Eviction of Gypsy and Traveller people
- Council evictions of Gypsy and Traveller people
- Eviction from an authorised council site
- Eviction from an unauthorised council site
- Eviction from a protected private site
- Eviction from an unprotected private site
- Eviction from private land without planning permission
- Eviction for antisocial behaviour
- Eviction if you park up without consent
- Police evictions of Gypsy and Traveller people
Council evictions of Gypsy and Traveller people
The council has the power to remove anyone who lives in a vehicle and does not have permission to be on the land they're parked on.
Before the council can evict you
Before the council makes a decision, a council officer must visit the Gyspy and Traveller community site to talk about your situation.
You can explain why the eviction will damage your household’s welfare. For example, if removal from the site will disrupt your children's education.
The council should consider its duties to:
look after the rights of any children in your household
provide education to all children of school age
provide health and welfare services
take into account your human rights
Preventing an eviction by the council
An eviction could be prevented if the council do not consider their duties.
If the council decides to evict you
You will be sent a ‘notice to quit’ or ‘removal direction’. If you do not leave when asked to do so, the council will have the right to move you on from the site.
The council do not need to get a court order to make you leave the site. However, eviction without a court order may be against your human rights.
A solicitor can look into this and help defend your case if it goes to court.
If the eviction is granted sheriff officers carry out the eviction. The police may be present but they should not get involved unless it’s necessary.
Eviction from an authorised council site
Your written occupancy agreement should say how much eviction notice must be given. This must be at least four weeks.
The council may ask you to leave sooner if you have broken the terms of your agreement. A housing professional may be able to argue that it's illegal to evict you without enough notice.
Eviction from an unauthorised council site
Unauthorised sites are not licensed, do not have planning permission, and are not run by the council.
The council should not evict you from an unauthorised site on council-owned land unless:
your presence is causing serious problems, for example, a public health hazard
the council needs the land for something else
Eviction from a protected private site
If you're parked on a protected site, there's a legal process the site owner must follow in order to evict you.
You can only be evicted if:
the site owner's lease has expired
planning permission for the site has expired
you have broken a condition of your agreement
you are not using the mobile home as your only or main home
the condition of your mobile home is having a detrimental effect on the site
You must be served with at least four weeks' notice.
If you have not left once the notice has expired, the site owner has to get an order from the sheriff court before you can be forced to leave.
You can ask a solicitor to defend your case in court.
Find out more about eviction from a protected site.
Eviction from an unprotected private site
It's very difficult to prevent an eviction from an unprotected private site without planning permission and a site licence.
If you rent a pitch on an unprotected private site, you have common law eviction rights. Your notice must be at least four weeks.
If you have been given the correct notice but do not leave when it runs out, the landlord or site owner can apply to the sheriff court for an order telling you to leave.
Find out about eviction from an unprotected site.
Eviction from private land without planning permission
The council can move you on if the landowner or occupier does not have planning permission for a site. This includes land owned by the Gyspy and Traveller community.
If you do not comply with the ‘enforcement notice’ or ‘stop notice’ that orders you to leave, you may face a fine and prison.
Before serving any notices
The council can send an officer to visit your camp. This is to see whether any planning laws have been broken.
It’s a criminal offence to stop the officer from visiting the land. If you try to stop them you could be fined.
Residents or the landowner can appeal against an enforcement notice.
A stop notice cannot be appealed.
For free help and advice on planning issues, contact Planning Aid for Scotland.
If you do not move on
Refusing to comply with an enforcement notice is a criminal offence. You may face a fine and prison.
If you do not move on, the council will usually get sheriff officers to carry out the removal. The police may be present but they should not get involved unless it’s necessary.
Eviction for antisocial behaviour
The council should not evict an entire group of Gypsy and Traveller people because of the behaviour of individuals.
If this is happening, you can talk to the site manager, Gypsy and Traveller liaison officer, or another council representative.
Eviction if you park up without consent
If you park up on private land with planning permission but you do not have consent to be there, the owner or legal occupier can:
apply for a possession order
apply for an interdict
evict you themselves, as long as they do not damage your property or injure you
ask the police to evict you as a last resort
Possession order explained
The landowner or occupier can apply to the sheriff court for an eviction order to remove you from their land.
Because you are trespassing, you will not have any defence when the case goes to court.
An interdict is a civil court order that tells you not to do something or to stay away from a certain person or place.
The court should take into account your household’s welfare before granting an interdict.
A solicitor may be able to help you delay the eviction on humanitarian grounds. For example, if you cannot move on because someone in your household is ill.
Police evictions of Gypsy and Traveller people
The police can only remove you if the landowner, occupier, or council have already tried to move you on.
The police can remove you and your vehicles if:
there are two or more people staying on land without the owner's permission, and
you have parked six or more vehicles on the land, or
you have damaged the site or land in some way, or
you have behaved in an antisocial way towards the landowner or occupier or their family
The police must consider:
the consequences of moving you on
the consequences if you stay put
whether everyone on the site needs to be moved
the site's history, for example, how long the site has been used by the Gypsy and Traveller community
If you do not think they've done this, contact a solicitor.
If you do not move on
If you do not leave within the time you're given or you return to the land within three months, you'll be committing a criminal offence.
You may be fined or face prison. The police will have the right to tow your vehicles.
Last updated: 5 October 2021