Grounds for eviction for private residential tenancy

This page outlines the 18 grounds that a landlord can use to apply for an eviction order and the notice periods that apply.

If your landlord is trying to evict you then they will send you a notice to leave that states which of these eviction grounds they are going to use. Our page on private resident tenancy evictions will give you more information on the eviction process.

Changes to notice periods due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak

The Scottish Government brought in rules to extend the notice period needed before an action for eviction can be started.

This is different from the temporary ban on evictions.

The length of notice you are entitled to depends 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 court or tribunal for a date to hear your case.

These new rules will be in place until 31 March 2022. They apply where the notice was served on or after 7 April 2020.

Any cases raised before 7 April 2020 are assessed by the original rules.

What are the grounds?

‘Grounds’ are the reason why your landlord wants to evict you. There are 18 grounds for possession that a landlord can use to apply for an eviction order. The grounds are divided into four areas:

  • the property is required for another purpose (grounds 1–7)

  • the status of the tenant (grounds 8–9)

  • conduct of the tenant (grounds 10–15)

  • there is a legal reason why the tenancy can't continue (grounds 16–18)


The grounds

Find out more about the ground being used by your landlord and what notice period you will have.

1. Landlord intends to sell

Notice periods:  

Notice servedTime spent living in the propertyNotice period
Before 7 April 2020 Less than six months28 days
Before 7 April 2020 More than six months84 days
On or after 7 April 2020Any durationSix months

This is a mandatory ground but it is discretionary if notice was served on or after 7 April 2020.

The tribunal must/may make an order for eviction if they are satisfied that:

  • the landlord is entitled to sell the property, and

  • the landlord intends to put it up for sale within three months of the tenant ceasing to occupy it

Evidence that a landlord could use to prove this could include:

  • a letter from a solicitor or estate agent, or

  • a recent Home Report

2. Property to be sold by lender

Notice periods:

Notice servedTime spent living in the propertyNotice period
Before 7 April 2020 Less than six months28 days
Before 7 April 2020 More than six months84 days
On or after 7 April 2020Any durationSix months

This is a mandatory ground but it is discretionary if notice was served on or after 7 April 2020.

To be used if a landlord has defaulted on a loan secured against the property before the beginning of the tenancy and where the lender is entitled to sell the property to pay off the debt.

The tribunal must/may make an order for eviction if they are satisfied:

  • the let property is subject to a heritable security

  • the lender is entitled to sell the property

  • the lender requires the tenant to leave the property for the purposes of selling

If the lender is taking enforcement, the tenant has to be notified of this.

3. Landlord intends to refurbish

Notice periods:  

Notice servedTime spent living in the propertyNotice period
Before 7 April 2020 Less than six months28 days
Before 7 April 2020 More than six months84 days
On or after 7 April 2020Any durationSix months

This is a mandatory ground but it is discretionary if notice was served on or after 7 April 2020.

This ground can be used where the landlord wants to carry out significant works to the property.

An order for eviction must/may be made if:

  • the landlord intends to refurbish the property (or any premises of which the property forms part of)

  • the landlord is entitled to do the work

  • the tenant can't continue to live in the property due to the nature of the refurbishments

Evidence of this could include:

  • planning permission for the intended refurbishment

  • a contract between the landlord and an architect or builder which relates to the proposed work

4. Landlord intends to live in the property

Notice periods:  

Notice servedTime spent living in the propertyNotice period
Before 7 April 2020 Less than six months28 days
Before 7 April 2020 More than six months84 days
On or after 7 April 2020Any durationThree months

This is a mandatory ground but it is discretionary if notice was served on or after 7 April 2020.

This ground can be used where the landlord wants to live in the property. The tribunal must/may make an order for eviction if:

  • the landlord intends to live in the property as their only or principal home for at least three months

also:

  • where two or more people jointly own the property, any one of them will count as the landlord

  • where the landlord hold’s interest as trustee, the landlord is the person who is the beneficiary of that trust

Evidence of this would include a signed statement that this is the landlord’s intention.

