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Publication - Statistics Publication

Scottish house condition survey 2016: key findings

Published: 5 Dec 2017
Part of:
Housing, Statistics
ISBN:
9781788514866

2016 survey findings including fuel poverty rates, energy efficiency ratings, carbon emissions, Scottish Housing Quality Standard and disrepair.

129 page PDF

3.3MB

129 page PDF

3.3MB

Contents
Scottish house condition survey 2016: key findings
6 Housing Conditions

129 page PDF

3.3MB

6 Housing Conditions

6.1 Disrepair

  • The level of disrepair declined 5 percentage points in the last year. In 2016, 68% of all dwellings had some degree of disrepair, however minor it may be, down from 73% in 2015. Disrepair to critical elements stood at 48%, 28% of dwellings had some instances of urgent disrepair, and in 6% of the housing stock some extensive disrepair was present. These also all represent improvement compared to 2015 and continue a longer-term trend of improvement.
  • Levels of damp and condensation remained similar to 2015 levels. Around 9 out of 10 properties were free from any damp or condensation.

206. 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 29).
  • 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 7.8.7.3. 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.

207. More detailed description of the categories of disrepair is given in section 7.8.7. Rates for each category for the period 2013-2016 are shown in Table 44.

208. The trend of improvements in levels of disrepair continued in 2016. 68% of all dwellings had some degree of disrepair, however minor it may be, down from 73% in 2015 and 81% in 2012. Disrepair to critical elements stood at 48%, 28% of dwellings had some urgent disrepair, and in 6% of the housing stock some extensive disrepair was present.

Table 44: Rates of Disrepair by Category, 2012-2016

Year Any (Basic) Disrepair Disrepair to Critical Elements Urgent Disrepair Extensive Disrepair
No Disrepair Some Disrepair
2016 32% 68% 48% 28% 6%
2015 27% 73% 52% 33% 8%
2014 27% 73% 53% 32% 7%
2013 22% 78% 57% 36% 7%
2012 19% 81% 61% 39% 9%

209. 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.

210. 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.

211. 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.

212. 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 29: Disrepair Categories, Proportions of Scotland's Housing Stock, 2016
Figure 29: Disrepair Categories, Proportions of Scotland's Housing Stock, 2016

6.1.1 Disrepair to Critical Elements

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

214. As shown in Table 44, in 2016 the proportion of dwellings which had some disrepair to a critical element(s) was 48%, a three percentage point drop from 2015. In some of these dwellings, accounting for 24% of the stock overall, there was also some urgent disrepair ( Table 45). This represents a four percentage point drop compared to 2015.

215. Table 45 also shows the share of dwellings where in addition to urgent disrepair, some disrepair was assessed as extensive. This accounted for 3% of the housing stock, a two percentage point drop on 2015.

6.1.1.1 Dwelling age and location

216. 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 urgent and extensive disrepair, a pattern which has remained unchanged in the last year.

217. Urban and rural dwellings show similar rates in all categories of disrepair shown in Table 45. Urban dwellings have statistically significant reductions in rates of all disrepair categories between 2015 and 2016.

218. The biggest improvement in 2016 has been for older dwellings built between 1919 and 1944. Levels of critical disrepair decreased by 9 percentage points to 58% for these dwellings and levels of critical and urgent disrepair decreased by 13 percentage points to 27%.

Table 45: Disrepair to Critical Elements, Urgent and Extensive Disrepair by Dwelling Age and Location, 2015 and 2016

Age of dwelling Location Scotland
pre-1919 1919-1944 1945-1964 1965-1982 post 1982 Urban Rural
Dwellings with any Critical Disrepair
2016 67% 58% 60% 48% 20% 48% 49% 48%
2015 68% 67% 60% 49% 26% 52% 51% 52%
Dwellings with Critical and Urgent disrepair
2016 37% 27% 30% 22% 9% 24% 25% 24%
2015 39% 40% 35% 25% 10% 28% 27% 28%
Dwellings with Critical, Urgent & Extensive disrepair
2016 5% 3% 5% 2% 1% 3% 2% 3%
2015 8% 7% 6% 3% 1% 5% 4% 5%

6.1.1.2 Tenure

219. Levels of critical disrepair are similar for the private and the social housing sector considered as a whole. Just under half of all dwellings (48% in the private and 49% in the social sector) have some disrepair to critical elements. Just under a quarter of dwellings have both critical and urgent disrepair (24% for both private and social sector) and a very small proportion (3% in the private and 4% in social sector) also have instances of extensive disrepair in addition to critical and urgent.

