Blog: Social housing: One of Scotland’s best kept secrets?

Sally Thomas

Sally Thomas, chief executive of the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations, reacts to a poll commissioned for Scottish Housing Day.

Social landlords are maintaining a strong performance across all standards and outcomes set by the Scottish Housing Regulator. Results from the latest Annual Return on the Charter (ARC) revealed that 9 out of 10 tenants are satisfied with the homes and services their landlord provides, proving that social housing is a great place to live.

The results also show 84% of RSL tenants are satisfied that their rent is good value for money and 89% of RSL tenants are satisfied with the quality of their homes, both figures up on last year. Some 94% of homes also now meet the Scottish Housing Quality Standard.

Carried out by YouGov, the poll asked 1,066 Scottish adults a series of questions on issues such as the government’s housing policy priorities, factors relating to their ideal home and perceptions around choice and affordability in different tenures.

The results show that only 13% of respondents think that social housing provides the best choice for a high quality home, while 76% believe home ownership provides the opportunity to secure a high quality home.

Performance outlined in the ARC shows that social landlords work tirelessly within a culture of continuous improvement to build and manage high quality affordable homes in successful places that the people of Scotland need and deserve. The Scottish Housing Day Poll only serves to highlight that social housing is one of Scotland’s best kept secrets.

We need a positive re-framing of the housing system, which puts genuinely affordable housing on equal terms with all other options – private rent and homeownership – and not as a last resort. We must start seeing housing through the lens of social justice, a good home for all in a successful community which puts a high quality roof over everyone’s heads and gives everybody the opportunity to make the absolute best of their lives.

We have to recognise that the ‘property ladder’ is a failed concept, and that as providers of some of the best quality, energy efficient, accessible and award winning housing in the country, it’s obvious that social housing is not second best, but a positive choice.

At SFHA we want to see a property democracy, a level playing field of housing options and choices with tenure neutrality in terms of standards and quality, public perception and access. Affordable housing as a positive and equal choice in a re-balanced and mature housing market which delivers from generation to generation according to need and aspiration.