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Grounds for eviction for private residential tenancy tenants

This page outlines the 18 grounds that a landlord can use to apply for an eviction order.

How do I know which ground is being used?

A private residential tenancy can only be ended by 1 of 3 ways:

  • by a tenant giving notice and leaving or,
  • the tenant and landlord reach an agreement to leave, or
  • your landlord wants possession of the property and obtains an eviction order.

Your landlord will need to give you either 28 or 84 day’s notice that they intend to apply for an eviction notice. The period of notice will depend on how long you have been in the property and which ground there are applying for eviction. If your landlord is trying to evict you, then you should have received a notice to leave. The ground that is being used will be stated on this notice.

Notice period

There are different periods of notice depending on how long you have been living at the property:

  • If you have lived in the property for less than 6 months, then the notice period is 28 days, regardless of the ground used.
  • If you have lived in the property for longer than 6 months and the landlord is not using a conduct ground, then the notice period is 84 days.
  • If you have lived in the property for more than 6 months, and the landlord is using one of the 6 conduct grounds (see below) the notice period is 28 days.

What are the grounds?

There are 18 grounds for possession that a landlord can use to apply for an eviction order. The grounds are divided into 4 areas:

  • the property is required for another purpose,
  • the status of the tenant,
  • conduct of the tenant,
  • there is a legal reason why the tenancy can't continue.

There are 10 mandatory grounds, where the tribunal has no discretion to refuse the eviction if the ground is proved, and 8 discretionary grounds, where the tribunal should consider whether it is reasonable to grant an eviction order.

The property is required for another purpose

The following grounds could be used where your landlord requires the property for some other use.

Ground 1: Landlord intends to sell

This is a mandatory ground, where the tribunal must make an order for eviction if they are satisfied that:

  • The landlord is entitled to sell the property, and
  • the landlord intends to put it up for sale within 3 months of the tenant ceasing to occupy it.

Evidence that a landlord could use to prove this could include:

  • a letter from a solicitor or estate agent, or
  • a recent Home Report.

Ground 2: Property to be sold by lender

A mandatory ground. To be used if a landlord has defaulted on a loan secured against the property before the beginning of the tenancy and where the lender is entitled to sell the property to pay off the debt.

The tribunal must make an order for eviction if they are satisfied:

  • The let property is subject to a heritable security
  • The creditor is entitled to sell the property
  • The creditor requires the tenant to leave the property for the purposes of selling.

If the lender is taking enforcement, the tenant has to be notified of this.

Ground 3: Landlord intends to refurbish

A mandatory ground. This ground can be used where the landlord wants to carry out significant works to the property.

An order for eviction must be made if:

  • The landlord intends to refurbish the property (or any premises of which the property forms part of)
  • The landlord is entitled to do the work
  • the tenant can't continue to live in the property due to the nature of the refurbishments.

Evidence of this could include:

  • Planning permission for the intended refurbishment
  • A contract between the landlord and an architect or builder which relates to the proposed work.

Ground 4: Landlord intends to live in the property

A  mandatory ground This ground can be used where the landlord wants to live in the property. The tribunal must make an order for eviction if:

  • the landlord intends to live in the property as their only or principal home for at least three months.

also:

  • Where two or more people jointly own the property, any one of them will count as the landlord.
  • Where the landlord hold’s interest as trustee, the landlord is the person who is the beneficiary of that trust.

Evidence of this would include a signed statement that this is the landlord’s intention.

Ground 5: Family member intends to live in the property

A discretionary ground. An order for eviction could be granted if:

  • A member of the landlord’s family intends to occupy the property as that persons only or principal home for at least three months, and
  • The tribunal is satisfied that it is reasonable to issue an eviction order on account of that fact

Family members are defined as being related in the following ways to either the landlord or the landlord’s partner or spouse:

  • Grandparent
  • Parent
  • Child
  • Grandchild
  • Brother
  • Sister, or
  • the partner or spouse of the landlord or one of these family members above.

The tribunal will have to look at the reasonability of such a request before making a decision.

Ground 6: Landlord intends to use for non-residential purposes

A mandatory ground. An order for eviction must be made if:

  • The landlord wants to use the property for a purpose other than providing a person with a home.

Evidence of this could be relevant planning permission.

Ground 7: Property required for religious purposes

A mandatory ground This ground applies where the property is required for use in connection with the purposes of religion.

The tribunal must make an order for eviction if:

  • The property is to be occupied by a person engaged in the work of a religious denomination as a residence from which the duties of such a person are to be performed
  • The property has previously been occupied by a person engaged in the work of a religious denomination as a residence from which the duties were performed, and
  • The property is required for occupation by a person engaged in the work of a religious denomination as a residence from which the duties of such a person are to be performed.

The act provides examples such as a priest, imam, rabbi, monk but the religion can be of any denomination, and the work could include non-spiritual work such as gardeners, caretakers etc. if these duties can be considered to be part of the religious work.

Tenant's status

The following grounds apply where there is a change in the status of the tenant.

Ground 8: not an employee

A mandatory ground. This ground can be used where the tenancy was entered into to provide an employee with a home, but they are no longer an employee.

The tribunal must make an order for eviction where:

  • The tenancy was granted as the tenant was an employee of the landlord, or
  • was granted in the expectation that the tenant would become an employee of the landlord, and
  • the tenant is not or is no longer an employee of the landlord.

The landlord has twelve months to apply, although the tribunal may consider granting an eviction later than this if it is reasonable to do so.

Ground 9: No longer in need of supported accommodation

A discretionary ground. This ground is intended for use where the tenant had been assessed as in need of community care and has since been assessed as no longer having this need.

