing[2].
  • Scottish Government House Condition Survey Key Findings Report 2017[3] contains a range of further information on the quality and energy efficiency of housing stock in Scotland, with local authority level reports also available[4].
  • The UK Collaborate Centre for Housing Evidence (CaCHE) Social Housing Policy Group Reports on Social Housing in Scotland[5], Social Housing in Wales[6], and Social Housing in Northern Ireland[7].
  • The UK Housing Review 2018[8], edited by Heriot Watt University, along with the associated Autumn 2018 Briefing Paper[9].

This publication has been developed taking into account views from stakeholders such as the feedback gained from attending two Scottish Federation of Housing Associations (SFHA) Management Forums in 2016. We are keen to receive any further feedback on this publication, particularly on any additions or improvements that could be made for future publications. Please get in touch with us at or contact us on 0131 244 7234.

Charts and Reference Tables are available as Excel downloads.

For the purposes of this statistical report the following definitions are used:

The term "local authority housing" refers to social rented housing provided by local authorities in Scotland. Out of the 32 local authorities, 26 own and manage council housing stock.

The term "housing association housing" refers to social rented housing provided by the 161 social landlords registered with the Scottish Housing Regulator that are not local authorities.

The term "social rented housing" refers to all social rented housing provided, i.e. a total of local authority housing plus housing association housing.

The term "stock" refers to all social housing stock that is owned by a social housing provider, i.e. it includes lettable plus unlettable stock, unless otherwise stated.



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