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Grounds for eviction for assured and short assured tenants

If your landlord is trying to evict you, they must provide a reason or ground for eviction. Get details of the grounds for eviction that can be used by a private landlord to evict an assured tenant or a short assured tenant, and the impact of these grounds for eviction on the notice period the landlord needs to give you as their tenant.

How do I know which ground for eviction is being used?

If your landlord is trying to evict you, you should have received a notice of proceedings. If you are not sure what this is, you can find out more about the eviction process for assured tenants and the eviction process for short assured tenants. The ground(s) for eviction 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.

Can more than one ground for eviction be used?

Your landlord can state just one ground for eviction on the notice of proceedings or they can use a combination of grounds, for example, grounds 8, 11 and 12 all relate to rent arrears. 

How do the grounds for eviction affect the eviction process?

Your landlord must be able to explain why each ground stated applies to you. If your case goes to court, the sheriff will use the grounds to help make a decision about whether or not you should be evicted.

If your landlord has stated any of grounds 1-8 on your notice of proceedings or summons and can prove that they apply to you, the sheriff has to grant an order for your eviction. Grounds 1-7 are called mandatory grounds. Grounds 9-17 are called discretionary grounds. If any of grounds 9-17 have been stated on your notice of proceedings or summons, the sheriff will have to decide whether it is reasonable for you to be evicted.

Grounds for eviction 1-7

1. Landlord wants property to be own home or the property was previously their own home

(two months' notice required)

This ground can be used if:

  • your landlord wants you to move out so that they or their husband/wife or civil partner can move in and live in the property, or
  • before you moved in, your landlord lived in the property.

The landlord can't use this ground to get the property back in order to sell it. They would have to move back in first.

Before you moved into the property, you should have been told in writing that this situation might arise.

2. Mortgage default

(two months' notice required)

This ground will be used if your landlord has not kept up to date with their mortgage payments and the mortgage lender now wants to sell the property to cover your landlord's debts.

Before you moved into the property, you should have been told in writing that this situation might arise.

3. Off season holiday let

(two weeks' notice required)

If you are living somewhere that is normally rented out as a holiday home, the landlord can use this ground, provided that:

  • the property was let as a holiday home in the year before you moved in, and
  • you had lived in the property for no more than eight months before you were served with the notice of proceedings.

Before you moved into the property you should have been told in writing that this situation might arise.

4. Vacation let of student accommodation

(two weeks' notice required)

If you are living in a property that is let to students by a university, or college, during term time, the landlord may use this ground, provided that:

  • the property was rented out to students in the year before you moved in, and
  • you had lived in the property for no more than a year before you were served with a notice of proceedings.

Before you moved into the property, you should have been told in writing that this situation might arise.

5. Minister/lay missionary property

(two months' notice required)

Your landlord can use this ground if a minister or lay missionary is going to move into the property to live while they are working in the area.

Before you moved into the property, you should have been told in writing that this situation might arise.

6. Re-development

(two months' notice required)

This ground can be used if your landlord wants to do major work to the property and the work cannot be done while you are living there, or you have said that you do not want to live there while the work is being done.

You should be entitled to reasonable moving expenses if you have to move because work is to be carried out.

7. Tenancy inherited under a will or intestacy

(two months' notice required)

If the tenant who lived in your home before you died and left you the tenancy in their will, your landlord can use this ground to get you to leave, unless the tenant was your husband, wife or civil partner and had not inherited the tenancy themself.

The landlord must serve you with a notice of proceedings within a year of the person dying or within a year of the landlord finding out that the person has died.

Ground for eviction 8

Ground 8 can be used if you have three months' rent arrears. If your landlord can prove that you have three months' rent arrears, the sheriff automatically has to grant an order for your eviction, unless the rent arrears have been caused by a delay in payment of housing benefit.

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. You should also be confident that you will be entitled to the housing benefit.

8. Three months' rent arrears

(two weeks' notice required)

The landlord can use this ground if you had three months' or more rent unpaid on the day that you were served with the notice of proceedings.

If your case goes to court there must still be at least three months' rent arrears outstanding. Therefore, if your landlord is using this ground, it's a good idea to try and reduce your rent arrears to less than three months' worth before you case goes to court. If your have less than three months' arrears, the sheriff doesn't have to evict you, they can chose not to if they decide this is reasonable.

Grounds for eviction 9-17

9. Suitable alternative accommodation available to tenant

(two months' notice required)

This ground can be used if your landlord can provide you with alternative accommodation. The accommodation must be suitable for you and your family and you must have the same or similar rights that you have in your current property.

10. Tenant served notice to quit but did not leave

(two weeks' notice required)

If you told your landlord in writing that you wanted to leave the property but then did not leave the property, this ground can be used.

The landlord must have served you with a notice of proceedings within six months of the date that you said you were going to leave.

11. Persistent delay in paying rent

(two weeks' notice required)

This ground can be used if you keep paying your rent late. It is less likely that the sheriff will evict you if there are no rent arrears when the case calls to court, but this does not mean that they will definitely not evict you.

If it is the housing benefit department's fault that the rent has been paid late then the sheriff must take this into account.

12. Some rent unpaid

(two weeks' notice required)

This ground can be used if you were behind with your rent on the day that you were issued with the notice of proceedings.

There must still be some rent arrears on the day that the case calls to court.

The sheriff must take into account whether the rent that is unpaid should have been paid by housing benefit.

13. Breach of tenancy condition

(two weeks' notice required)

If you have broken a rule laid down in your tenancy agreement, this ground can be used. It cannot be used in relation to rent arrears.

14. Deterioration of the house or common parts

(two weeks' notice required)

If you, or someone living with you, has damaged part of the property or the area surrounding the property, this ground can be used. It can also be used if you have failed to report that something was damaged in the property and it got worse because you did not report it, for example, if a window was leaking and the windowsill rotted.

15. Nuisance or annoyance

(two weeks' notice required)

This ground can be used if you, or someone living with you has been:

  • causing a nuisance or annoying your neighbours, or
  • convicted of using the property for illegal purposes or letting it be used for illegal purposes, for example for dealing drugs.

16. Deterioration of condition of furniture

(two weeks' notice required)

This ground can be used if you, or someone living with you, has damaged the furniture in the property or you have not looked after it properly.

17. Ex-employees of the landlord

(two months' notice required)

If you used to be employed by your landlord and you were allowed to stay in the property as part of your job, your landlord may use this ground once your employment has ended.

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

  • Your landlord must have grounds (reasons) to evict you, and they can state more than one ground.
  • Grounds for eviction fall into two categories - mandatory and discretionary grounds.
  • If mandatory grounds are proved the sheriff has to grant a court order for your eviction. Discretionary grounds, even if proved, still allow the sheriff to decide if it is reasonable to evict you.

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