Social Tenants in Scotland, 2016
An Official Statistics Publication for Scotland.
Scotland’s Chief Statistician today released Social Tenants in Scotland 2016, the second annual statistical compendium publication on social tenants and social rented housing in Scotland, covering topic areas such as stock, household characteristics, housing flows, and rents and income levels. The publication is based on an analysis of a range of existing data sources, and includes trend data for earlier years and comparisons with other housing tenures and with other parts of the UK where possible.
Numbers of Social Tenants and Social Housing Stock Provision:
- There were an estimated 1.17 million people living in social rented housing in Scotland in 2016, a similar figure to the estimated 1.14 million people in the previous year.
- Social rented housing stock in 2016 was provided by 161 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 2016 totalled 594,458 units (316,553 local authority properties and 277,905, housing association properties), a slight decrease of 594 (0.1%) homes from 595,052 units in 2015.
- Local authorities generally had a larger size of stock in 2016 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.
- 71% of housing associations operated in a single local authority area in 2016, 19% operated in 2 to 5 different local authority areas, whilst the remaining 10% operated across 6 or more local authority areas.
- At a Scotland level 53% of social rented housing stock in 2016 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:
- 30% of social rented households in 2016 were single working age adults, an increase from 18% in 1999. 19% of households were single pensioners, a decrease from 25% in 1999.
- The average age of the highest income householder in social rented housing in 2016 was 52 years, similar to the average of 53 years in 1999.
- Social rented households in Scotland in 2016 had a higher proportion of female highest income householders (53%) than private rented households (45%), 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 2016 were employed (24% employed full time, 11% employed part time, and 3% self-employed). 23% of adults were retired from work, 13% were permanently sick or disabled, 9% were looking after the home or family, and 9% were unemployed and seeking work.
- In the period 2013 to 2016, 86% of adults in social rented households stated they were ‘White Scottish’, a higher percentage than private rented households (57%).
- 3% of adults in social rented households identified as lesbian, gay, bisexual or other in 2015, a similar percentage to the private rented sector (3%), but higher than in households that were owned outright (1%) or owned with a mortgage (1%), however these differences are only marginally statistically significant.
- In the period from 2013 to 2016, 52% of adults in social rented housing said they had no religion, an increase on the 45% between 2009 and 2012. The percentage of adults with a Church of Scotland religion decreased over this time period from 29% to 22%, whilst the proportion with a Roman Catholic religion stayed similar from 18% to 17%.
- In 2016/17 there were a total of 52,924 social rented housing lets, a drop of 1,108 lets, or 2%, on the 54,032 lets in 2015/16.
- In 2016/17 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 2016.
- 38% of lets by local authorities in 2016/17 were to housing list applicants, compared to 52% of lets by housing associations. (Where applicants were not already existing tenants).
- In 2016/17 90% of local authority lets and 82% of housing association lets were general needs lets.
- Adults in social rented households in Scotland in 2016 had been at their current address for an average of 11 years, a shorter average time than in 1999 (12 years).
- Local authority properties were on average empty for 36.0 calendar days before being re-let in 2016/17. Housing association properties were on average empty for 26.8 calendar days.
- For social rented households in Scotland in which an adult had moved into the address within the last 12 months in 2016, nearly half of adults (49%) had a previous address which was also social rented. 16% had a previous address that was their parental/family home, whilst 19% had a previous address that was rented privately.
Housing Costs and Income:
- The average weekly rent for a social sector property in Scotland in 2016/17 was £74.44, an increase of 2.1% on the previous year. Housing association rents averaged £80.28 per week, 16% higher than local authority rents of £69.20.
- 68% of social rented households in 2016 had a net income of £20k or less, which compares to 45% of private rented households, 45% of households owned outright and 16% of households buying with a mortgage
- Across the period 2013/14 to 2015/16, 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 of the publication 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 2013/14 to 2015/16, lower than the equivalent figures of 50% for England and 46% for Wales.
- 61% of social rented households received housing benefit in 2016, with a further 1% receiving the housing element of universal credit. This compares to 23% of private rented sector households receiving housing benefit, with a further 1% receiving the housing element of universal credit.
- 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 84% for private rented households.
- In 2016, 31% of social rented households in Scotland stated that they managed well financially, an increase from 21% in 1999.
The full statistical publication is available online.
This compendium publication presents an overview of social tenants and social rented housing in Scotland for the year 2016, and covers various topic areas such as stock, household characteristics, housing flows, and rents and income levels. It includes trend data for earlier years and comparisons with other housing tenures and with other parts of the UK.
It is based on an analysis of a range of existing Official Statistics data sources such as the Scottish Household Survey, the Family Resources Survey, and Scottish Government Housing Statistics collected from local authorities, along with figures (not Official Statistics) from the Scottish Housing Regulator Social Housing Charter Indicator Data.
The main users of this publication are likely to include those involved in social housing policy and practice, researchers, tenants, social landlords, and other individuals with an interest in social tenants and social rented housing. The publication also helps to fill the gap in information available about social housing tenants following the cessation of the Scottish Government SCORE data collection and publication on housing association new lets, which ran up to and including the year 2014/15. Further information about the cessation of the SCORE collection is available online.
Official statistics are produced in accordance with professional standards – more information on the standards of official statistics in Scotland can be accessed online.