Being evicted from a Scottish secure tenancy
These are the legal eviction procedures that councils, housing associations and housing co-ops must use to evict tenants.
COVID-19: Changes to notice needed
The Scottish Government has brought in new rules to extend the notice period required to be given to tenants. This notice period must expire before any court action to obtain a decree for eviction can be started.
For full details see the page on grounds for eviction for social housing.
Scotland has moved beyond level 0.
This means evictions can now be enforced across the country.
Contact an adviser at Shelter Scotland if you are concerned that you will be evicted.
The eviction process
The eviction process follows these steps:
you and anyone living in your home who is over 16 will be sent a notice of proceedings (people who are sent this notice are sometimes called qualifying occupiers)
your landlord will start legal proceedings and you will be sent a summons telling you when your case will be heard at court
your case will come to court
the sheriff decides whether to grant a decree for eviction
if decree is granted then sheriff officers will be sent to remove you from the property
Things to remember:
It may be possible to stop or delay the eviction process
If your landlord doesn't follow the correct procedure for evicting you, the eviction will be illegal and you may be able to stay in your home or get compensation. Find out more about illegal eviction
If you have a short Scottish secure tenancy, your landlord can ask for a court order when your tenancy runs out without having to provide a reason
If you are not sure whether you are a short Scottish secure tenant, our page about short Scottish secure tenancies may be helpful.
If your landlord thinks that you have left the property and do not intend to return, they do not have to follow the eviction proceedings. They can use abandonment proceedings to take the property back instead.
What is a notice of proceedings?
A notice of proceedings is a legal document which starts the eviction process.
It should tell you:
that your landlord intends to get an order (decree for eviction) from the sheriff court for you to leave the property
the earliest date that the landlord can contact the court to request a court date (this must be at least four weeks away)
the reasons or grounds that your landlord has for wanting to evict you
If your landlord wants to evict you because of rent arrears then the notice should also state how your landlord has complied with the pre-action requirements. See eviction due to rent arrears for more information.
A notice of proceedings is valid for six months. If your landlord does not ask for a court date within six months, then they will have to send you a new notice. This means the eviction process begins again, giving you more time before a court date can be arranged.
What should I do if I get a notice of proceedings?
Contact your landlord to find out why they have sent it.
The landlord must have a reason or ground for sending you a notice of proceedings. Once you know what the ground is, you may be able to do something to stop your case going to court. For example:
If you have rent arrears, you could come to an arrangement to clear them
If you are waiting for housing benefit, you could provide proof, such as a receipt for handing in your claim form
If there have been incidents of antisocial behaviour, you can assure them that it won't continue
Remember that if you break an agreement, your landlord will be able to ask for a court date at any time within six months of the date on the notice of proceedings.
A court summons is a letter from the sheriff court to tell you that your landlord has asked for a court order for you to be evicted. Before an eviction can be granted, your case must be heard at the sheriff court.
The summons should include the date of the court hearing, which should be at least three weeks away.
You can read more about the summons if you need extra information.
Going to court
If you can't sort things out with your landlord, you will have to go to court. You have a right to defend yourself against the eviction at court. Anyone living with you has a right to apply to take part in the court proceedings as well. Their situation should also be taken into account when your case is being decided. If you need help speak to an adviser or contact a solicitor.
Last updated: 13 May 2021