beta

You're viewing our new website - find out more

Publication - Statistics Publication

Scottish House Condition Survey 2015: Key Findings

Published: 6 Dec 2016
Part of:
Housing
ISBN:
9781786526564

Includes updated fuel poverty rates, energy efficiency ratings, carbon emissions, Scottish Housing Quality Standard and disrepair.

128 page PDF

3.5MB

128 page PDF

3.5MB

Contents
Scottish House Condition Survey 2015: Key Findings
6. Housing Conditions

128 page PDF

3.5MB

6. Housing Conditions

6.1 Disrepair

  • The level of disrepair remained unchanged in the last year. In 2015, 73% of all dwellings had some degree of disrepair, however minor it may be. Disrepair to critical elements stood at 52%, 33% of dwellings had some instances of urgent disrepair, and in 8% of the housing stock some extensive disrepair was present.
  • Levels of damp and condensation remained similar to 2014 levels. Around 9 out of 10 properties were free from any damp or condensation, an improvement of around 3 percentage points since 2013.

199. 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 27).
  • 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 7.5.7.3. 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.

200. More detailed description of the categories of disrepair is given in section 7.5.7. Rates for each category for the period 2013-2015 are shown in Table 44.

201. In 2015, the level of disrepair in terms of all main categories remained as in the previous year. 73% of all dwellings had some degree of disrepair, however minor it may be. Disrepair to critical elements stood at 52%, 33% of dwellings had some urgent disrepair, and in 8% of the housing stock some extensive disrepair was present.

Table 44: Rates of Disrepair by Category, 2013-2015

Year Any (Basic) Disrepair Disrepair to Critical Elements Urgent Disrepair Extensive Disrepair
No Disrepair Some Disrepair
2015 27% 73% 52% 33% 8%
2014 27% 73% 53% 32% 7%
2013 22% 78% 57% 36% 7%

202. It is fairly common for dwellings to display elements of disrepair in more than one category, as illustrated in Figure 27. 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.

203. 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.

204. 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.

205. 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 27: Disrepair Categories - Proportions of Scotland's Housing Stock 2015
Figure 27: Disrepair Categories - Proportions of Scotland's Housing Stock 2015

6.1.1 Disrepair to Critical Elements

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

207. As shown in Table 44, in 2015 the proportion of dwellings which had some disrepair to a critical element (or elements) was 52%. In some of these dwellings, accounting for 28% of the stock overall, there was also some urgent disrepair ( Table 45). This proportion has remained unchanged since 2014.

208. Table 45 also shows the share of dwellings within this group, where in addition to urgent disrepair, some disrepair was assessed as extensive. This accounted for 5% of the housing stock, a proportion which has also remained unchanged since 2014.

6.1.1.1 Dwelling age and location

209. 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. This is also evident where instances of critical disrepair co-exist with urgent or extensive disrepair, a pattern which has remained unchanged in the last year.

210. Urban and rural dwellings show similar rates in all categories of disrepair shown in Table 45. Similarly, all differences between 2014 and 2015 in Table 45 are within the margin of error.

Table 45: Disrepair to Critical Elements, Urgent and Extensive Disrepair by Dwelling Age and Location, 2014 and 2015

Age of dwelling Location Scotland
Pre-1919 1919-1944 1945-1964 1965-1982 Post- 1982 Urban Rural
Dwellings with any Critical disrepair
2015 68% 67% 60% 49% 26% 52% 51% 52%
2014 72% 65% 65% 52% 24% 53% 52% 53%
of which dwellings with Critical & Urgent disrepair
2015 39% 40% 35% 25% 10% 28% 27% 28%
2014 39% 37% 34% 26% 10% 27% 30% 28%
of which dwellings with Critical, Urgent & Extensive disrepair
2015 8% 7% 6% 3% 1% 5% 4% 5%
2014 5% 5% 4% 3% 1% 4% 4% 4%

6.1.1.2 Tenure

211. Levels of critical disrepair are similar for the private and the social housing sector considered as a whole. Just over half of all dwellings (51% in the private and 53% in the social sector) have some disrepair to critical elements. Under a third of all dwellings have both critical and urgent disrepair (28% in the private sector and 30% in the social) and a very small proportion (5% in the private and 4% in social sector) have also instances of extensive disrepair in addition to critical and urgent.

