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Grounds or reasons for eviction from council housing

If your landlord is trying to evict you, they have to provide a reason or ground. This page lists the grounds that can be used by councils, housing associations and housing co-ops. Depending on the ground used, you may be evicted but offered alternative accommodation.

How will I know what ground is being used for eviction?

If your landlord is trying to evict you, you should have received a notice of proceedings. If you are not sure what this is, go to the page on the eviction process. The ground(s) being used will be included in the notice.

If you have received a summons (a letter notifying you of a court date), this will also include the ground(s) being used.

About grounds 1-7

Your landlord will use one of these grounds as a reason if they want to evict you because of something you have done, or not done. For example, you may be accused of behaving in an antisocial way or you could have failed to pay your rent. These are called conduct grounds because your landlord must prove to the sheriff that your conduct merits eviction. The sheriff will hear all the details of the case and decide if it is reasonable to evict you or not.

1. Rent arrears or breaking your tenancy agreement

If your landlord wants to evict you because of rent arrears then they will have to follow the pre-action requirements before they can start any eviction action, find out more about Eviction because of rent arrears

If ground 1 has been stated on your notice of proceedings or summons because you have broken a condition of your tenancy agreement, it should also state which condition this was.

2. Using the house for immoral or illegal purposes or other criminal offences

Ground 2 can only be used if you or someone you live with has received a conviction for an offence that was committed in your home or in the area near your home. For example, dealing drugs in the area, or allowing your house to be used for prostitution.

3. Deterioration of the property or common parts

If you or someone living with you has caused the property to get into a bad state, either by damaging or neglecting it, this can be a ground for eviction. This includes deterioration in the condition of areas you share with your neighbours, such as the stairwell or garden.

If you are finding it difficult to care for your home because of health problems, you should discuss this with your landlord. You may find our section about getting care at home useful.

4. Deterioration of furniture

Damaging the furniture or fittings of the property is a ground for eviction. This includes furniture in a common area such as a garden.

5. You are absent from the property

Your landlord can use this ground if they think that you have not lived in your home for six months or you are staying somewhere else so often that it has become your main home.

If you have a good reason for being away from the property (for example, you have been working away, caring for a family member or in hospital) you should make your landlord aware of this. Genuine absence cannot be used as a reason for eviction. You may need to prove why you were away from home, for example by providing a letter from your employer if you work away, or a from your doctor if you have been in hospital.

6. You made a false statement to obtain the property

If you knowingly lied when you applied for housing, this can be used as a ground for eviction. For example, if you had rent arrears at a previous tenancy, but said on your housing application form that you didn't have any arrears, you would have knowingly lied.

7. Antisocial behaviour or conduct amounting to harassment

This ground can be used if you, or someone living with or visiting you, has caused alarm, distress, nuisance or annoyance to the people around you by being noisy, violent, threatening, destructive, verbally abusive or failing to control pets.

The behaviour above need not have happened in your home, but could have happened in your neighbourhood.

If this ground is used against you, your landlord must demonstrate that it would not be reasonable to re-house you somewhere else. For example, if the antisocial behaviour has been directed towards one neighbour, your landlord would have to show that the behaviour would probably happen no matter where you were housed, and that it was not caused by a dispute with that particular neighbour.

About grounds 8-15

If any of grounds 8-15 are stated on your notice of proceedings or summons, it means that:

  • the landlord wants to evict you from the home that you are in, but
  • they will have to offer you another house or flat that is suitable for your needs.

These are called management grounds because your landlord is managing the housing stock by moving you from one property to another.

The sheriff will not grant an order telling you to leave the property you are in unless they are satisfied that the new accommodation is suitable.

Suitable accommodation should be:

  • as convenient for your work or place of study and your children's school as your previous accommodation
  • big enough for your whole household
  • furnished to the same standard as your previous accommodation
  • suitable for any special needs you or your family may have.

If you have received a notice of proceedings or summons stating any of grounds 8-15 and you are not happy with the new accommodation that you have been offered, an adviser may be able to negotiate with your landlord or put you in touch with someone who could represent you at the court hearing.

8. Nuisance, annoyance or conduct amounting to harassment

If your landlord can prove that your behaviour or the behaviour of someone living with you has caused problems in your local area, they can apply to the court to have you evicted on the basis that you will be given new accommodation in another area. Antisocial behaviour includes noise, violence and verbal abuse.

9. The house is overcrowded

If your house is overcrowded, you can be evicted and offered a new house, which is big enough for your household. Overcrowding doesn't include temporary arrangements such as having friends or family to visit.

10. Demolition of, or substantial work on, the property

This ground will be used if work needs to be done to your property or it is to be demolished. If work is needed, your landlord must show that it could not be done while you are still living there and that the work will be carried out shortly after you move out. If you are to be allowed to move back in when the work is finished, the sheriff should make a separate order stating this. If you are evicted on this ground, you may be able to claim a home loss payment to compensate for the move.

11. The property is designed or adapted for people with special needs

You can be asked to leave a home which has been designed or adapted for a person with special needs if no-one in your household requires special modifications. You can only be evicted if the landlord is going to let the property to someone who does have special needs and you are going to be offered alternative accommodation.

12. The property is part of a group designed or located near facilities for people with special needs

If your home is part of a group of flats or houses which have been specially designed, or built near facilities, for people with special needs, you can be evicted if no-one on your household has special needs and you can be offered alternative accommodation.

13. The landlord has leased the property

This ground can be used if your landlord has rented your home from someone else and the agreement between your landlord and the person they are renting from has ended or is going to end within six months. You must be offered alternative accommodation.

14. The landlord is an islands council and the property is for an education worker

This ground applies only to tenants renting from the Orkney Islands, Shetland Islands or Western Isles Councils. If you live in property that's reserved for an education worker but you aren't one, you can be evicted and re-housed if the property is needed for a new education worker.

15. The landlord wants to transfer the property

The landlord may wish to transfer the property to your (ex) husband, (ex) wife, (ex) civil partner or opposite sex or same sex cohabitee, if you no longer want to live together. The cohabitee must have lived with you in the property for at least six months, although this restriction does not apply to spouses or civil partners. Your landlord must offer you suitable alternative accommodation.

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The important points

  • There are 15 grounds (reasons) for your landlord to evict you and they are split between two categories, conduct and management.
  • If you're being evicted under conduct grounds your landlord has to prove you or your visitors have done or not done something.
  • If you're being evicted under management grounds they will have to offer you another house or flat that is suitable for your needs.

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