220. 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.

221. Scotland rates across all types of disrepair categories have undergone statistically significant reductions. The biggest changes between 2015 and 2016 is the reduction in dwellings in the LA sector with critical and urgent disrepair from 37% to 30%.

Table 46: Disrepair to Critical Elements, Urgent and Extensive Disrepair by Tenure Group, 2015 and 2016

Tenure
Owner occupied LA/Other Public HA/Co-op Private rented Private Sector Social Sector Scotland
Dwellings with any Critical Disrepair
2016 46% 57% 37% 60% 48% 49% 48%
2015 49% 62% 40% 61% 51% 53% 52%
Dwellings with Critical and Urgent disrepair
2016 22% 30% 16% 31% 24% 24% 24%
2015 25% 37% 20% 37% 28% 30% 28%
Dwellings with Critical, Urgent & Extensive disrepair
2016 2% 5% 3% 3% 3% 4% 3%
2015 5% 6% 2% 4% 5% 4% 5%

6.1.1.3 Type of Disrepair to Critical Elements

222. As shown in Figure 30 , 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 3% of the relevant area. A full list of elements in this category is provided in section 7.8.7.3.

223. Wall finish and roof coverings are often affected. Around 26% of dwellings had some disrepair to wall finish and 16% had some disrepair to roof coverings; however, in both cases the disrepair covered no more than 2.5% of the area on average. 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.

224. Around 21% of dwellings with chimneys showed some signs of disrepair. Unchecked this can lead to water ingress and eventually falling masonry.

Figure 30: The Number of Households ( HHs) Affected and Average (Median) Extent of Disrepair to External Critical Elements
Figure 30: The Number of Households (HHs) Affected and Average (Median) Extent of Disrepair to External Critical Elements

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

6.1.2 Damp and Condensation

225. The definitions of damp and condensation are provided in section 7.8.

226. 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.

227. The incidence of these defects in isolation and together is given in Table 47. Around 89% of all dwellings in 2016 were free from any form of condensation or damp. This is similar to both 2014 and 2015 levels.

228. In 2016 3.7% of the housing stock (around 91,000 dwellings) suffered from some degree of penetrating damp, a slight increase on 2015 (2.4%). 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%.

229. Condensation was observed in 8.5% of the surveyed stock (equivalent to around 209,000 dwellings) which is similar to 2015 levels.

230. In 1% of dwellings (26,000) both condensation and some form of damp were recorded. This level has not changed significantly in the previous five years.

Table 47: Presence of Damp and/or Condensation in 2014-2016.

2016 2015 2014
Defect 000s % 000s % 000s %
No Damp or Condensation 2,171 88.6% 2,179 89.5% 2,144 88.6%
Condensation 209 8.5% 214 8.8% 226 9.3%
Penetrating damp 91 3.7% 58 2.4% 67 2.8%
Rising damp 10 0.4% 3 0.1% 11 0.5%
Condensation and any damp 26 1.0% 20 0.8% 24 1.0%
Total 2,452 2,434 2,420
Sample 2,850 2,754 2,682

6.2 Housing Quality Standards

  • Levels of compliance with the tolerable standard in 2016 remained similar to 2015: 2% (or 39,000) of all dwellings fell below the Tolerable Standard. 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 38%, not allowing for abeyances and exemptions, no change from 2015. This has fallen from 60% in 2010. 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 26% 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, presence of at least six electrical sockets in the kitchen, secure external doors, adequate food storage and secure front and rear access to dwellings in common block.

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

232. 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 7.8.9.

233. The Scottish Housing Quality Standard ( SHQS) was introduced in February 2004 [45] . 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).

234. For more information on the SHQS see section 7.8.10.

6.2.1 Tolerable Standard

235. The overall level of compliance with the tolerable standard remained similar to 2015. As shown in Table 48, 2% of all dwellings (or 39,000 dwellings) fell below the tolerable standard in 2016. However there is a longer term trend of improvement and 2016 levels represent a drop of 2 percentage points since 2012.

236. The share of dwellings below tolerable standard in the private sectors was 2%. This is similar to 2015 but around 2 points better than 2012 when 4% of all dwellings fell below tolerable standard.