212. However, the sectors are not homogenous. Housing associations dwellings have the lowest levels of both critical and critical and urgent disrepair. They are followed by owner occupied dwellings, while LA properties and private rented properties have the highest levels of disrepair in these categories. There has been no change on any of the measures shown in Table 46 since 2014.

Table 46: Disrepair to Critical Elements, Urgent and Extensive Disrepair by Tenure Group, 2014 and 2015

Tenure Sector Scotland
Owner-occupied LA/Other public HA/Co-op Private-rented Private Social
Dwelling with any Critical disrepair
2015 49% 62% 40% 61% 51% 53% 52%
2014 51% 66% 42% 58% 52% 56% 53%
of which dwellings with Critical & Urgent disrepair
2015 25% 37% 20% 37% 28% 30% 28%
2014 26% 35% 18% 33% 28% 28% 28%
of which dwellings with Critical, Urgent & Extensive disrepair
2015 5% 6% 2% 4% 5% 4% 5%
2014 3% 7% 3% 4% 3% 5% 4%

6.1.1.3 Type of Disrepair to Critical Elements

213. As shown in Figure 28 , 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% of the relevant area. A full list of elements in this category is provided in section 7.5.7.3.

214. Two elements most often affected are wall finish and roof coverings. 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.

215. Around 30% of dwellings had some disrepair to wall finish and 19% had some disrepair to roof coverings; however, in both cases the disrepair covered no more than 2% of the area on average.

216. Around 24% of dwellings with chimneys showed some signs of disrepair. Unchecked this can lead to water ingress and eventually falling masonry.

Figure 28: The Number of Households ( HHs) Affected and Average Extent of Disrepair to External Critical Elements
Figure 28: The Number of Households (HHs) Affected and Average Extent of Disrepair to External Critical Elements

6.1.2 Damp and Condensation

The definitions of damp and condensation are provided in section 7.5.7.5

217. 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.

218. The incidence of these defects in isolation and together is given in Table 47. Around 89% of all dwellings in 2015 were free from any form of condensation or damp. This is similar to 2014 levels but represents an improvement of around 3 points since 2013, when the corresponding proportion was 86.7%.

219. In 2015 2.4% of the housing stock (around 58,000 dwellings) suffered from some degree of penetrating damp. This proportion has not changed in the last few years. There was 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%.

220. Condensation was observed in 8.8% of the surveyed stock (equivalent to around 214,000 dwellings) which is similar to 2014 levels.

221. In around 1% of dwellings (20,000) both condensation and some form of damp were recorded. This level has not changed significantly since the annual survey began in 2003/4.

Table 47: Presence of Damp and/or Condensation in 2014 and 2015.

2015 2014 2013
Defect 000s % 000s % 000s %
No Damp or Condensation 2,179 89.5% 2,144 88.6% 2,082 86.7%
Condensation 214 8.8% 226 9.3% 247 10.3%
Penetrating damp 58 2.4% 67 2.8% 90 3.7%
Rising damp * * 11 0.5% 16 0.7%
Condensation and damp (rising or penetrating) 20 0.8% 24 1.0% 30 1.3%
Total 2,434 2,420 2,402
Sample size 2,754 2,682 2,725

6.2 Housing Quality Standards

  • Levels of compliance with the tolerable standard in 2015 remained similar to 2014: 2% (or 42,000) of all dwellings fell below the Tolerable Standard. Longer term this represents an improvement of nearly 2 percentage points since 2012.
  • Substantial improvements in SHQS compliance since 2014 were recorded for dwellings in rural areas (10 points reduction in failures) and older, pre-1919 properties (11 points reduction in failures).
  • The SHQS failure rate in the social sector was 38%, not allowing for abeyances and exemptions. This has fallen from 60% in the last 5 years. 26% of 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 25% if it is assumed that all social dwellings have insulated cavity walls where this is technically feasible.
  • 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 7 out of 10 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, secure front and rear access to dwellings in common block, presence of at least six electrical sockets in the kitchen and others.

