Grounds for eviction for private residential tenancy

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

How do I know which ground is being used?

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

  • the landlord obtains an eviction order. In order to get this they must apply to the First Tier Tribunal Housing and Property Chamber and be able to prove they have grounds.

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 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 your own notice that you are going to leave. This might end the tenancy sooner, if this is more suitable for you.

How much notice will I get?

If you received notice before 7 April 2020 the notice periods are:

  • If you have lived in the property for less than 6 months, then the notice period is 28 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 days.

  • If you have lived in the property for more than 6 months, and the landlord is using one of the 6 conduct grounds (see below) the notice period is 28 days.

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

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

This is different from the temporary ban on evictions.

In most cases there will be a longer gap between being served with notice and the date your landlord can apply for an eviction order.

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.

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 evict. For some grounds the notice periods may be shorter than this.

These new rules about notice periods apply to cases where the notice was served on or after 7 April 2020 will be in place until 30 September 2021.

(Any cases that had already been raised before 7 April 2020 are assessed by the original rules).

The change in the length of notice depends on the type of tenancy and what ground is used.

If you received notice on or after 7 April 2020

After the notice period ends your landlord then has six months to apply to the tribunal. If your landlord has not started legal proceedings (i.e. made an application to the tribunal) 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.

The length of notice required, and relevant dates are listed under each ground in the sections below.

What are the grounds?

There are 18 grounds for possession that a landlord can use to apply for an eviction order. The grounds are divided into 4 areas:

  • the property is required for another purpose,

  • the status of the tenant,

  • conduct of the tenant,

  • there is a legal reason why the tenancy can't continue.

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.

Changes to tribunal decisions during coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak

During the coronavirus outbreak the law has changed temporarily. If your landlord served you with notice on or after 7th April 2020, all grounds become 'discretionary'. This new rule remains in force until 30 September 2021.

This is not a ban on evictions but it means that the tribunal will have to decide whether it is reasonable for you to be evicted even where the grounds have been proved.

In considering whether it is reasonable the tribunal should consider all the circumstances of your case.

What should I do if I've been sent a Notice to leave?

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


The grounds


The property is required for another purpose

The following grounds could be used where your landlord requires the property for some other use.

Ground 1: Landlord intends to sell

Notice periods:  

  • If your landlord served notice before 7 April 2020 and you've lived in the property for six months or less, the notice period is 28 days  

  • If your landlord served notice before 7 April 2020 and you've lived in the property for more than six months the notice period is 84 days  

  • Due to the new coronavirus laws if your landlord served notice on or after 7 April 2020, regardless of how long you've lived in the property, six months’ notice is required

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 3 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.

Ground 2: Property to be sold by lender

Notice periods:  

  • If your landlord served notice before 7 April 2020 and you've lived in the property for six months or less, the notice period is 28 days  

  • If your landlord served notice before 7 April 2020 and you've lived in the property for more than six months the notice period is 84 days  

  • Due to the new coronavirus laws if your landlord served notice on or after 7 April 2020, regardless of how long you've lived in the property, six months’ notice is required

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.

Ground 3: Landlord intends to refurbish

Notice periods:  

  • If your landlord served notice before 7 April 2020 and you've lived in the property for six months or less, the notice period is 28 days  

  • If your landlord served notice before 7 April 2020 and you've lived in the property for more than six months the notice period is 84 days  

  • Due to the new coronavirus laws if your landlord served notice on or after 7 April 2020, regardless of how long you've lived in the property, six months’ notice is required

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.

Ground 4: Landlord intends to live in the property

Notice periods:  

  • If your landlord served notice before 7 April 2020 and you've lived in the property for six months or less, the notice period is 28 days  

  • If your landlord served notice before 7 April 2020 and you've lived in the property for more than six months the notice period is 84 days  

  • Due to the new coronavirus laws if your landlord served notice on or after 7 April 2020, regardless of how long you've lived in the property, three months’ notice is required

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.

Ground 5: Family member intends to live in the property

Notice periods:  

  • If your landlord served notice before 7 April 2020 and you've lived in the property for six months or less, the notice period is 28 days  

  • If your landlord served notice before 7 April 2020 and you've lived in the property for more than six months the notice period is 84 days  

  • Due to the new coronavirus laws if your landlord served notice on or after 7 April 2020, regardless of how long you've lived in the property, three months’ notice is required

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 or one of these family members above.

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

Ground 6: Landlord intends to use for non-residential purposes

Notice periods:  

  • If your landlord served notice before 7 April 2020 and you've lived in the property for six months or less, the notice period is 28 days  

  • If your landlord served notice before 7 April 2020 and you've lived in the property for more than six months the notice period is 84 days  

  • Due to the new coronavirus laws if your landlord served notice on or after 7 April 2020, regardless of how long you've lived in the property, six months’ notice is required

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.

Ground 7: Property required for religious purposes

Notice periods:  

  • If your landlord served notice before 7 April 2020 and you've lived in the property for six months or less, the notice period is 28 days  

  • If your landlord served notice before 7 April 2020 and you've lived in the property for more than six months the notice period is 84 days  

  • Due to the new coronavirus laws if your landlord served notice on or after 7 April 2020, regardless of how long you've lived in the property, six months’ notice is required

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.

Tenant's status

The following grounds apply where there is a change in the status of the tenant.

