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One in three homes in Scotland do not meet public’s idea of a decent home

One in three homes in Scotland do not meet public’s idea of a decent home

Tenements on Dalkeith Road, Edinburgh - Sandy Gemmill/Wikimedia Commons

One in three homes in Scotland do not meet the public’s idea of what makes a decent home, new research for Shelter Scotland has found.

A survey by Ipsos MORI for Shelter found that 34 per cent of Scottish homes did not meet the Living Home Standard, a rating produced in consultation with the public on what constitutes the minimum requirement for a good home.

Young people, families with children, renters and people on low incomes were most likely to live in homes that fell below the standard, the research found.

The Living Home Standard was produced by Ipsos MORI on behalf of Shelter in 2016 after carrying out a series of public surveys, discussion groups and workshops.

It is based on 39 criteria split into five areas: affordability, decent conditions, space, stability and neighbourhood.

All homes should meet the standard, regardless of their tenure, size or age.

Some of the attributes were considered essential and others ‘tradable’ – features many people believed were important, but were not universally required.

Essential attributes include that the householder can pay the rent or mortgage without cutting out essential spending on food or heating, that the home can be heated safely and effectively, that it is free of mould and pests, and that it has a toilet and bath or shower and hot and cold running water.

Other essentials include having space to cook and for the family to gather in one room, control over length of stay and feeling safe in the neighbourhood.

Ipsos MORI consulted 1,140 people between January and March this year, asking them to rate their own home in all 39 attributes.

To be considered good, homes had to meet all the essential criteria and a certain number of tradable attributes in all five areas.

Affordability and decent conditions were the top two reasons for homes falling short, with 18 per cent of homes rated failing in each of those two areas.

The majority – 59 per cent – of homes rented from a housing association were considered to fall below the standard, followed by 54 per cent of homes rented from private landlords and local authorities.

This compares with 29 per cent of homes owned with a mortgage and 12 per cent of those owned without a mortgage.

Households with children were more likely to rate their homes as falling below the standard than those without – 43 per cent compared with 31 per cent.

One in ten homes failed on more than one of the five dimensions.

Shelter Scotland commissioned the research as part of its 50th anniversary activities.

Launching the report, Adam Lang, Head of Communications and Policy at Shelter Scotland, said: “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.” 

He added: “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.” 

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