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

223. 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 7.5.9

224. The Scottish Housing Quality Standard ( SHQS) was introduced in February 2004 [52] . 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).

For more information on the SHQS see section 7.5.10

6.2.1 Tolerable Standard

225. The overall level of compliance with the tolerable standard remained similar to 2014. As shown in Table 48, 2% of all dwellings (or 42,000 dwellings) fell below the tolerable standard in 2015. However there is a longer term trend of improvement and 2015 levels represent a drop of nearly 2 percentage points since 2012.

226. The share of dwellings below tolerable standard in the private sectors was 2%. This is similar to 2014 but around 2 points better than 2012 when 4% of all dwellings fell below tolerable standard.

227. There was no change since 2014 in the social sector where around 1% of dwellings were below tolerable standard.

228. Dwellings in the private rented sector are more likely than either owner occupied or those in the social sector to fall below tolerable standard. The rate in 2015 was just under 5% and has remained broadly at the same level for the last 5 years.

229. The proportion of pre-1919 dwellings below tolerable standard has declined since 2013 by nearly 5 percentage points and stood at just under 4% in 2015. This however still exceeds the levels of BTS recoded for the most recently built dwellings (post 1965), at 1%.

230. The tolerable standard consists of 12 criteria (listed in section 7.5.9), failure on one of which leads to a failure overall.

Table 48: Dwellings Below Tolerable Standard ( BTS) by Tenure and Age Band, 2015

Below Tolerable Standard
% 000s % of BTS Stock Sample
Whole Stock 2% 42 100% 2,754
Tenure Owner-occupied 1% 19 46% 1,740
Private-rented 5% 16 38% 355
Subtotal: Private 2% 35 84% 2,095
Social 1% 7 16% 659
Age of Dwelling Pre-1919 4% 19 45% 489
1919-1944 2% 6 14% 321
1945-1964 1% 8 18% 608
Post-1965 1% 10 23% 1,336

231. Dwellings most commonly fell below the tolerable standard because they:

  • were not satisfactorily insulated (15,000 or 37% of BTS dwellings);
  • had unsatisfactory provision for lighting, ventilation or heating (10,000 or 23% of BTS dwellings); or
  • were not free from rising/penetrating damp (7,000 or 16% of BTS dwellings).

6.2.2 Scottish Housing Quality Standard ( SHQS)

232. 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.

233. 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) [53] . In the SHCS each of the 55 individual elements is assessed by surveyors trained to collect detailed information on housing characteristics. This information is subsequently aggregated by Scottish Government analysts into higher level measures for each of the 5 criteria and the standard overall.

234. Table 49 shows the overall results for the Scottish housing stock for 2015 and the previous 5 years. In 2015, just under 44% (43.8%) of all dwellings failed to meet the SHQS. As in previous years, the highest failure rate was with respect to the Energy Efficient criterion (31.7%), followed by Healthy, Safe and Secure (13.4%) and Modern Facilities (8.8%). There were a very small number of dwellings which did not meet the BTS criterion (1.7%) or the Disrepair criterion (0.1%). Differences from 2014 on all criteria shown in Table 49 and overall are within the margin of error for this survey.

Table 49: Proportion of Dwellings Failing SHQS and Individual Criteria 2010-2015

2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010
SHQS 43.8% 47.5% 49.1% 54.0% 58.2% 61.0%
BTS 1.7% 2.0% 3.0% 3.7% 3.0% 3.6%
Disrepair 0.1% 0.1% 0.2% 0.1% 0.5% 0.8%
Energy Efficient 31.7% 34.8% 36.3% 42.2% 46.0% 49.2%
Modern Facilities 8.8% 11.1% 11.4% 11.9% 13.7% 15.6%
Healthy, Safe and Secure 13.4% 13.8% 13.7% 16.1% 17.0% 16.6%

Note: Figures for 2014 and 2015 are not fully comparable to previous years. For details see Technical Notes and Definitions

6.2.2.1 Compliance by Tenure, Dwelling Age and Location

235. Table 50 shows the number and proportion of properties failing the SHQS by selected characteristics.

236. The lowest failure rates are in the newest dwellings (post-1982, 17% fail) and in Housing Associations stock (30% 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.

