Eviction of private residential tenancy tenants
If you have a private residential tenancy, you can only be evicted if your landlord follows the correct procedure.
COVID-19: Changes to notice needed
The Scottish Government brought in new rules on 7 April 2020 to extend the length of the notice period before legal action to obtain an order for eviction can be started.
This is not a ban on evictions, it just means that in most cases there is a longer delay between the landlord starting the process and the date that they can apply to to the tribunal.
In addition to the extending of the notice period need, all grounds are now discretionary. This means the tribunal must consider the reasonableness of the request of an eviction order.
The sections below give more information about this.
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.
Ending a private residential tenancy
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 from the First-tier Tribunal for Scotland Housing and Property Chamber.
To start the eviction process, your landlord must give you written notice called a notice to leave. This notice must state:
the day on which your landlord will be entitled to apply to the First Tier Tribunal for an eviction order, and
which ground is being used
If you agree to leave the property, the tenancy will come to an end. keep in mind that you could still give notice that you are going to leave, which could end the tenancy sooner.
You can see what a notice to leave document looks like from the Scottish Government website
How much notice do I get?
These notice periods only apply where the notice to leave was served before 7 April 2020 (see the next section if notice was served on or after this date)
If your landlord wants to end the tenancy there are different periods of notice depending on how long you have been living at the property and what ground is been used. :
If you have lived in the property for less than 6 months, then the notice period is 28 clear 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 clear days.
If you have lived in the property for more than 6 months, and the landlord is using one of the six conduct grounds (see below) the notice period is 28 clear days.
The six conduct grounds are:
Ground 10 - Not occupying let property
Ground 11 - Breach of tenancy agreement
Ground 12 - Rent arrears
Ground 13 - Criminal behaviour
Ground 14 - Anti-social behaviour
Ground 15 - Association with a person who has relevant conviction or engaged in relevant anti-social behaviour
If notice was served on or after 7 April 2020
Due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak the Scottish Government brought in new rules to extend the notice period required before court or tribunal action for eviction can be started.
The length of notice you are entitled to will depend on when the notice was served and the grounds being used. Your landlord must wait until your notice has run out before they can ask the tribunal for a date to hear your case.
This is not a ban on evictions. It does mean in most cases there will be a longer gap between notice being served and the date the landlord can apply to the tribunal.
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 the tribunal but for some grounds the notice periods may be shorter.
You can check what notice period applies in your case using the Shelter Scotland Factsheet: Private residential tenants - Notice periods
More about notice to leave
The notice period starts from the day you receive the notice; this is assumed to be 48 hours after the landlord has sent it. Your landlord will not be able to make an application to the tribunal until the day after the notice period expires.
The notice to leave is valid for 6 months, if no application for an eviction order is made, then a new notice to leave would need to be issued.
Grounds for eviction
If your landlord sends you a notice to leave this will tell you the reason why the landlord wants to evict you. These reasons are known as 'grounds'. The grounds cover four main reasons.
the property is needed for another purpose,
your status as the tenant - for example if the tenancy was tied to your job,
your behaviour in the tenancy - or the behaviour of someone else,
there is a legal reason why the tenancy can't continue
Find out more about the eviction grounds.
Landlord must apply to the First Tier Tribunal
If you haven't moved out by the expiry of the notice, the landlord will have to apply to the First Tier Tribunal Housing and Property Chamber for an eviction order. It is up to the tribunal to decide whether to grant the eviction. You may be able to defend the action.
An application to the First Tier Tribunal for an eviction order must include a copy of the:
Notice to Leave given to the tenant, and
Section 11 Notice - this is a notice which your landlord must send to the local council notifying them of a possible eviction.
Once your landlord applies to the tribunal you will be sent notification of this along with a date of a hearing or case management discussion.
If you want to defend the eviction it is important that you either attend the hearing or arrange representation. If you don't do this there is a risk the tribunal will automatically grant the eviction.
If you receive any notification from the tribunal and want advice on whether you can defend the action you can speak to an adviser or contact a solicitor.
Wrongful termination of tenancy
If your tenancy has been ended, by the landlord serving notice or by the granting of an eviction order by the tribunal, and you believe this was because of misleading information, you can apply to the tribunal for a wrongful termination order.
Notice period if you want to leave
If you want to end the tenancy, then you will have to give the landlord 28 clear days notice in writing. The notice has to state the day on which the tenancy is to end, normally the day after notice period has expired.
You can agree a different notice period, after the start of the tenancy, with your landlord as long it is in writing.
Last updated: 14 October 2020
Housing laws differ between Scotland and England.
This content applies to Scotland only.
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