Eviction at the end of your fixed term
If you have a short assured tenancy, your landlord can evict you when your tenancy comes to an end without giving you any reason. This page explains what the landlord must do before you can be evicted.
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 legal action to obtain an order for eviction can be started.
From 7 April 2020, your landlord must give you at least 6 months notice in writing (a section 33 notice) that they want the property back.
After the notice period has expired your landlord will still need to get an eviction order from the First-tier Tribunal for Scotland Housing and Property Chamber.
In addition to the extending of the notice period the tribunal now has to consider the reasonableness of the request for an eviction order.
Winter 'eviction ban'
The Scottish Government brought in new rules which ban eviction enforcement action for a short period of time.
The ban is currently in force in all Tier 3 and Tier 4 areas.
The Scottish Government have a postcode checker to use if you're not sure what Tier your area is in.
the ban covers both social rented and private rented sector tenancies
this ban is reviewed by the Scottish Government every 21 days
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 may still go ahead.
What about other parts of eviction proceedings?
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.
How long does a short assured tenancy last?
Short assured tenancies are always given for a fixed length of time of at least six months. Once the fixed period is finished, the tenancy can renew itself for another fixed period or your tenancy agreement may state that it will renew itself on a month to month basis.
If your landlord wants you to leave at the end of a fixed period, you can be evicted quite easily but there are steps your landlord must follow.
About the eviction process
If your landlord wants you to leave when your fixed period comes to an end they must:
give you a notice to quit, and
give you at least two months' notice in writing that they want the property back (this is known as a section 33 notice).
If you have not left by the end of the fixed period:
your landlord will have to tell the tribunal that they want to evict you
you will be sent a summons telling you when your case will be heard at tribunal
your case will come to tribunal and the tribunal will make a decision on whether to grant the eviction.
sheriff officers will be notified to remove you from the property.
What is a notice to quit?
A notice to quit is a written document telling you that your tenancy is going to come to an end. The minimum notice period is normally 40 days, which must tie in with the end date (this is called the ish date) of the your tenancy.
What should a notice to quit contain?
For a notice to quit to be valid it must:
be in writing, even if you do not have a written tenancy agreement
state the length of notice you have been given
state that once the notice has run out, the landlord still has to get an order from the tribunal before you have to leave
include information about where you can get advice.
Section 33 notice
If your landlord wants you to move out on the end date of your tenancy, they will need to give you a section 33 notice, in addition to the notice to quit. The period of notice must be at least two months before the tenancy end date (six month notice is needed from 7 April 2020 until at least 31 March 2021)
Landlords sometimes combine a notice to quit and a section 33 notice into one notice, this is okay as long as it:
gives you at least two months' notice
states that the landlord requires possession of the property
states that once the notice has run out, the landlord still has to get an order from the tribunal before you have to leave
includes information about where you can get advice.
I have been given a notice to quit - do I have to move out?
If your landlord has only given you a notice to quit, you will not have to move out - it's not enough to obtain an eviction order.
But if your landlord has given you a notice to quit and a section 33 notice giving you at least two months' warning that they want the property back, then usually tribunal have no choice but to automatically grant the eviction order.
There is a temporary exception to this rule. If your landlord served you with notice on or after 7 April 2020 then the tribunal need to consider all of your circumstances when deciding whether to grant the eviction - it's not automatic. If you don't want the tribunal to grant the eviction then you will need to let them know.
You can either appear at the tribunal on the hearing date to request that they consider your circumstances or you need to arrange for someone to appear on your behalf. You can ask the tribunal to consider how difficult it might be for you to find another tenancy, or take into account health problems or other difficulties you might have.
If you don't attend or arrange someone to represent you then the tribunal are likely to find in your landlord's favour and grant the eviction.
You can contact a solicitor or speak to a Shelter adviser if you want help with this.
What should I do if I get a notice to quit and a section 33 notice?
Get the notice to quit checked
An adviser will be able to tell you if the notice to quit you have been given is valid. If it is not, you will not have to leave at the moment.
Look for other accommodation
If you have been given a valid notice to quit and section 33 notice, you should start looking for other accommodation. Remember that you will have to pay rent on your old property until your notice to quit runs out, so try to find somewhere you can move into near that date, as you may have to pay rent for two homes if there is an overlap. If you currently receive housing benefit and you cannot avoid having to pay rent for both homes, you may be able to get housing benefit for two homes for up to four weeks.
Make a homeless application to the council
If you can't find anywhere else to live, you can ask the council for help. The council has a duty to help people who are homeless. If you make a homeless application, the council should:
offer you advice and assistance
find you somewhere to stay temporarily
maybe offer you a permanent home, depending on your circumstances.
My notice is running out and I can't find anywhere else to live
Once the notice period has run out, your landlord still has to get an eviction order before you can be made to leave the property. Your landlord will contact the tribunal, who will send you a letter telling you that your landlord wants you to be evicted. It will tell you information about where and when your case will be heard. (In some cases your case may be heard over the telephone)
If you do not reply to this letter or do not attend the hearing (or arrange for someone to
represent you), the order for your eviction may be granted automatically.
If you have been given a proper notice to quit, then usually the tribunal will automatically give an order for your eviction (except for cases raised by the landlord on or after 7 April 2020, see the section above), but you can attend the hearing and ask for the eviction date to be delayed to allow you time to find somewhere else to live.
Last updated: 10 December 2020
Housing laws differ between Scotland and England.
This content applies to Scotland only.
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