237. The overall SHQS failure rate for social sector housing in 2015 stood at 38%. 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 25% (see section 6.2.2.4). SHCS based measures do not make an allowance for abeyances and exemptions.

238. In 2015 urban and rural areas had the same SHQS failure rates, 44%, with a strong 10 point improvement in rural areas since 2014. Substantial improvement was also recorded for older, pre-1919 properties, with failure rates in 2015 down 11 points to 50%.

Table 50: Number and Proportion of Dwellings Failing SHQS, 2014 and 2015

2015 2014
000s % fail Sample 000s % fail Sample
All Scotland 1,066 44% 2,754 1,149 47% 2,682
Tenure
Owned outright 352 46% 929 355 48% 904
Mortgaged 313 42% 811 335 47% 786
LA 151 45% 380 167 47% 386
HA/co-op 74 30% 279 113 41% 287
PRS 175 51% 355 180 54% 319
Private 840 46% 2,095 869 48% 2,009
Social 226 38% 659 280 45% 673
Dwelling Age
pre-1919 242 50% 489 293 61% 499
1919-1944 165 60% 321 167 59% 291
1945-1964 265 50% 608 290 55% 623
1965-1982 292 53% 644 277 51% 616
post-1982 102 17% 692 122 20% 653
Location
Urban 885 44% 2,147 927 46% 2,108
Rural 181 44% 607 222 54% 574

6.2.2.2 Individual SHQS Criteria

239. Table 51 shows the failure rates for each criterion of the SHQS for private and social sector housing over the last 6 years. It demonstrates that there has been a consistent trend of improvement in both the private and the social sector. However the survey sample is not large enough to measure accurately year-on-year change in each instance. All differences between 2014 and 2015 shown in Table 51 are within the survey margin of error.

240. The SHCS estimates that 38% of social sector housing failed to meet the SHQS in 2015. This was predominantly due to the Energy Efficient criterion, 26% of properties failed on this measure. Ten percent failed the Healthy, Safe and Secure criterion and the share of those not meeting the BTS or the Disrepair criterion was negligible.

Table 51: SHQS Criteria Failure Rates by Tenure, 2010-2015

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

Notes: 1. Figures for 2014 and 2015 are not fully comparable to previous years.

6.2.2.3 Number of Criteria and Elements Failing

241. 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 [54] .

242. Table 52 and Table 53 present the distribution of dwellings for Scotland as a whole and social housing separately by number of criteria failed. The majority of failures in 2015 were due to a single criterion: 33% of dwellings in the whole stock and 32% of social sector dwellings failed the SHQS because of a single criterion. This constitutes respectively 76% (for all housing) and 83% (for social sector) of all dwellings falling below the SHQS. In 2010 the corresponding figure was 68% for both the social sector and the whole housing stock. 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 52: Number and Proportion of Dwellings by Numbers of SHQS Criteria Failures, All Housing, 2010-2015

Number of Criteria Fail 2015 2014 2013 2011 2010
000s Col % 000s Col % 000s Col % 000s Col % 000s Col %
None 1,368 56% 1,271 53% 1,222 51% 990 42% 920 39%
1 813 33% 865 36% 880 37% 966 41% 980 42%
2 217 9% 227 9% 236 10% 316 13% 352 15%
3 36 1% 53 2% 60 2% 82 3% 88 4%
4 1 0% 5 0% 4 0% 11 0% 16 1%
5 - - 0 0% - - 2 0% 2 0%
Total Dwellings 2,434 100% 2,420 100% 2,402 100% 2,368 100% 2,357 100%
Criteria Fails as % of All assessed 11% 12% 13% 16% 17%
Sample size 2,754 2,682 2,725 3,219 3,115