5. Family member intends to live in the property

Notice periods:  

Notice servedTime spent living in the propertyNotice period
Before 7 April 2020 Less than six months28 days
Before 7 April 2020 More than six months84 days
On or after 7 April 2020Any durationThree months

This is a discretionary ground.

An order for eviction could be granted if:

  • a member of the landlord’s family intends to occupy the property as that persons only or principal home for at least three months, and

  • the tribunal is satisfied that it is reasonable to issue an eviction order on account of that fact

Family members are defined as being related in the following ways to either the landlord or the landlord’s partner or spouse:

  • grandparent

  • parent

  • child

  • grandchild

  • brother

  • sister, or

  • the partner or spouse of the landlord

The tribunal will have to look at the reasonability of such a request before making a decision.

6. Landlord intends to use for non-residential purposes

Notice periods:  

Notice servedTime spent living in the propertyNotice period
Before 7 April 2020 Less than six months28 days
Before 7 April 2020 More than six months84 days
On or after 7 April 2020Any durationSix months

This is a mandatory ground but it is discretionary if notice was served on or after 7 April 2020.

An order for eviction must/may be made if:

  • the landlord wants to use the property for a purpose other than providing a person with a home

Evidence of this could be relevant planning permission.

7. Property required for religious purposes

Notice periods:  

Notice servedTime spent living in the propertyNotice period
Before 7 April 2020 Less than six months28 days
Before 7 April 2020 More than six months84 days
On or after 7 April 2020Any durationSix months

This is a mandatory ground but it is discretionary if notice was served on or after 7 April 2020.

This ground applies where the property is required for use in connection with the purposes of religion.

The tribunal must/may make an order for eviction if:

  • the property is to be occupied by a person engaged in the work of a religious denomination as a residence from which the duties of such a person are to be performed

  • the property has previously been occupied by a person engaged in the work of a religious denomination as a residence from which the duties were performed, and

  • the property is required for occupation by a person engaged in the work of a religious denomination as a residence from which the duties of such a person are to be performed

The act provides examples such as a priest, imam, rabbi, monk but the religion can be of any denomination, and the work could include non-spiritual work such as gardeners, caretakers etc. if these duties can be considered to be part of the religious work.

8. Not an employee

Notice periods: 

Notice servedTime spent living in the propertyNotice period
Before 7 April 2020 Less than six months28 days
Before 7 April 2020 More than six months84 days
On or after 7 April 2020Any durationSix months

This is a mandatory ground but it is discretionary if notice was served on or after 7 April 2020.

This ground can be used where the tenancy was entered into to provide an employee with a home, but they are no longer an employee.

The tribunal must/may make an order for eviction where:

  • the tenancy was granted as the tenant was an employee of the landlord, or

  • was granted in the expectation that the tenant would become an employee of the landlord, and

  • the tenant is not or is no longer an employee of the landlord

The landlord has twelve months to apply, although the tribunal may consider granting an eviction later than this if it is reasonable to do so.

9. No longer in need of supported accommodation

Notice periods:  

Notice servedTime spent living in the propertyNotice period
Before 7 April 2020 Less than six months28 days
Before 7 April 2020 More than six months84 days
On or after 7 April 2020Any durationSix months

This is a discretionary ground.

This ground is intended for use where the tenant had been assessed as in need of community care and has since been assessed as no longer having this need.

The tribunal may make an order for eviction when:

  • the tenancy was granted in consequence of the tenant being assessed under section 12A of the Social Work (Scotland) Act 1968 to have needs calling for the provision of community care services, and

  • the tenancy would not have been granted to the tenant on the basis of the latest assessment of the tenant’s needs under that section, and

  • the tribunal considers it reasonable to grant an eviction on account of that fact

10. Not occupying let property

Notice periods:  

Notice servedNotice period
Before 7 April 2020 28 days
On or after 7 April 202028 days

This is a mandatory ground but it is discretionary if notice was served on or after 7 April 2020.

This ground is intended to cover cases where the tenant has abandoned the property.

