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Eviction at the end of your tenancy

If you have a short assured tenancy, your landlord can evict you when your tenancy comes to an end without giving you any reason. This page explains what the landlord must do before you can be evicted.

How long does a short assured tenancy last? 

Short assured tenancies are always given for a fixed length of time of at least six months. Once the fixed period is finished, the tenancy can renew itself for another fixed period or your tenancy agreement may state that it will renew itself on a month to month basis. If your landlord wants you to leave at the end of a fixed period, you can be evicted quite easily but there are steps your landlord must follow.

About the eviction process

If your landlord wants you to leave when your fixed period comes to an end they must:

  • give you a notice to quit, and
  • give you at least two months' notice in writing that they want the property back (this is known as a section 33 notice).

If you have not left by the end of the fixed period:

  • your landlord will have to tell the tribunal that they want to evict you
  • you will be sent a summons telling you when your case will be heard at tribunal
  • your case will come to tribunal
  • sheriff officers will be sent round to remove you from the property.

What is a notice to quit?

A notice to quit is a written document telling you that your tenancy is going to come to an end. The minimum notice period is normally 40 days, which must tie in with the end date (also called the ish date) of the your tenancy. 

What should a notice to quit contain?

For a notice to quit to be valid it must:

  • be in writing, even if you do not have a written tenancy agreement
  • state the length of notice you have been given
  • state that once the notice has run out, the landlord still has to get an order from the tribunal before you have to leave
  • include information about where you can get advice.

What is a section 33 notice?

If your landlord wants you to move out on the end date of your tenancy, they will need to give you a section 33 notice, in addition to the notice to quit. The period of notice must be at least two months before the tenancy end date.  

Download an example of a section 33 notice.

Landlords sometimes combine a notice to quit and a section 33 notice into one notice, this is ok as long as it:

  • gives you at least two months' notice
  • states that the landlord requires possession of the property
  • states that once the notice has run out, the landlord still has to get an order from the tribunal before you have to leave
  • include information about where you can get advice.

I have been given a notice to quit - will I have to move out?

If your landlord has only given you a notice to quit, you will not have to move out. 

However, if your landlord has given you a notice to quit and a section 33 notice giving you at least two months' warning that they want the property back, the sheriff will automatically grant an eviction order.

What should I do if I get a notice to quit and a section 33 notice?

Get the notice to quit checked

An adviser will be able to tell you if the notice to quit you have been given is valid. If it is not, you will not have to leave at the moment.

Look for other accommodation

If you have been given a valid notice to quit and section 33 notice, you should start looking for other accommodation. Remember that you will have to pay rent on your old property until your notice to quit runs out, so try to find somewhere you can move into near that date, as you may have to pay rent for two homes if there is an overlap. If you currently receive housing benefit and you cannot avoid having to pay rent for both homes, you may be able to get housing benefit for two homes for up to four weeks.

Make a homeless application to the council

If you can't find anywhere else to live, you can ask the council for help. The council has a duty to help people who are homeless. If you make a homeless application, the council should:

  • offer you advice and assistance
  • find you somewhere to stay temporarily
  • maybe offer you a permanent home, depending on your circumstances.

My notice is running out and I can't find anywhere else to live

Once the notice period has run out, your landlord still has to get a eviction order before you can be made to leave the property. Your landlord will contact the tribunal, who will send you a summons telling you that your landlord wants you to be evicted.

If you do not reply to the summons, the order for your eviction will be granted automatically.

If you have been given a proper notice to quit, the tribunal will automatically give a order for your eviction, but you can ask for the eviction date to be delayed to allow you time to find somewhere else to live.

Warning: if you stay in your house after your notice to quit has run out without very good reason, your landlord can ask the tribunal to get you to pay damages, such as your landlord's legal fees.

I'm a landlord looking for help

If you are a landlord and you're looking for help to evict a tenant then contact Scottish Association of Landlords or the National Landlords Association.

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The important points

  • If your landlord wants you to leave when your short assured tenancy ends, they must give you a notice to quit and two months notice in writing. 
  • The technical term for this two months notice in writing is section 33 notice.
  • If you don't move out at the end of the tenancy but your landlord has given you the notice to quit and two months notice in writing, your landlord will need to get a court order to evict you. If this happens the court will automatically grant the court order.
  • The other possible consequence of not moving out when the notice to quit has come to an end is that the landlord can ask the court to say you should pay damages, for example your landlord's legal costs.

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