Table 53: Number and Proportion of Dwellings by Numbers of SHQS Criteria Failures, Social Dwellings, 2010-2015

Number of Criteria Failing 2015 2014 2013 2011 2010
000s Col % 000s Col % 000s Col % 000s Col % 000s Col %
None 364 62% 347 55% 344 57% 292 48% 252 40%
1 188 32% 216 34% 201 33% 230 38% 257 41%
2 34 6% 54 9% 51 8% 68 11% 95 15%
3 4 1% 10 2% 13 2% 18 3% 25 4%
4 - - - - - - - - 3 0%
5 - - - - - - - - - -
Total Dwellings 589 100% 627 100% 608 100% 607 100% 633 100%
Criteria Fails as % of All Assessed 9% 11% 11% 14% 17%
Sample size 659 673 662 807 798

Table 54. Number and Proportion of Social Sector Dwellings by Number of SHQS Element Failures, and Most Common Single-Element Failures, 2015

Number of Element Failures 000s % of All Dwellings % of Failing Dwellings
None 364 62%
1 element 160 27% 71%
of which
Cavity wall insulation (C31) 81
Pipe and tank insulation (C33) 19
Safe common front and rear doors (E55) 9
At least six kitchen sockets (D39) 9
Secure external doors (E53) 8
Adequate food storage space (D40) 8
2 elements 44 8% 20%
3 or more elements 21 4% 9%
Subtotal: dwellings failing the SHQS 226 100%
All social sector dwellings 589 100%
Sample size 659

243. Table 54 shows the distribution of social sector dwellings by the number of elements failed. Nearly three quarters (71%) of dwellings failing the SHQS did so because of a single element, and another fifth failed because of 2 elements. 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, secure front and rear access to dwellings in common block, presence of at least six electrical sockets in the kitchen, external doors to dwellings with adequate locks, and presence of a minimum of 1m 3 food storage in the kitchen ( Table 54).

6.2.2.4 SHQS Compliance and Cavity Wall Insulation

244. 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 was published by the SHR in September 2016 [55] . It reported that 92.8% of social homes met the SHQS in 2015/16.

245. 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.

246. 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.

247. 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 55). 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 55 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, 2015

Dwellings Failing the Energy Efficient Criterion Dwellings Failing the SHQS Overall
000s % 000s %
inc. CWI element 153 26% 226 38%
exc. CWI element 57 10% 145 25%
Difference -96 -16 pts -81 -14 pts

248. In 2015, around one fifth of social dwellings (19% or 111,000 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 14 percentage point reduction in SHQS failure. This amounts to around 81,000 fewer social sector dwellings failing the SHQS and an overall SHQS failure rate of 25%.

6.3 Overcrowding and Under-Occupancy

  • Levels of overcrowding under the bedroom standard remained unchanged at 3%, indicating that in 2015 around 70,000 households lived in overcrowded accommodation.
  • Around 715,000 (29%) households had two or more bedrooms in excess of the minimum requirement under the bedroom standard and a further 900,000 (37%) had one additional bedroom.
  • Social sector tenants are more likely to live in accommodation which is at the level meeting the minimum requirements of the bedroom standard (59% compared to 22% in the private sector) or is over-crowded (5% compared to 2% in the private sector).

249. This section examines some key measures of whether households are living in overcrowded conditions or under-occupancy. This is determined on the basis of the bedroom standard as defined in the Housing (Overcrowding) Act 2003 [56] taking into account the number of bedrooms available in the dwelling and the type of the household that occupies it.

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 7.5.8 .

250. Figure 29 and Table 56 show how headline occupancy measures have changed over time. There was no change on these headline measures between 2014 and 2015. Longer term, under-occupancy has reduced slightly since a peak in 2009 when 71% of households had at least one bedroom in excess of the bedroom standard minimum. In 2015 this figure stood at 66%. The rate of overcrowding has stayed stable since 2009 (3%), and is lower than the peak observed in 2004/5 (4%).