237. There was no change since 2015 in the social sector where around 1% of dwellings were below tolerable standard.

238. The rate for the private rented sector in 2016 was 2% and has remained broadly at the same level for the last 6 years. However, while in 2015 we 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.

239. The proportion of pre-1919 dwellings below tolerable standard has declined since 2013 by around 4 percentage points and stood at 4% in 2016. This however still exceeds the levels of BTS recorded for the most recently built dwellings (post 1965), at under 1%.

240. The tolerable standard consists of 12 criteria (listed in section 7.8.9), failure on one of which leads to a failure overall.

Table 48: Dwellings Below Tolerable Standard ( BTS) by Tenure and Age Band, 2016

Below Tolerable Standard
% 000s % of BTS Stock Sample
Whole Stock 2% 39 100% 2,850
Tenure
Owner-occupied 2% 25 63% 1,790
Private-rented 2% 7 18% 344
Subtotal: Private 2% 31 81% 2,134
Social 1% 7 19% 716
Age of Dwelling
Pre-1919 4% 21 54% 529
1919-1944 2% 7 18% 330
1945-1964 1% 6 15% 640
Post-1965 0% 5 13% 1,351

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

  • were not free from rising/penetrating damp (17,000 or 43% of BTS dwellings);
  • were not satisfactorily insulated (9,000 or 24% of BTS dwellings);
  • were not structurally stable (4,000 or 11% of BTS dwellings).
  • had unsatisfactory provision for lighting, ventilation or heating (4,000 or 10% of BTS dwellings).

6.2.2 Scottish Housing Quality Standard ( SHQS)

242. 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.

243. 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) [46] . 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.

244. Table 49 shows the overall results for the Scottish housing stock for 2016 and the previous 6 years. In 2016, 44.7% of all dwellings failed to meet the SHQS, no difference compared to 2015 but down from 61% in 2010. As in previous years, the highest failure rate was with respect to the Energy Efficient criterion (32.8%), followed by Healthy, Safe and Secure (12.4%) and Modern Facilities (8.6%). There were a very small number of dwellings which did not meet the BTS criterion (1.6%) or the Disrepair criterion (0.1%). Differences from 2015 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 2010-2016

2016 2015 1 2014 1 2013 2012 2011 2010
SHQS 44.7% 45.4% (r) 47.5% 49.1% 54.0% 58.2% 61.0%
BTS 1.6% 1.7% 2.0% 3.0% 3.7% 3.0% 3.6%
Serious Disrepair 0.1% 0.1% 0.1% 0.2% 0.1% 0.5% 0.8%
Energy Efficient 32.8% 33.7% (r) 34.8% 36.3% 42.2% 46.0% 49.2%
Modern Facilities 8.6% 8.8% 11.1% 11.4% 11.9% 13.7% 15.6%
Healthy, Safe and Secure 12.4% 13.4% 13.8% 13.7% 16.1% 17.0% 16.6%

(r) These figures have been revised from the previous publication in order to correct for an error identified in compiling the failure rate for the Energy Efficient criterion relating to 2015, which also affect the overall SHQS failure rate for 2015.
Notes: 1. Figures for 2014-2016 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

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

246. The lowest failure rates are in the newest dwellings (post-1982, 20% fail) and in Housing Associations stock (29% 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.

247. The overall SHQS failure rate for social sector housing in 2016 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 26% (see section 6.2.2.4). SHCS based measures do not make an allowance for abeyances and exemptions.

248. The 5 point reduction in the SHQS failure rate for older, pre-1919 properties is within the margin of error for this survey. The differences between 2015 and 2016 for urban areas and for rural areas are also within the margin of error.

Table 50: Number and Proportion of Dwellings Failing SHQS, 2015 and 2016

2016 2015 (r)
000s % fail Sample 000s % fail Sample
All Scotland 1,097 45% 2,850 1,106 45% 2,754
Tenure
Owned outright 406 51% 988 368 48% 929
Mortgaged 277 40% 802 323 44% 811
LA 159 45% 419 154 46% 380
HA/co-op 78 29% 297 76 30% 279
PRS 176 53% 344 184 54% 355
Private 859 47% 2,134 875 47% 2,095
Social 237 38% 716 230 39% 659
Dwelling Age
pre-1919 238 49% 529 265 54% 489
1919-1944 165 57% 330 169 62% 321
1945-1964 279 53% 640 271 52% 608
1965-1982 293 55% 627 296 54% 644
post-1982 122 20% 724 104 18% 692
Location
Urban 888 43% 2,189 906 45% 2,147
Rural 209 51% 661 200 48% 607

(r) Figures relating to 2015 have been revised from the previous publication in order to correct for an error identified in compiling the failure rate for the Energy Efficient criterion, also affecting the overall SHQS failure rate.