The tribunal must/may make an order for eviction where:

  • the let property is not being occupied as the only or principal home of either

    • the tenant, or

    • a person to whom a sub-tenancy of the let property has been lawfully granted, and

  • the property’s not being occupied because the landlord’s duties are not being met under the repairing standard

There is no guidance yet as to what evidence is required or what the landlord will be expected to do to make sure the tenant is no longer occupying the property as their only or principal home.

11. Breach of tenancy agreement

Notice periods:  

Notice servedNotice period
Before 7 April 2020 28 days
On or after 7 April 2020Six months

This is a discretionary ground.

When a tenancy condition (other than payment of rent) has been broken, the landlord may use this ground. This could refer to situations such as the behaviour of the tenant.

The tribunal may make an order for eviction where:

  • the tenant has failed to comply with an obligation of the lease other than paying rent, and

  • the tribunal considers it reasonable to evict on account of this

12. Rent arrears

Notice periods:

Notice servedNotice period
Before 7 April 2020 28 days
On or after 7 April 2020Six months

This is a mandatory ground but only if there have been arrears for at least three consecutive months and at least one month’s rent in total is owed on the day of the hearing

It is a discretionary ground if less than one month’s rent in total is owed.

If notice was served on or after 7 April 2020 it's a discretionary ground regardless of the amount of rent arrears.

Pre-action requirements for rent arrears

If you have built up some or all of your rent arrears after 7 April 2020 your landlord is required to try to help you before evicting you. They must do so by following certain steps called pre-action requirements.

Before starting eviction action your landlord must give you clear information about:

  • the terms of your tenancy agreement

  • the amount of rent you owe

  • your rights in the eviction action (including information about the pre-action requirements)

  • how you can access information and advice on financial support and debt management

Your landlord must also make ‘reasonable efforts’ to agree a repayment plan and consider:

  • any steps you have taken which might affect your ability to repay the arrears within a reasonable period of time

  • the extent to which you have complied with any repayment agreement

  • any changes your circumstances which are likely to impact on you affording your repayment agreement

Tell the tribunal if your landlord applies to evict you due to rent arrears and you think they have missed any of these steps. The tribunal has to take this into consideration when deciding whether to grant an eviction order.

The pre-action requirements only need to be followed where tribunal action for eviction is possible after 6 October 2020.

If your landlord is evicting you and you need help with this speak with an adviser or contact a solicitor.

If you need to talk to someone, we’ll do our best to help. Get Help

Practical steps you can take

If you are in rent arrears it’s really important to try and resolve the situation if you can.  

Speak to your landlord. They might agree to drop the eviction action if you agree to pay back a small amount each week or month. Be careful though about agreeing to make repayments unless you are sure you can keep to them. If you’re not sure, speak to someone about getting Money Advice first.

Get advice on any benefits you might be entitled to, for example contact Citizen's Advice.

Keep copies of any letters/emails between you and your landlord and if notice has been served keep a copy of this note any key dates.

Keep any evidence of steps you’ve taken to tackle the arrears, for example note dates of when you have spoken to your landlord or if you asked for help from money advice services.

Make a note of any benefits you’ve applied for including the date you made the claim.

Think about whether there have been any changes of circumstances, these could be changes in employment or health of yourself or other household members.

13. Criminal behaviour

Notice periods:  

Notice servedNotice period
Before 7 April 2020 28 days
Between 7 April 2020 – 2 October 2020Three months
On or after 3 October 202028 days

This is a mandatory ground but it is discretionary if notice was served on or after 7 April 2020.

An order for eviction must/may be made where:

  • the tenant receives a relevant conviction and

  • the application for eviction is made within 12 months of the tenant’s conviction, or

  • the tribunal are satisfied the landlord has a reasonable excuse for not making the application within that period

A relevant conviction is:

  • an offence which involved using or allowing the property to be used for an immoral or illegal purpose for example drug dealing or using the property as a brothel, or

  • an offence committed within or in the locality of the property and which is punishable by imprisonment

Where there are joint tenants, the ground applies to both even where only one of the parties are involved in criminal activities.

14. Antisocial behaviour

Notice periods:  

Notice servedNotice period
Before 7 April 2020 28 days
Between 7 April 2020 – 2 October 2020Three months
On or after 3 October 202028 days

This is a discretionary ground.

