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Housing Lists: a data cube spreadsheet

Total number of applications on waiting lists and transfer lists for a local authority dwelling

Count (Applications) for values of Reference Period
Add 18 columns to data cart
Measure Type
  1. Count
Reference Period
  1. 2001
  2. 2002
  3. 2003
  4. 2004
  5. 2005
  6. 2006
  7. 2007
  8. 2008
  9. 2009
  10. 2010
  11. 2011
  12. 2012
  13. 2013
  14. 2014
  15. 2015
  16. 2016
  17. 2017
  18. 2018
Type Of Housing List
  1. Total
  2. Transfer list
  3. Waiting list
Reference Area
(showing types of area available in these data)
  1. Countries
  2. Council Areas
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About the Dataset
Not supplied
Not supplied
In dataset
Next update due
September 2019

The annual Housing Lists return was introduced in March 2001. It records the total number of applications on waiting lists and transfer lists for a local authority dwelling on local authority housing registers and common housing registers, during the year to 31 March.

It is important to note this is not the number of individuals (or households) applying for local authority housing, but the number of applications received by local authorities for social housing. Each application made is counted. Therefore if a household makes an application to five registers, this will be recorded as five in the statistics. This means that some applicants will be on more than one authority's list, and the Scotland total, therefore the totals include an unquantifiable amount of double counting.

Confidentiality Policy

Information on council stock is collected at an aggregate level. Sensitive or confidential information relating to individual houses or people is not collected.

Quality Management

Data collected on numbers of applications on local authority housing lists is sourced directly from the 32 Local Authorities in Scotland. There is no sampling involved in this data collection and complete coverage of Scotland is usually achieved across most data items. In the event of non-response from a Local Authority, an estimate can be made either based on previous returns or on alternative information sources.

Information provided by Local Authorities is extracted from Management Information Systems. We expect this information to be of good quality as it is used in the day to day housing management as well as for reporting purposes. We also expect the systems to have some built quality assurance.

Scottish Government statisticians carry out quality assurance of data provided from each Local Authority prior to publication. In particular figures are compared to those provided in previous years. Where there appears to be a discrepancy this is queried with the local authority and, if necessary, changes are made either to the latest year’s data or to that for earlier years in order to ensure consistency.

When analysing the figures on numbers of applications on local authority waiting lists for housing, it is useful to be aware of some known data issues:

• Total figures for Scotland may not equal the sum of the waiting list and transfer list columns as some local authorities are unable to break down totals.

• Where councils participate in a common housing register, lists are not separated between local authority and Registered Social Landlords (RSLs).

• Some applicants will be on more than one council waiting list, and the Scotland total therefore includes an unquantifiable amount of double counting. While numbers of applications are recorded accurately within each authority, there is difficulty in recording actual numbers of people wishing to access all social housing and also in determining their current tenure.

• In addition to the inevitable double-counting of people who apply to more than one local authority, households often apply for both council and RSL housing in their desired area. They may no longer need a social house as they take up tenancies with other housing providers or for other reasons but may not be removed from the housing list immediately.

• Some local authorities operate a combined waiting and transfer list, and so cannot provide a breakdown. While the number of applications registered on the Housing Register as at 31 March is deemed to be robust, the split into those on a transfer list and those on a waiting list are less reliable as some councils are unable to split their housing register into waiting and transfer lists. For these councils, the waiting list figure represents all applications, and the transfer list is reported as a missing value. For Orkney, this is the case for the whole time series, therefore this area does not appear on the list if looking at transfer list figures only.

Accuracy and Reliability

Figures are sourced from management information systems therefore there no sampling error or confidence interval that would affect the accuracy of the results, although there may be a small amount of error associated with non-response and subsequent estimation.

Coherence and Comparability

Data on stock by type has been collected in a consistent manner since 2001. The time series is affected by 6 local authorities that transferred all of their stock to housing associations between 2003 and 2007. This means that figures for Glasgow and Scottish Borders are excluded from 2003 onwards, Dumfries & Galloway from 2004, Eilean Siar and Argyll & Bute from 2007 and Inverclyde from 2008.

The Scottish Housing Regulator collect figures on number of applications on waiting lists for social housing, for all social landlords, including RSLs and the 26 local authorities that own housing stock. Although the timing and data sources used by SHR and SG Housing statistics are similar, there may be some differences in definitions which may cause figures to be slightly different in some cases. The Scottish Household Survey (SHS) website also presents information on applications for social housing, based entirely on survey responses. There are some key differences between the SHS and the Housing Statistics Annual Returns, that can cause the totals to differ. The Housing Statistics Annual returns figures are sourced from local authority management information systems, therefore those figures will exclude applicants for social housing in the 6 stock transfer authorities including Glasgow (social housing in stock transfer areas is owned by RSLs). However the figures will include some double or multiple counting, as applicants are free to apply to as many social landlords as they wish. Alternative figures from the Scottish Household Survey are available on the SHS website, are nationally representative and do not include any double counting.

Scottish Household Survey:

Scottish Household Survey website:

Accessibility and Clarity

The return collects information on changes in local authority and common housing register housing lists as at 31 March each year. Applicants who apply through homelessness legislation should not be included on this form (unless they have also applied for housing through other routes. The Waiting list figure includes all new applicants who apply for housing through the standard route. It should not include applicants who currently hold a tenancy with the relevant council. The Transfer list should include only applicants who currently hold a tenancy with the relevant council. The Total is the sum of the Waiting list and Transfer list figures.


The figures on applications on housing registers include the housing registers for local authorities and the common housing registers that they participate in. Some Registered Social Landlords operate their own waiting lists and will not be included in the statistics.

Timeliness and Punctuality

Tables are published on the Scottish Government Housing Statistics website as soon as possible once data collection, data processing and preparation of tables and publication material is complete, generally in September each year. The open data platform will be updated as soon as possible after publication.

Scottish Government Housing Statistics website:


Housing list application figures are subject to routine revisions. The figures may contain estimates where an authority is unable to return data. These are revised in the next scheduled publication following receipt of revised data. Definitions of “Waiting list” and “Transfer list” should be considered consistent across years.


This slice of multidimensional data is not a Linked Data resource in the database: it's a virtual resource (i.e. you can't query it by SPARQL). But does have a permanent unique URL which can be bookmarked.
Dimensions Linked Data

A linked data-orientated view of dimensions and values

Dimension Locked Value
Measure Type
Type Of Housing List
Transfer list
Reference Area
(not locked to a value)
Reference Period
(not locked to a value)