251. Subsequent sections examine in more detail differences across household and dwelling characteristics for 2015 and the preceding year.

Figure 29: Proportion of Dwellings Which are Overcrowded, Meet the Minimum Standard, Exceed it by 1 Bedroom or Exceed by 2 or More Bedrooms, 2003/4-2015
Figure 29: Proportion of Dwellings Which are Overcrowded, Meet the Minimum Standard, Exceed it by 1 Bedroom or Exceed by 2 or More Bedrooms, 2003/4-2015

Table 56: Dwellings Which Are Below The Standard, Meet The Minimum Requirement, Or Exceed It By 1, 2 Or 3 And More Bedrooms, 000s And %, 2010, 2014, 2015

Bedroom Standard 2015 2014 2010
000s % 000s % 000s %
Below Standard 70 3% 74 3% 61 3%
Compliance: minimum reqs 749 31% 748 31% 644 27%
Above Standard 1615 66% 1,598 66% 1,652 70%
1 bedroom above minimum 900 37% 901 37% 898 38%
2+ bedrooms above minimum 715 29% 697 29% 754 32%
- 2 bedrooms above minimum 503 21% 503 21% 543 23%
- 3+ bedrooms above minimum 211 9% 193 8% 211 9%
Total 2,434 100% 2,420 100% 2,386 100%
Sample Size 2,754 2,682 3,115

6.3.1 Overcrowding

252. A dwelling is considered overcrowded if there are insufficient bedrooms to meet the occupants' requirements under the bedroom standard definition (see section 7.5.8).

253. Around 3%, or 70,000 households, lived in overcrowded accommodation in 2015. This was more common among social tenants (5%) than households living in private dwellings (2%). This is a pattern which has remained unchanged in the last year ( Table 57).

Table 57: Overcrowding by Tenure and Housing Type, Dwelling Age Band and Location, 2015.

Overcrowded under Bedroom Standard
2015 2014
000s % Sample 000s % Sample
Tenure
Owned 7 1% 929 5 1% 904
Mortgaged 18 2% 811 23 3% 786
LA 19 6% 380 21 6% 386
HA 10 4% 279 12 4% 287
PRS 16 5% 355 14 4% 319
Private 41 2% 2,095 41 2% 2,009
Social 29 5% 659 32 5% 673
Age of dwelling
pre-1919 18 4% 489 18 4% 499
1919-1944 * * 321 7 3% 291
1945-1964 24 5% 608 21 4% 623
1965-1982 12 2% 644 16 3% 616
post-1982 12 2% 692 11 2% 653
Dwelling Type
Detached * * 692 4 1% 683
Semi-detached 12 3% 594 17 4% 552
Terraced 13 3% 626 19 4% 616
Tenement 30 5% 506 19 3% 491
Other flats 11 3% 336 14 4% 340
Weekly Household Income
< £200 11 4% 328 10 3% 357
£200-300 9 2% 475 11 2% 467
£300-400 20 5% 463 17 4% 439
£400-500 * * 322 5 2% 301
£500-700 13 3% 480 16 4% 502
£700+ 10 2% 640 10 2% 577
Location
urban 63 3% 2,147 62 3% 2,108
rural 7 2% 607 12 3% 574
Scotland 70 3% 2,754 74 3% 2,682

254. Households who own their properties outright had below average rates of over-crowding.

6.3.2 Under-Occupancy

255. In 2015 around 715,000 (29%) households had two or more bedrooms in excess of the minimum under the bedroom standard and a further 900,000 (37%) had 1 additional bedroom. The total number of households with bedrooms in excess of the minimum under the bedroom standard was 1,615,000 (or 66% of all households) ( Table 56).