An order for eviction may be made when:

  • the tenant has behaved in an antisocial manner in relation to another person, and

    • the application for eviction is made within 12 months of the antisocial behaviour occurring, or

    • the tribunal are satisfied the landlord has a reasonable excuse for not making the application within that period

Behaving in an antisocial manner is defined as:

  • doing something which causes or is likely to cause  another person alarm, distress, nuisance or annoyance, or

  • pursuing, in relation to the other person, a course of conduct which:

    • causes or is likely to cause the other person alarm distress nuisance or annoyance, or

    • amounts to harassment of the other person

15. Association with person who has relevant conviction or engaged in relevant antisocial behaviour

Notice periods:  

Notice servedNotice period
Before 7 April 2020 28 days
Between 7 April 2020 – 2 October 2020Three months
On or after 3 October 202028 days

This is a discretionary ground.

This ground applies to a person who:

  • resides or lodges in the property, or

  • has sublet the property (or part of it) from the tenant, or

  • has been admitted to the property on more than one occasion

The tribunal may make an order for eviction where the tenant:

  • associates with a person who has received a relevant conviction, or

  • associates with a person who has engaged in relevant antisocial behaviour

A relevant conviction is defined as:

  • an offence which involved using or allowing the property to be used for an immoral or illegal purpose for example drug dealing or using the property as a brothel, or

  • an offence committed within or in the locality of the property and which is punishable by imprisonment

Relevant antisocial behaviour is behaviour which if carried by the tenant would mean the tribunal is could reasonably issue an eviction order and:

  • who it was in relation to, or

  • where it occurred

16. Landlord has ceased to be registered

Notice periods:  

Notice servedTime spent living in the propertyNotice period
Before 7 April 2020 Less than six months28 days
Before 7 April 2020 More than six months84 days
On or after 7 April 2020Any durationThree months

This is a discretionary ground.

An order for eviction order may be made when:

  • the landlord is not entered into the landlord register because either:

    • the local authority has refused, or

    • the local authority has removed the landlord in accordance with the legislation

  • and by continuing to let the property, the landlord would be:

    • committing an offence under the legislation, or

    • would be doing with a reasonable excuse

17. HMO license has been revoked

Notice periods:  

Notice servedTime spent living in the propertyNotice period
Before 7 April 2020 Less than six months28 days
Before 7 April 2020 More than six months84 days
On or after 7 April 2020Any durationThree months

This is a discretionary ground.

It may be used where the property is considered to be a house of multiple occupation but does not have the relevant HMO license. This ground covers situations where the landlord has never applied for the license and where one has been revoked.

An order for eviction may be made when:

  • the HMO licence has been revoked, and

  • the tribunal are satisfied that it is reasonable to evict on account of this fact

The tribunal will be required to balance the needs of the local authority to maintain the integrity of the licensing regime with the disadvantage to the tenant losing their home.

18. Overcrowding statutory notice

Notice periods:  

Notice servedTime spent living in the propertyNotice period
Before 7 April 2020 Less than six months28 days
Before 7 April 2020 More than six months84 days
On or after 7 April 2020Any durationSix months

This is a discretionary ground.

Where a landlord has had a statutory overcrowding notice an order for eviction may be made when:

  • a statutory overcrowding notice has been served, and

  • the tribunal are satisfied that it is reasonable to evict because of this fact

Mandatory or discretionary grounds

Usually, there are ten 'mandatory' grounds, where the tribunal must grant the order for eviction if the ground is proved.

The other eight grounds are 'discretionary' grounds. This means the tribunal need to decide whether it is 'reasonable' to grant an eviction order even if the ground is proved. They will need to consider all of the circumstances in your case.

All eviction grounds are currently 'discretionary'

Due to the coronavirus outbreak, the tribunal will have to decide whether it is reasonable for you to be evicted even where the grounds have been proved.

This new rule remains in force until 31 March 2022.

If you need advice or help to defend an eviction action speak to an adviser or contact a solicitor.

If you need to talk to someone, we’ll do our best to help. Get Help

Last updated: 16 May 2021

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