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Cases or reasons for eviction

If you are a regulated tenant and your landlord wants to evict you they must provide a reason or 'case'. This page lists the cases that can be used for the eviction of regulated tenants.

How will I know which case is being used?

If your landlord has asked the sheriff court for an order for your eviction, you should have received a summons from the sheriff court. On the summons it should state the case or cases (the reasons) for your eviction.

Because no new regulated tenancies have been created since 1989, some of these cases no longer apply, or are very unlikely to apply. The conditions surrounding the cases can be complicated, so it's best to get advice if you are a regulated tenant facing eviction. An adviser may be able to prove that the case your landlord is using to evict you does not apply to you.

About cases 1-10

In these cases, the court will only grant an order for your eviction if:

  • the case definitely applies to you, and
  • it isreasonable for you to be evicted, or
  • there is suitable alternative accommodation available.

The alternative accommodation should:

  • come with the same terms and conditions as your previous accommodation
  • be as suitable for the needs of you and your family as your previous accommodation.

These are called discretionary cases, because the sheriff must use their discretion to decide whether it is reasonable for your landlord to evict you.

Case 1: rent arrears or breaking your tenancy agreement

If you get behind with paying your rent, you will build up arrears. In order for this ground to apply, the arrears must still be outstanding when the case comes to court:

  • If you are having problems paying your rent and your landlord wants to evict you for rent arrears, you should get advice immediately.
  • If you have built up rent arrears because your housing benefit has been delayed or hasn't been paid, the sheriff may take this into consideration when looking at your case. However, you must be able to show that you have done everything to make sure that housing benefit should have been paid, for example, handing in your claim form and providing any information that was requested.
  • Your landlord can't evict you over rent you've rightfully withheld because repairs have not been carried out. However, withholding rent is a risky strategy, and you should get advice if you're considering doing this. Call Shelter Scotland's free housing advice helpline 0808 800 4444.

You can also be evicted for breaking other terms of your tenancy agreement.

Case 2: nuisance or annoyance

Your landlord has grounds for eviction if you or anyone living with you is found to have caused nuisance or annoyance in or around your home. Causing nuisance means that your behaviour adversely affects the comfort and quality of life of the people living around you. This can cover any kind of behaviour, including making noise. One incident of noisy behaviour may be enough to evict you on this ground, although the complaint would have to be very serious for this to happen.

Case 3: deterioration of the condition of house

If you or someone living with you or subletting from you has caused the property to get into a bad state, either by damaging or neglecting it, this can also be a reason for eviction. If the damage was caused by somebody else, you can be evicted if you didn't take steps to stop them.

Case 4: deterioration of furniture

This is the same as case 3, except it deals with any furniture supplied with the accommodation.

Case 5: tenant has given notice to quit

This case deals with the situation where the tenant has given a notice to quit then changed their mind, but in the meantime the landlord has contracted to sell the property, or set in motion other plans which they couldn't complete if the tenant were allowed to remain. It is unlikely that repossession will be granted on this ground if the landlord hasn't taken any positive steps to do something with the property after receiving the notice to quit.

Case 6: subletting or assigning without permission

If you sublet part or all of your home, or pass your tenancy on to someone else without your landlord's permission, they may be able to evict you under this case.

Case 7: accommodation required by landlord for full-time employee

Your landlord may be able to evict you if they need your home for a full-time employee, provided that:

  • you are a former employee and have lived in the accommodation as tied accommodation, or
  • the new employee is needed to work on an agricultural holding or estate.

Case 8: accommodation reasonably required by landlord for occupation

In this case, the term 'family' relates to the landlord, their children (provided they are over 18 years old), their parents and, in certain circumstances, their parents-in-law.

Case 9: excessive charge for sublet

Your landlord can evict you if you sublet your home and charge more rent than you are being charged yourself.

Case 10: overcrowding

This relates to the situation where the accommodation is so overcrowded that it is dangerous or harmful to the occupants, and the overcrowding is the result of having a lodger or subtenant whom it would be reasonable to ask to leave.

About cases 10 -21

If your landlord has stated any of cases 10-21, they don't need to prove that it would be reasonable for you to be evicted. These are called mandatory cases. If the court is satisfied that a mandatory case applies, it must grant an order for your eviction. Usually, the landlord must have given you written notice when you took on the tenancy that they might need to regain possession of the property using that particular case.

Case 11: the owner or their heirs require the property

This case covers a number of situations:

  • if the owner needs the accommodation for themself or a member of their family to live in
  • if the owner has died, and a family member who was living with them at their death needs the property to live in
  • if the owner has died, and the person who has inherited the property needs to live there
  • if the property is not suitable for the landlord, in relation to their work, and they need to sell it in order to buy something more suitable
  • if the landlord has defaulted on their mortgage and their lender has become entitled to sell the property in order to pay off the debt.

Case 12: retirement property

If the landlord acquired the accommodation with a view to retiring there, you can be evicted if the following circumstances apply:

  • Your landlord has now retired and requires the house to live in.
  • Your landlord has died, and a family member who was living with them at their death needs the property to live in, or the person who has inherited the property needs to live there.
  • Your landlord has died, and their personal representatives want to sell the property.
  • Your landlord has defaulted on their mortgage, and the lender is entitled to sell it to pay off the debt.
  • The property is no longer suitable for the newly retired landlord, and they have to sell it to buy a suitable place.

Case 13: holiday lets

This case can no longer be used.

Case 14: educational off-term lets

This case can no longer be used.

Case 15: short tenancies

If the tenancy was a short tenancy, the court will grant possession, provided that it has been properly brought to an end by a valid notice to quit. There are unlikely to be many short tenancies still in existence in Scotland.

Case 16: minister/lay person/missionary property

Where a property is intended as tied accommodation for a minister or full-time lay missionary, but has been let on a regulated tenancy in the meantime, the religious organisation may recover possession.

Case 17: agricultural worker

If someone (not an ex-employee or ex-employee's widow/widower) becomes a regulated tenant of property which was agricultural tied accommodation, the landlord will be granted possession if they need the property for agricultural tied accommodation again.

Case 18: amalgamation of farms

Where farms have been amalgamated and, after the amalgamation, property was let on a regulated tenancy to a non-farm worker, the landlord can recover the property if it is once again needed for tied accommodation.

Case 19: farm occupation

If farm property has been let to a retired farmer (or their widow/widower) and the landlord needs the property back to be used again by a working farmer, this case can be used.

Case 20: specially designed or adapted house

Your landlord can only evict you from property designed or adapted for people with special needs if neither you nor any member of your household has these needs and your landlord wants to let the property to someone who does.

Case 21: armed forces personnel

This case relates to tenancies granted after 30 November 1980. If you rent your home from a member of the armed forces and they now need the property back to live in, possession will be granted. Possession will also be granted if:

  • the landlord needs to sell the house to buy more suitable property
  • the landlord has died and their heirs need to move in or sell the property
  • the landlord has defaulted on their mortgage, and the lender has repossessed the property.

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The important points

  • If you have a regulated tenancy your landlord must give you a case (reason) for evicting you.
  • The cases (reasons) for eviction fall into two categories - discretionary and mandatory. The difference is that discretionary cases still allow the sheriff to decide whether to grant the court order that is required for eviction.
  • Be aware that 1989 was when the last regulated tenancies were created. Some of the reasons might not apply or are unlikely to apply, so you should get advice if you have this kind of tenancy and think you are going to be evicted.

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