The tribunal can make an order for eviction when:

  • The tenancy was granted in consequence of the tenant being assessed under section 12A of the Social Work (Scotland) Act 1968 to have needs calling for the provision of community care services, and
  • The tenancy would not have been granted to the tenant on the basis of the latest assessment of the tenant’s needs under that section, and
  • The tribunal considers it reasonable to grant an eviction on account of that fact.

Conduct grounds

Grounds 10-15 are grounds about the conduct of the tenant. The notice period required for each of these grounds is only 28 days regardless of the length of the tenancy.

Ground 10: Not occupying let property

A mandatory ground. This ground is intended to cover cases where the tenant has abandoned the property.

The tribunal must make an order for eviction where:

  • The let property is not being occupied as the only or principal home of either
    • The tenant, or
    • A person to whom a sub-tenancy of the let property has been lawfully granted, and
  • The property’s not being occupied because the landlord’s duties are not being met under the repairing standard.

There is no guidance yet as to what evidence is required or what the landlord will be expected to do to make sure the tenant is no longer occupying the property as their only or principal home.

Ground 11: Breach of tenancy agreement

A discretionary ground When a tenancy condition (other than payment of rent) has been broken, the landlord may use this ground. This could refer to situations such as the behaviour of the tenant.

The tribunal may make an order for eviction where:

  • The tenant has failed to comply with an obligation of the lease other than paying rent, and
  • the tribunal considers it reasonable to evict on account of this

Ground 12: Rent arrears

A mandatory ground. If there have been arrears for at least three consecutive months and at least one month’s rent in total is owed on the day of the hearing.

It is discretionary ground if less than one month’s rent in total is owed.

The tribunal must (when used as a mandatory ground) make an order for eviction where:

  • On the day the tribunal considers the case:
    • the tenant is in arrears equivalent to an amount equal to or greater than 1 month rent amount, and
    • has been in arrears of any amount for a continuous period of up to 3 or more consecutive months, and
  • the arrears are not wholly or partly due to delay or failure of payment of relevant benefit.

The tribunal may (when used as a discretionary ground) make an order for eviction where:

  • the tenant has been in arrears of any amount for a continuous period of up to three or more consecutive months, and
  • It is reasonable to evict on account of this fact.

It is not mandatory for the tribunal to make an eviction order if the rent arrears are due to any delay or failure in payment of rent caused by problems with relevant benefit payments.

Ground 13: Criminal behaviour

A mandatory ground. An order for eviction must be made where:

  • The tenant receives a relevant conviction and
  • the application for eviction is made within 12 months of the tenant’s conviction, or
  • the tribunal are satisfied the landlord has a reasonable excuse for not making the application within that period

A relevant conviction is:

  • An offence which involved using or allowing the property to be used for an immoral or illegal purpose for example drug dealing or using the property as a brothel, or
  • an offence committed within or in the locality of the property and which is punishable by imprisonment.

Where there are joint tenants, the ground applies to both even where only one of the parties are involved in criminal activities.

Ground 14: Anti-social behaviour

A discretionary ground. An order for eviction may be made when:

  • the tenant has behaved in an anti-social manner in relation to another person, and
    • the application for eviction is made within 12 months of the antisocial behaviour occurring, or
    • the tribunal are satisfied the landlord has a reasonable excuse for not making the application within that period.

Behaving in an anti-social manner is defined as:

  • Doing something which causes or is likely to cause  another person alarm, distress, nuisance or annoyance, or
  • pursuing, in relation to the other person, a course of conduct which:
    • Causes or is likely to cause the other person alarm distress nuisance or annoyance, or
    • amounts to harassment of the other person.

Ground 15: Association with person who has relevant conviction or engaged in relevant anti-social behaviour

Discretionary ground: This ground applies to a person who:

  • Resides or lodges in the property, or
  • has sublet the property (or part of it) from the tenant, or
  • has been admitted to the property on more than one occasion.

The tribunal may make an order for eviction where the tenant:

  • Associates with a person who has received a relevant conviction, or
  • Associates with a person who has engaged in relevant antisocial behaviour.

A relevant conviction is defined as:

  • An offence which involved using or allowing the property to be used for an immoral or illegal purpose for example drug dealing or using the property as a brothel, or
  • An offence committed within or in the locality of the property and which is punishable by imprisonment.

Relevant anti-social behaviour is behaviour which if carried by the tenant would mean the tribunal is could reasonably  issue an eviction order and:

  • Who it was in relation to, or
  • where it occurred.

Legal impediment to the let continuing

The following grounds apply where there is some legal matter which significantly affects the tenancy continuing.

Ground 16: Landlord has ceased to be registered

A discretionary ground where an order for eviction order may be made when:

  • The landlord is not entered into the landlord register because either:
    • The local authority has refused, or
    • the local authority has removed the landlord in accordance with the legislation.
  • And by continuing to let the property, the landlord would be:
    • Committing an offence under the legislation, or
    • would be doing with a reasonable excuse.

Ground 17: HMO license has been revoked

A discretionary ground  Where the property is considered to be a house of multiple occupation but does not have the relevant HMO license.

This ground covers situations where the landlord has never applied for the license and where one has been revoked. An order for eviction may be made when:

  • The HMO licence has been revoked, and
  • the tribunal are satisfied that it is reasonable to evict on account of this fact.

The tribunal will be required to balance the needs of the local authority to maintain the integrity of the licensing regime with the disadvantage to the tenant losing their home.

Ground 18: Overcrowding statutory notice

A discretionary ground. Where a landlord has had a statutory overcrowding notice an order may be made when:

  • A statutory overcrowding notice has been served, and
  • the tribunal are satisfied that it is reasonable to evict because of this fact.

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