How to prevent or stop an eviction

If your landlord wants to evict you, check what you can do and your options to stop or delay an eviction.

Your landlord cannot just turn up at your door and ask you to leave the property. They have to follow the correct legal procedure. If they do ask you to leave without following the proper legal process then it may be an illegal eviction and you should contact the police as soon as possible. 

Eviction because of rent arrears

If you have rent arrears because you're waiting on a decision about your benefit claim you should let your landlord know what's happening. Make sure you have handed in all the information required to process your claim and keep a note of any contact you have if with the benefits team.

You will still need to make an arrangement to clear the arrears. Make sure this is affordable and you can keep to the arrangement. If you can prove that you can stick to the arrangement, you are far less likely to be evicted.

You can find out more about dealing with rent arrears here.

Eviction due to antisocial behaviour

Your landlord may want to evict you because they believe that you, or someone living with you or visiting you, have been acting in an antisocial way or have been disturbing, upsetting, annoying or harassing your neighbours.

Talk with your landlord. Perhaps your neighbours have been complaining unreasonably about your behaviour. Or perhaps you could go to mediation to sort out your problems.

If you admit that there has been antisocial behaviour you should do everything you can to make sure it stops. You will want to show your landlord and, if your case calls at court, the sheriff, that you have turned over a new leaf.

My landlord wants to evict me because I'm neglecting or damaging the property

Your landlord may want to evict you because you haven't been taking good care of the property.

If you are having difficulty looking after the property because of health reasons, you should explain this to your landlord. They may be able to put you in touch with someone who can help you look after the property. Or you can contact the council's social work department, who will be able to carry out an assessment of your needs and arrange for you to get some help.

If you have damaged the property, you could repair the damage or offer to pay for the repairs. Only try repairing something yourself if you know what you are doing. If you make the damage worse you will only annoy your landlord even more.

If you have just been lazy, here is the prompt that you need. Get it sorted and prove that you can keep the place in good condition.

My landlord wants to evict me because they don't think I am living in my home

Talk to your landlord. If you have been away from home but still want to come back to live there, you should explain this to your landlord. You should have a good reason for being away for so long, such as looking after a sick relative or working away for a short spell.

If your landlord doesn't believe you are living in the property they can start abandonment procedures to end your tenancy, which are different from eviction procedures.

If you are living in your home, you may be able to prove you're still living there by showing your utility bills, such as gas or electricity.

My husband, wife or partner wants to evict me

If you are living with a partner or spouse, they may try to evict you from your home if you split up. However, they may not have the right to do this and you may be able to prevent this from happening. The section on relationship breakdown explains your rights.

What should I do if I have to leave?

If there is nothing you can do to stop yourself being evicted, you will have to look for somewhere else to live:

  • The section on finding accommodation has more information on your housing options.

  • If you are about to become homeless, you may be able to get help from the council. The council has a legal duty to provide advice and assistance to people who are threatened with homelessness.

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.

Can I be rehoused after an eviction?

If the eviction will make you homeless, the council may have to rehouse you. If this is the case you should not move out until the council has confirmed to you in writing that they are going to rehouse you. However, it is not guaranteed that the council will have to rehouse you in many circumstances even if you are homeless.

I'm a landlord looking for help

Shelter can't advise you if you are a private landlord and you're looking for help to evict a tenant but you can contact Scottish Association of Landlords or the National Landlords Association.

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

Last updated: 19 April 2018

Housing laws differ between Scotland and England.

This content applies to Scotland only.

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