6.2.2.2 Individual SHQS Criteria

249. Table 51 shows the failure rates for each criterion of the SHQS for private and social sector housing since 2010. 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 2015 and 2016 shown in Table 51 are within the survey margin of error.

250. The SHCS estimates that 38% of social sector housing failed to meet the SHQS in 2016. This was predominantly due to the Energy Efficient criterion, 26% of properties failed on this measure. Nine per cent failed the Healthy, Safe and Secure criterion and 8% failed the Modern Facilities criterion. The share of those not meeting the BTS or the Disrepair criterion was negligible.

Table 51: SHQS Criteria Failure Rates by Tenure, 2010-2016

2016 1 2015 1 2014 1 2013 2012 2011 2010
All tenures
SHQS Overall 45% 45% (r) 47% 49% 54% 58% 61%
Below Tolerable Standard 2% 2% 2% 3% 4% 3% 4%
Serious Disrepair 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 1% 1%
Not Energy Efficient 33% 34% (r) 35% 36% 42% 46% 49%
Lacking Modern Facilities/Services 9% 9% 11% 11% 12% 14% 16%
Not Healthy, Safe or Secure 12% 13% 14% 14% 16% 17% 17%
Private
SHQS Overall 47% 47% (r) 48% 51% 55% 60% 61%
Below Tolerable Standard 2% 2% 2% 3% 4% 4% 4%
Serious Disrepair 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 1% 1%
Not Energy Efficient 35% 36% (r) 37% 39% 43% 49% 51%
Lacking Modern Facilities/Services 9% 9% 11% 11% 11% 13% 13%
Not Healthy, Safe or Secure 14% 14% 14% 14% 17% 17% 17%
Social
SHQS Overall 38% 39% (r) 45% 43% 52% 52% 60%
Below Tolerable Standard 1% 1% 1% 3% 3% 1% 2%
Serious Disrepair - - 0% 0% 0% 0% 0%
Not Energy Efficient 26% 27% (r) 30% 28% 39% 37% 44%
Lacking Modern Facilities/Services 8% 8% 12% 12% 15% 15% 22%
Not Healthy, Safe or Secure 9% 10% 14% 13% 13% 15% 16%

(r) These figures have been revised from the previous publication in order to correct for an error identified in compiling the failure rate for the Energy Efficient criterion relating to 2015, which also affect the overall SHQS failure rate for 2015.

Notes: 1. Figures for 2014-2016 are not fully comparable to previous years.

6.2.2.3 Number of Criteria and Elements Failing

251. 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 [47] .

252. 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 2016 were due to a single criterion: 35% of dwellings in the whole stock and 33% of social sector dwellings failed the SHQS because of a single criterion. This constitutes respectively 79% (for all housing) and 85% (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. 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.

Table 52: Number and Proportion of Dwellings by Numbers of SHQS Criteria Failures, All Housing, 2010, 2013-2016

Number of Criteria Fail 2016 2015 (r) 2014 2013 2010
000s Col % 000s Col % 000s Col % 000s Col % 000s Col %
None 1,355 55% 1,328 55% 1,271 53% 1,222 51% 920 39%
1 867 35% 843 35% 865 36% 880 37% 980 42%
2 202 8% 226 9% 227 9% 236 10% 352 15%
3+ 28 1% 37 2% 58 2% 64 3% 106 4%
Total Dwellings 2,452 100% 2,434 100% 2,420 100% 2,402 100% 2,357 100%
Criteria Fails as % of All assessed 11% 12% 12% 13% 17%
Sample size 2,850 2,754 2,682 2,725 3,115

(r) Figures relating to 2015 have been revised from the previous publication in order to correct for an error identified in compiling the failure rate for the Energy Efficient criterion, also affecting the overall SHQS failure rate.

