Eviction if you rent from the council or a housing association

Getting a court summons

A court summons is a letter that says you must go to the sheriff court for an eviction hearing.

Do not ignore a court summons if you get one.

Check what date you need to go to court and get a solicitor to represent you.

What a court summons looks like

At the top of the letter it should say Summary Cause Summons.

See what a court summons looks like:

Check the summons for:

  • the claim - this is the reason you're being evicted

  • the return date - your solicitor will need this date if they want to respond to the court before a hearing

  • the calling date - this is the date and time your case will be heard in court

Get a solicitor if you get a court summons

As soon as you get a court summons, get legal advice from a solicitor. Ask them to represent you in court.

A solicitor can:

  • explain your rights

  • respond to the court summons

  • negotiate with the council or housing association

  • make a case to stop the eviction

Find a solicitor on the Law Society of Scotland

Check our advice on getting legal help for free or at a lower cost.

If you cannot get a solicitor in time

If you cannot get a solicitor, you can ask a lay representative to speak for you.

This is someone who’s not legally qualified but can represent you in court. It can be a friend or family member.

You'll need the court's permission to use a lay representative.

Some advice agencies can represent you or refer you for legal representation. You could:

Check if you can get in-court legal advice

In some sheriff courts you can get legal advice from in-court advisors.

They can help you if you cannot get legal representation or if you're representing yourself.

Check if your local court has in-court advisors on the Scottish Courts website

If you cannot get anyone to represent you

Go to court on the calling date.

Explain that you need legal representation and ask for more time to get it.

The sheriff can give you more time to find representation.

Be prepared to explain your case if the court says no.

Last updated: 3 October 2023

Housing laws differ between Scotland and England.

This content applies to Scotland only.

Get advice if you're in England