256. There are strong differences between residents in private housing and the social housing sector on all measures of under-occupancy and over-crowding. Social sector tenants are more likely to live in accommodation which is at the level meeting the minimum requirements of the bedroom standard (59% compared to 22% in the private sector) or is over-crowded (5% compared to 2% in the private sector). Correspondingly, households in social housing are less likely to have bedrooms in excess of the minimum requirements: 29% have one additional room, 6% have two, and just under 1% have three or more additional rooms. The respective figures for private sector households are 39% (one additional room), 25% (two additional rooms) and 11% with three additional rooms ( Table 58).

257. There are also differences within the private sector. Owner occupiers are more likely to have at least 2 additional rooms than those renting in the private sector. Households owning their property outright are most likely to have 3 or more additional bedrooms (16% of them do) compared to those with mortgages (9%) and renters (6%).

258. Higher income households (£700+ per week) are more likely to live in dwellings with additional bedrooms. Of them, 29% have 2 additional bedrooms, and a further 18% have 3 or more additional bedrooms. In comparison, between 5 and 8% of households in all other lower income bands have 3 or more additional bedrooms.

259. Under-occupied dwellings are more common among the oldest (pre-1919) and the newest properties (post-82), where 15% and 12% respectively have 3 or more bedrooms in excess of the bedroom standard. Similarly, detached houses have the highest rates of under-occupancy compared to other building types; 37% with 2 additional bedrooms and another 28% with 3 or more additional bedrooms.

260. Under-occupation is more common in rural areas. 28% of rural dwellings have 2 bedrooms in excess of the minimum requirements under the bedroom standard and a further 18% have 3. The corresponding figures for urban dwellings are 19% and 7%.

261. Changes from 2014 on the measures shown in Table 58 are within the margin of error for this survey. However there is some longer term change in the social housing sector which is worth highlighting. The proportion of social dwellings with two or more additional bedrooms has nearly halved since 2011, from 13% to 7% in 2015. In the same period the proportion of those at the level of the minimum requirements under the standard has increased from 46% to 59%.

Table 58: Above Minimum Standard, by Tenure, Dwelling Age, Type and Location, 2015

2015 2014
2 additional 1 additional Sample 2 additional 1 additional Sample
000s % 000s % 000s % 000s %
Tenure
Owned 387 51% 294 39% 929 389 52% 265 36% 904
Mortgaged 242 33% 297 40% 811 217 30% 286 40% 786
LA 22 6% 107 32% 380 27 8% 131 37% 386
HA/co-op 17 7% 66 26% 279 19 7% 92 34% 287
PRS 47 14% 136 40% 355 46 14% 127 38% 319
Private 676 37% 727 39% 2,095 651 36% 679 38% 2,009
Social 39 7% 173 29% 659 46 7% 223 36% 673
Age of dwelling
pre-1919 150 31% 149 31% 489 139 29% 136 28% 499
1919-1944 65 24% 129 47% 321 63 23% 128 46% 291
1945-1964 129 25% 202 39% 608 131 25% 206 39% 623
1965-1982 163 29% 199 36% 644 162 30% 207 38% 616
post-1982 208 35% 221 37% 692 201 34% 225 38% 653
Dwelling Type
Detached 345 65% 146 27% 692 342 64% 134 25% 683
Semi 160 33% 196 41% 594 160 34% 190 41% 552
Terraced 140 27% 207 40% 626 130 25% 214 42% 616
Tenement 38 7% 203 35% 506 32 6% 213 37% 491
Other flats 32 10% 149 46% 336 33 10% 150 45% 340
Weekly Household Income
< £200 70 24% 102 34% 328 59 19% 121 39% 357
£200-300 90 21% 159 38% 475 97 23% 160 37% 467
£300-400 98 23% 169 40% 463 86 22% 152 38% 439
£400-500 73 26% 98 36% 322 76 27% 120 43% 301
£500-700 123 29% 169 39% 480 144 32% 159 36% 502
£700+ 250 46% 183 34% 640 227 44% 172 33% 577
Urban-rural indicator
urban 526 26% 771 38% 2,147 510 25% 769 38% 2,108
rural 189 46% 129 31% 607 186 45% 132 32% 574
Scotland 715 29% 900 37% 2,754 697 29% 901 37% 2,682

Contact