The Scottish Housing Quality Standard (SHQS) was introduced in February 2004 and is the Scottish Government's principal measure of housing quality in Scotland.
Each of the devolved administrations across the UK has a national housing quality standard in place - for example, the Decent Homes Standard in England and Northern Ireland and the Welsh Housing Quality Standard in Wales. Each standard differs in a number of ways, reflecting the choices and priorities of each devolved administration. The SHQS is a set of five broad housing criteria which must all be met if the property is to pass SHQS. These criteria in turn consist of 55 elements and nine sub-elements against which properties need to be measured.
The purpose of introducing a minimum housing standard in Scotland is essentially to provide a 'floor' below which a property should ideally not fall. In the case of the social housing sector (local authority landlords and Registered Social Landlords), Scottish Government has set a policy target for those landlords to bring their stock up to every element of the standard (where applicable) by April 2015. Other public sector landlords, for example university accommodation and the Ministry of Defence are not subject to that policy target. Private sector landlords and owner-occupied households in Scotland are not subject to the April 2015 policy target either but each property can still be assessed against SHQS if required for whatever reason.