Number of Social Tenants and Social Housing Stock Provision:
- There were an estimated 1.14 million people living in social rented housing in Scotland in 2015, a similar figure to the estimated 1.15 million people in the previous year.
- Social rented housing stock in 2015 was provided by 160 housing associations and 26 out of 32 local authorities. (With 6 authorities no longer managing housing stock due to previous stock transfers to housing associations).
- Social rented housing stock in 2015 totalled 595,052 units (317,005 local authority properties and 278,047 housing association properties), a slight increase of 86 homes from 594,966 units in 2014.
- Local authorities generally had a larger size of stock in 2015 compared to housing associations, with almost two-thirds (65%) of the 26 local authorities having stock levels between 5,001 and 20,000 homes, whilst more than eight in ten (83%) housing associations had stock levels of 2,500 homes or less.
- 70% of housing associations operated in a single local authority area in 2015, 18% operated in 2 to 5 different local authority areas, whilst the remaining 12% operated across 6 or more local authority areas.
- At a Scotland level 53% of social rented housing stock in 2015 was owned by local authorities, with 47% being owned by housing associations.
- In 2015 Scotland had a higher proportion of social renting stock (23%) compared to both England (17%) and Wales (16%).
Characteristics of Social Tenants:
- 31% of social rented households in 2015 were single working age adults, an increase from 18% in 1999. 18% of households were single pensioners, a decrease from 25% in 1999.
- The average age of the highest income householder in social rented housing in 2015 was 51 years, a decrease from 53 years in 1999.
- Social rented households in Scotland in 2015 had a higher proportion of female highest income householders (55%) than private rented households (43%), households with the property bought with a mortgage (35%) and households where the property was owned outright (40%).
- 38% of adults in social rented households in 2015 were employed (24% employed full time, 12% employed part time, and 2% self-employed). 22% of adults were retired from work, 13% were permanently sick or disabled, 10% were looking after the home or family, and 9% were unemployed and seeking work.
- In the period 2013 to 2015, 86% of adults in social rented households stated they were 'White Scottish', a higher percentage than private rented households (57%).
- In 2015/16 there were a total of 54,009 social rented housing lets, a slight drop of 419 lets, or 1%, on the 54,428 lets in 2014/15. This was driven by a drop of 748, or 3%, in local authority lets. Housing association lets increased by 329, or 1%.
- In 2015/16 49% of lets were by local authorities, and 51% were by housing associations. This compares to local authorities having 53% of all social rented housing stock as at March 2015.
- 41% of lets by local authorities in 2015/16 were to housing list applicants, compared to 52% of lets by housing associations. (Where applicants were not already existing tenants).
- In 2015/16 89% of local authority lets and 81% of housing association lets were general needs lets.
- Adults in social rented households in Scotland in 2015 had been at their current address for an average of 10 years, a shorter average time than in 1999 (12 years).
- Local authority properties were on average empty for 41.5 calendar days before being re-let in 2015/16. Housing association properties were on average empty for 29.0 calendar days.
- For social rented households in Scotland in which an adult had moved into the address within the last 12 months in 2015, nearly half of adults (46%) had a previous address which was also social rented. 25% had a previous address that was their parental / family home, whilst 17% had a previous address that was rented privately.
Housing Costs and Income:
- The average weekly rent for a social sector property in Scotland in 2015/16 was £72.99, an increase of 2.8% on the previous year. Housing association rents averaged £81.14 per week, 20% higher than local authority rents of £67.57.
- 74% of social rented households in 2015 had a net income of £20k or less, which compares to 49% of private rented households, 49% of households owned outright and 17% of households buying with a mortgage.
- Across the period 2012/13 to 2014/15, social rented households in Scotland spent an average of 24% of their net income on housing costs. This figure compares to equivalent figures of 25% for private rented households, 9% for households owning their property with a mortgage and 3% for households owning their property outright. (Note that housing costs include rent gross of housing benefit, as well as water rates and service charges where applicable. Net income relates to all household income after personal taxes and council tax have been netted off. See Section 5 for further details of how this percentage figure has been calculated).
- 32% of social rented households in Scotland spent more than 30% of their net income on housing costs in the period 2012/13 to 2014/15, lower than the equivalent figures of 48% for England and 45% for Wales.
- 62% of local authority households, 63% of housing association households, and 25% of private rented sector households received Housing Benefit in 2015.
- For households claiming housing benefit, social rented households had on average 94% of the value of their housing costs covered by housing benefit (calculation based on a median ratio figure), which compares to 83% for private rented households.
- In 2015, 28% of social rented households in Scotland stated that they managed well financially, an increase from 21% in 1999.
Email: Esther Laird