Table 53: Number and Proportion of Dwellings by Numbers of SHQS Criteria Failures, Social Dwellings, 2010-2016

Number of Criteria Failing 2016 2015 (r) 2014 2013 2010
000s Col % 000s Col % 000s Col % 000s Col % 000s Col %
None 385 62% 359 61% 347 55% 344 57% 252 40%
1 202 33% 191 32% 216 34% 201 33% 257 41%
2 35 6% 35 6% 54 9% 51 8% 95 15%
3+ - - 4 1% 10 2% 13 2% 29 5%
Total Dwellings 622 100% 589 100% 627 100% 608 100% 633 100%
Criteria Fails as % of All Assessed 9% 9% 11% 11% 17%
Sample size 716 659 673 662 798

(r) Figures relating to 2015 have been revised from the previous publication in order to correct for an error identified in compiling the failure rate for the Energy Efficient criterion, also affecting the overall SHQS failure rate.

Table 54. Number and Proportion of Social Sector Dwellings by Number of SHQS Element Failures, and Most Common Single-Element Failures, 2016

Number of Element Failures 000s % of All Dwellings % of Failing Dwellings
None 385 62%
1 element 170 27% 72%
of which
Cavity wall insulation (C31) 77
Pipe and tank insulation (C33) 19
At least six kitchen sockets (D39) 12
Secure external doors (E53) 10
Adequate food storage space (D40) 10
Safe common front and rear doors (E55) 7
2 elements 47 8% 20%
3 or more elements 20 3% 8%
Subtotal: dwellings failing the SHQS 237 100%
All social sector dwellings 622 100%
Sample size 716

253. Table 54 shows the distribution of social sector dwellings by the number of elements failed. Nearly three quarters (72%) of dwellings failing the SHQS did so because of a single element, and another fifth (20%) 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, presence of at least six electrical sockets in the kitchen, external doors to dwellings with adequate locks, presence of a minimum of 1m 3 food storage in the kitchen, and secure front and rear access to dwellings in common block ( Table 54).

6.2.2.4 SHQS Compliance and Cavity Wall Insulation

254. 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 August 2017 [48] . It reported that 94% of social homes met the SHQS in 2016/17.

255. 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.

256. 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.

257. 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 (revised) and 2016

Dwellings Failing the Energy Efficient Criterion Dwellings Failing the SHQS Overall
000s % 000s %
2016
inc. CWI element 159 26% 237 38%
exc. CWI element 68 11% 160 26%
Difference -91 -15 pts -77 -12 pts
2015(r)
inc. CWI element 159 27% 237 39%
exc. CWI element 68 12% 160 26%
Difference -91 -15 pts -77 -13 pts

258. In 2016, almost one fifth of social dwellings (17% or 107,000 dwellings) are recorded as failing the CWI element of the SHQS. Excluding this element from the compliance requirement leads to a 15 percentage point reduction in the energy efficiency element failure rate and a 12 percentage point reduction in SHQS failure. This amounts to around 77,000 fewer social sector dwellings failing the SHQS and an overall SHQS failure rate of 26%.

6.3 Overcrowding and Under-Occupancy

  • In 2016 around 67,000 households lived in overcrowded accommodation (3%) under the bedroom standard.
  • Around 912,000 (37%) households had one bedroom in excess of the minimum requirement under the bedroom standard. A further 777,000 (32%) 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 (52% compared to 20% in the private sector) but social and private tenants are as likely to live in overcrowded accommodation (3% respectively).

259. 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) Bill 2003 [49] taking into account the number of bedrooms available in the dwelling and the type of the household that occupies it.

260. 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 7.8.8 .

261. Figure 31 and Table 56 show how headline occupancy measures have changed over time. There was no significant change in these headline measures between 2015 and 2016. In 2016, the national rate of households with at least one bedroom above the minimum standard was 69%. The rate of overcrowding has stayed stable since 2009 (3%), and is lower than the peak observed in 2004/5 (4%).

