More than a third of Scottish homes do not meet public’s desired housing standards

One in three homes in Scotland do not meet people’s expectations of what a good home should be, according to new research published today by Shelter Scotland.

A survey undertaken by from January 12 to March 8 this year, asked 1,140 people in Scotland to rate their home against the Living Home Standard,- which was developed by the public across the UK to define what a good home should provide.

To fully meet the Living Home Standard, people’s homes must satisfy all five ‘dimensions’ of affordability, decent conditions, space, stability and neighbourhood.

The results showed that 34% of Scottish homes failed on one dimension or more and, damningly, it showed that young people, families with children, renters and people on low incomes are most likely to live in homes that don’t meet the new standard.

Shelter Scotland, which commissioned the research by Ipsos MORI as part of its 50th anniversary activities, says the findings show a great divide between homeowners and older people whose homes are more likely to meet the standard compared to younger people and renters.

‘Affordability’ and ‘decent conditions’ were the two key areas where people’s homes failed most often – with an 18% failure rate on each. 8% failed on having adequate space, 6% failed on stability and 3% on neighbourhood. One in ten homes failed on more than one of these five core dimensions.

Launching the landmark report, Adam Lang, head of communications and policy at Shelter Scotland, said: “50 years on from the establishment of Shelter Scotland, this detailed research is a new way of looking at how well Scotland is meeting expectations on housing and where action is needed.

“This report shows us that 1 in 3 people in Scotland feel that their home fails in at least one of the Living Home Standard’s five key dimensions. It is clear that there is still a long way to go on making housing acceptable for everyone in Scotland – especially regarding decent conditions and affordability.

“The most damning conclusion from this research is the housing divide.  The gap between people’s housing aspirations and what their homes actually provide them with is not evenly spread.  For those who are young, who have children, who rent or have lower incomes, the gap is very much larger.”

Adam Lang added: “There is now welcome cross-party support in place on the need to build more social and affordable homes. But what kind of homes? Who are they for? And in which neighbourhoods? A house cannot truly be a home until it provides the quality, space and environment in which the people living in it can flourish. Most crucially, a home must also be affordable.

“In recent years there have been many standards created for housing: the Parker Morris standards, the tolerable standard, the Scottish Housing Quality Standard, to name only a few. All of them defined by professionals after careful deliberation. In this exercise we took a very different approach, by asking people themselves to say what mattered to them about their homes. What they told us, is what makes up the Living Home Standard report. It is a new standard for our homes in Scotland, defined by people, for people.

“A fairer Scotland needs to address the divide highlighted in this research. I believe it offers an opportunity to think about the next big horizons in housing.  Not just how many homes, but how those homes are within the reach of those who need them most.  Not just better standards, but how those standards are delivered on the ground. And not just better legal protection, but how that empowers people to insist their housing rights are met.”

A Scottish Government spokesman said: “We agree that everyone should live in a safe, warm home that meets their needs and they can afford – 98% of all homes in Scotland currently meet minimum statutory standards.

“In the social housing sector, landlords invested over £3 billion from 2007 to 2015 on improvements that have resulted in 94% of social homes meeting the Scottish Housing Quality Standard.

“Equally there has been a marked and sustained improvement in the quality of privately rented homes over the past decade and we will further improve standards in this sector later this year, ensuring that every private tenant can live in a safe and good quality home.”