Ground 8: not an employee

Notice periods:  

  • If your landlord served notice before 7 April 2020 and you've lived in the property for six months or less, the notice period is 28 days  

  • If your landlord served notice before 7 April 2020 and you've lived in the property for more than six months the notice period is 84 days  

  • Due to the new coronavirus laws if your landlord served notice on or after 7 April 2020, regardless of how long you've lived in the property, six months’ notice is required

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.

Ground 9: No longer in need of supported accommodation

Notice periods:  

  • If your landlord served notice before 7 April 2020 and you've lived in the property for six months or less, the notice period is 28 days  

  • If your landlord served notice before 7 April 2020 and you've lived in the property for more than six months the notice period is 84 days  

  • Due to the new coronavirus laws if your landlord served notice on or after 7 April 2020, regardless of how long you've lived in the property, six months’ notice is required

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.

Conduct grounds

Grounds 10-15 are grounds about the conduct of the tenant.

Ground 10: Not occupying let property

Notice periods:  

  • The notice period is 28 days regardless of how long you've lived in the property

  • This notice period for this ground was not changed by the new coronavirus laws

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.

Ground 11: Breach of tenancy agreement

Notice periods:  

  • If your landlord served notice before 7 April 2020 regardless of how long you've lived in the property the notice period is 28 days  

  • Due to the new coronavirus laws if your landlord served notice on or after 7 April 2020, regardless of how long you've lived in the property, six months’ notice is required

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

Ground 12: Rent arrears

Notice periods:  

  • If your landlord served notice before 7 April 2020 regardless of how long you've lived in the property the notice period is 28 days  

  • Due to the new coronavirus laws if your landlord served notice on or after 7 April 2020, regardless of how long you've lived in the property, six months’ notice is required

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.


New 'pre-action requirements' for rent arrears

These apply to rent arrears cases where:

  • some or all of the arrears accrued after 7 April 2020 AND

  • the landlord applies to the tribunal on or after 6 October 2020

New rules mean your landlord must follow these steps before they can start a rent arrears eviction action. They 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)

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

  • In addition, your landlord must make ‘reasonable efforts’ to agree a repayment plan.

  • Your landlord must also take reasonable consideration of:

    • Any steps you’ve taken which might affect your ability to repay the arrears within a reasonable period of time

    • The extent to which you’ve complied with any repayment agreement

    • Any changes your circumstances which are likely to impact on you complying with a repayment agreement.

If you landlord applies to evict you due to rent arrears and you think they have missed any of these steps then you should tell the tribunal this at the hearing. The tribunal need to take this into consideration when deciding whether to grant an eviction order.

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

Ground 13: Criminal behaviour

Notice periods:  

  • If your landlord served notice before 7 April 2020 regardless of how long you've lived in the property the notice period is 28 days  

  • Due to the new coronavirus laws if your landlord served notice on or after 7 April 2020, regardless of how long you've lived in the property, three months’ notice is required

  • Due to changes in the new coronavirus laws. if your landlord served notice on or after 3 October 2020, the notice period goes back to being 28 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.

Ground 14: Anti-social behaviour

Notice periods:  

  • If your landlord served notice before 7 April 2020 regardless of how long you've lived in the property the notice period is 28 days  

  • Due to the new coronavirus laws if your landlord served notice on or after 7 April 2020, regardless of how long you've lived in the property, three months’ notice is required

  • Due to changes in the new coronavirus laws. if your landlord served notice on or after 3 October 2020, the notice period goes back to being 28 days

This is a discretionary ground.

An order for eviction may be made when:

  • the tenant has behaved in an anti-social 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 anti-social 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.

Ground 15: Association with person who has relevant conviction or engaged in relevant anti-social behaviour

Notice periods:  

  • If your landlord served notice before 7 April 2020 regardless of how long you've lived in the property the notice period is 28 days  

  • Due to the new coronavirus laws if your landlord served notice on or after 7 April 2020, regardless of how long you've lived in the property, three months’ notice is required

  • Due to changes in the new coronavirus laws. if your landlord served notice on or after 3 October 2020, the notice period goes back to being 28 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 anti-social 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.

Legal impediment to the let continuing

The following grounds apply where there is some legal matter which significantly affects the tenancy continuing.

Ground 16: Landlord has ceased to be registered

Notice periods:  

  • If your landlord served notice before 7 April 2020 and you've lived in the property for six months or less, the notice period is 28 days  

  • If your landlord served notice before 7 April 2020 and you've lived in the property for more than six months the notice period is 84 days  

  • Due to the new coronavirus laws if your landlord served notice on or after 7 April 2020, regardless of how long you've lived in the property, three months’ notice is required

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.

Ground 17: HMO license has been revoked

Notice periods:  

  • If your landlord served notice before 7 April 2020 and you've lived in the property for six months or less, the notice period is 28 days  

  • If your landlord served notice before 7 April 2020 and you've lived in the property for more than six months the notice period is 84 days  

  • Due to the new coronavirus laws if your landlord served notice on or after 7 April 2020, regardless of how long you've lived in the property, three months’ notice is required

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.

Ground 18: Overcrowding statutory notice

Notice periods:  

  • If your landlord served notice before 7 April 2020 and you've lived in the property for six months or less, the notice period is 28 days  

  • If your landlord served notice before 7 April 2020 and you've lived in the property for more than six months the notice period is 84 days  

  • Due to the new coronavirus laws if your landlord served notice on or after 7 April 2020, regardless of how long you've lived in the property, six months’ notice is required

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.

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

Last updated: 22 March 2021

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