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

Figure 31: Proportion of Dwellings Which are Overcrowded, Meet the Minimum Standard, Exceed it by 1 Bedroom or Exceed by 2 or More Bedrooms, 2003/4-2016
Figure 31: Proportion of Dwellings Which are Overcrowded, Meet the Minimum Standard, Exceed it by 1 Bedroom or Exceed by 2 or More Bedrooms, 2003/4-2016

Table 56: Dwellings Which Are Below The Standard, Meet The Minimum Requirement, Or Exceed It By 1, 2 Or + bedrooms, 2010, 2015, 2016

Bedroom Standard 2016 2015 2010
000s % 000s % 000s %
Below Standard 67 3% 70 3% 61 3%
Compliance: minimum requirements 695 28% 749 31% 644 27%
Above Standard 1,690 69% 1,615 66% 1,652 70%
1 bedroom above minimum 912 37% 900 37% 898 38%
2+ bedrooms above minimum 777 32% 715 29% 754 32%
2 bedrooms above minimum 560 23% 503 21% 543 23%
3 or more bedrooms above minimum 217 9% 211 9% 211 9%
Total 2,452 100% 2,434 100% 2,402 100%
Sample Size 2,850 2,754 3,115

6.3.1 Overcrowding

263. A dwelling is considered overcrowded if there are insufficient bedrooms to meet the occupants' requirements under the bedroom standard definition (see section 7.8.8).

264. Around 3%, or 67,000 households, lived in overcrowded accommodation in 2016. There was no difference overall between social and private sector dwellings in overcrowding, both also having a rate of 3%. However, there was a 4 percentage point drop in overcrowded households who rent from their local authority, compared to 2015 (from 6% to 1%).

Table 57: Overcrowding by Tenure and Housing Type, Dwelling Age Band, Income Band and Location, 2015 and 2016

Overcrowded under Bedroom Standard
2016 2015
000s % Sample 000s % Sample
Tenure
Owned 9 1% 988 7 1% 929
Mortgaged 15 2% 802 18 2% 811
LA 5 1% 419 19 6% 380
HA 15 6% 297 10 4% 279
PRS 23 7% 344 16 5% 355
Private 48 3% 2,134 41 2% 2,095
Social 20 3% 716 29 5% 659
Age of dwelling
pre-1919 9 2% 529 18 4% 489
1919-1944 8 3% 330 * * 321
1945-1964 14 3% 640 24 5% 608
1965-1982 14 3% 627 12 2% 644
post-1982 22 4% 724 12 2% 692
Dwelling Type
Detached * * 767 * * 692
Semi-detached 9 2% 606 12 3% 594
Terraced 18 3% 620 13 3% 626
Tenement 24 4% 506 30 5% 506
Other flats 14 4% 351 11 3% 336
Weekly Household Income
< £200 5 2% 355 11 4% 328
£200-300 10 2% 506 9 2% 475
£300-400 16 4% 436 20 5% 463
£400-500 4 2% 312 4 2% 322
£500-700 11 3% 516 13 3% 480
£700+ 14 2% 669 10 2% 640
Location
urban 58 3% 2,189 63 3% 2,147
rural 9 2% 661 7 2% 607
Scotland 67 3% 2,850 70 3% 2,754

265. Households who own their properties outright and those in the local authority sector had below the average national overcrowding rate.

6.3.2 Under-Occupancy

266. In 2016 around 912,000 (37%) had one additional bedroom above the minimum under the bedroom standard. 777,000 (32%) households had two or more bedrooms in excess of the minimum standard.

267. In 2016, there were both differences and similarities between residents in private housing and the social housing sector for different measures of under-occupancy. Social sector tenants are more likely to live in accommodation which is at the level meeting the minimum requirements of the bedroom standard (52% compared to 20% in the private sector). In contrast, households in the social housing sector are less likely to have two or more bedrooms in excess of the minimum requirements: 9% have two or more additional rooms, compared to 40% of private sector households. However, rates of social and private sector households with just one bedroom in excess of minimum requirements (36% and 38% respectively) are similar.

268. There are also differences within the private sector. Those households which own outright (52%) or are mortgaged (36%) are more likely to have at least 2 additional rooms than those renting in the private sector (16%).

269. Higher income households (£700+ per week) are more likely to live in dwellings with additional bedrooms. Of them, 46% have two or more additional bedrooms.

270. Under-occupied dwellings are more common among the oldest (pre-1919) and the newest properties (post-82), where 37% of both groups had two or more bedrooms in excess of the bedroom standard. Similarly, detached houses have the highest rates of under-occupancy compared to other building types: 65% with two or more additional bedrooms.

271. Under-occupation is more common in rural areas. 47% of rural dwellings have two or more bedrooms in excess of the minimum requirements under the bedroom standard, compared to 29% for urban properties; however rates for only one bedroom above the minimum standard are similar between rural and urban properties.

