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. However, if your landlord thinks that you no longer live in the property they do not always have to follow eviction proceedings to take the property back.
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 before court action to obtain a decree for eviction can be started.
Full details of this are in the section below - How much notice will I get?
Winter 'eviction ban'
The Scottish Government brought in new rules which will ban eviction enforcement action for a short period of time.
the ban covers both social rented and private rented sector tenancies
the ban will be in force everywhere in Scotland from 11 December 2020 – 22 January 2021
In Tier 3 and 4 areas, the ban will continue until 31 March 2021
the ban only applies to the ‘enforcement’ part of eviction proceedings. It means sheriff officers can't remove a household from a property while the ban is in place.
There are some exceptions to the ban. For example, if the eviction was granted due to criminal or antisocial behaviour, then the eviction can still go ahead.
What about other parts of eviction proceedings?
Any current or new eviction hearings at court or tribunal can still go ahead
Eviction orders can still be granted by courts and tribunals
Landlords can still serve notice on tenants.
The eviction process - how does it work?
The eviction process follows these steps:
you and anyone living in your house who is over 16 will be sent a notice of proceedings
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.
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 (SSST), your landlord can ask for a court order when your tenancy runs out without having to provide a good reason. Find out if you have a short Scottish secure tenancy (SSST) and read more about eviction of short Scottish secure tenants.
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 reason(s) or ground(s) 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 because of rent arrears for more information.
A notice of proceedings is valid for six months. If your landlord has not started legal proceedings (ie asked for a court date) within six months of the date stated on the notice, they will have to start the process again by sending you another notice of proceedings.
How much notice will I get?
Due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak the Scottish Government brought in new rules to extend the notice period required.
It's important to keep in mind that this is not a ban on evictions. It does mean though that in most cases there will be a longer gap between notice being served and the date the landlord can apply for a court date.
For example, if your landlord is evicting you for rent arrears they must now give you at least six months’ notice before they can apply to court.
For some grounds the notice periods are still 4 weeks and in some cases the rules depend on when notice was served.
You can check what notice period applies in your case using the Factsheet: Notice Periods for Scottish Secure Tenants
After the notice period has expired your landlord will still need to get an eviction order from the court.
Who will the notice of proceedings be sent to?
A notice of proceedings must be sent to each person living in your house who is over the age of 16. Everyone in the house, over 16, is called a qualifying occupier. Your landlord must try their best to find out if there are any qualifying occupiers in your household. If they fail to do this, it means that they have not followed the proper eviction procedures and the sheriff might make them start again.
What should I do if I get a notice of proceedings?
Don't ignore it! 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 promise that it will not happen again.
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.
In some cases, your landlord can only evict you from your home if they can offer you somewhere else to live of a similar standard. You can find out more about this on the page about grounds for eviction.
What is a summons?
A 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 a court order 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. It usually takes at least seven weeks from the notice of proceedings being served to the case calling at court.
You can find out more about the summons.
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, and anyone living with you has a right to apply to the court to take part in the court proceedings as well. Their situations 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: 10 December 2020
Housing laws differ between Scotland and England.
This content applies to Scotland only.
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