272. Changes from 2015 on the measures shown in Table 58 and Table 59 are mostly within the margin of error for this survey. An increase of eight percentage points in the proportion of housing association households with one bedroom above the minimum was recorded in 2016; this coincided with a 7 percentage point increase overall for households in the social sector with one bedroom above the minimum standard and an equivalent reduction in households in the social sector meeting the standard. These particular under-occupancy rates are similar to pre-2015 rates.

273. Longer term, the proportion of social dwellings with two or more additional bedrooms has dropped 4 percentage points, from 13% in 2011 to 9% in 2016. In the same period the proportion of social sector households at the minimum bedroom standard has increased from 46% to 59% in 2015 and then decreased to 52% in 2016.

Table 58: Above Minimum Standard, by Tenure, Dwelling Age, Type and Location, 2015 and 2016

2016 2015
2+ additional 1 additional Sample 2+ additional 1 additional Sample
000s % 000s % 000s % 000s %
Tenure
Owned 416 52% 299 37% 988 387 51% 294 39% 929
Mortgaged 253 36% 275 39% 802 242 33% 297 40% 811
LA 37 11% 131 37% 419 22 6% 107 32% 380
HA/co-op 17 6% 93 34% 297 17 7% 66 26% 279
PRS 54 16% 115 35% 344 47 14% 136 40% 355
Private 723 40% 689 38% 2,134 676 37% 727 39% 2,095
Social 54 9% 224 36% 716 39 7% 173 29% 659
Age of dwelling
pre-1919 179 37% 129 27% 529 150 31% 149 31% 489
1919-1944 84 29% 124 43% 330 65 24% 129 47% 321
1945-1964 136 26% 230 44% 640 129 25% 202 39% 608
1965-1982 150 28% 208 39% 627 163 29% 199 36% 644
post-1982 229 37% 222 36% 724 208 35% 221 37% 692
Dwelling Type
Detached 365 65% 161 29% 767 345 65% 146 27% 692
Semi 183 39% 182 38% 606 160 33% 196 41% 594
Terraced 147 28% 213 40% 620 140 27% 207 40% 626
Tenement 46 8% 210 37% 506 38 7% 203 35% 506
Other flats 36 11% 146 46% 351 32 10% 149 46% 336
Weekly Household Income
< £200 74 24% 113 37% 355 70 24% 102 34% 328
£200-300 87 19% 183 40% 506 90 21% 159 38% 475
£300-400 107 28% 149 39% 436 98 23% 169 40% 463
£400-500 85 32% 89 34% 312 73 26% 98 36% 322
£500-700 149 35% 164 38% 516 123 29% 169 39% 480
£700+ 261 46% 201 35% 669 250 46% 183 34% 640
Urban-rural indicator
urban 585 29% 773 38% 2,189 526 26% 771 38% 2,147
rural 192 47% 140 34% 661 189 46% 129 31% 607
Scotland 777 32% 912 37% 2,850 715 29% 900 37% 2,754

Table 59: Households Meeting the Minimum Bedroom Standard, by Tenure, Dwelling Age, Type and Location, 2015 and 2016

2016 2015
000s % Sample 000s % Sample
Tenure
Owned 79 10% 988 387 10% 929
Mortgaged 154 22% 802 242 25% 811
LA 180 51% 419 22 56% 380
HA 145 54% 297 17 63% 279
PRS 137 42% 344 47 42% 355
Private 370 20% 2,134 676 22% 2,095
Social 325 52% 716 39 59% 659
Age of dwelling
pre-1919 166 34% 529 150 35% 489
1919-1944 71 25% 330 65 28% 321
1945-1964 146 28% 640 129 32% 608
1965-1982 163 30% 627 163 33% 644
post-1982 149 24% 724 208 26% 692
Dwelling Type
Detached 32 6% 767 345 7% 692
Semi-detached 99 21% 606 160 23% 594
Terraced 154 29% 620 140 31% 626
Tenement 286 51% 506 38 53% 506
Other flats 124 39% 351 32 41% 336
Weekly Household Income
< £200 111 37% 355 70 38% 328
£200-300 172 38% 506 90 39% 475
£300-400 112 29% 436 98 32% 463
£400-500 86 33% 312 73 36% 322
£500-700 107 25% 516 123 29% 480
£700+ 94 16% 669 250 18% 640
Location
urban 625 31% 2,189 526 33% 2,147
rural 69 17% 661 189 21% 607
Scotland 695 28% 2,850 715 31% 2,754

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