Eviction if you rent from the council or a housing association

Check the ground for eviction

You can only be evicted for certain reasons, called grounds for eviction. There are 15 different grounds for eviction.

Your notice of proceedings letter must say which eviction ground is being used.

The council or housing association will need to prove in court that the eviction ground applies.

You must be offered a new home if you’re being evicted using certain grounds called management grounds.

The eviction ban

For some eviction grounds, there's a temporary eviction ban.

This means that if the court grants an eviction order, you can only be evicted 6 months after the order is granted, or when the ban ends, whichever is sooner.

The ban currently applies until 31 March 2024.

Check the eviction ground being used to see if the eviction ban applies to you.

Conduct eviction grounds

The council or housing association can only use these eviction grounds because of something you’ve done.

They do not need to offer you an alternative home if they use conduct eviction grounds.

1. Rent arrears or breaking the terms of your tenancy agreement

You can only be evicted for this reason if:

  • you have rent arrears

  • you have broken a term of your tenancy agreement

The council or housing association must offer help with your arrears before sending you a notice of proceedings.

Check our advice on stopping an eviction for rent arrears.

If they say you’ve broken a term of your tenancy agreement, they must say what you’ve done. They’ll need to show evidence of this in court.

The court must then decide whether it's reasonable to evict you.

The eviction ban sometimes applies to this ground

If the sheriff court grants an eviction order, your eviction date can be delayed by up to 6 months.

There's an exception if you have £2250 rent arrears or more. In this case, you can be evicted sooner.

2. Illegal act or criminal offence

You can only be evicted for this reason if you or someone you live with has a conviction for a criminal offence.

The offence must have been committed in your home or nearby.

They council or housing association will need to show evidence of this in court.

The court can then decide whether it's reasonable to evict you. If the eviction process started within 12 months of the conviction, they do not need to consider this.

The eviction ban does not apply to this ground

The sheriff court does not have to delay your eviction.

3 & 4: Damaging or neglecting the property or furniture

You can only be evicted for this reason if you or someone you live with allowed the damage or neglect of:

  • the property

  • furniture supplied by the council or housing association

  • common parts and areas, like the stairwell or a shared garden

The council or housing association will need to show evidence of this in court.

If the damage or neglect is caused by your lodger or sub-tenant, you must take reasonable steps to make them leave to avoid eviction.

The court must then decide whether it's reasonable to evict you.

The eviction ban applies to this ground

If the sheriff court grants an eviction order, your eviction date can be delayed by up to 6 months.

5. You’re not living in the property as your main home

You can only be evicted for this reason if either:

  • you have not lived in your home for 6 months

  • you’re staying somewhere else so often, that place has become your main home

The council or housing association will need to show evidence of this in court.

They cannot use this ground if you have a genuine reason for being away, such as:

  • working away

  • being hospitalised

  • temporarily caring for a family member

Show proof of why you’ve been away, such as a letter from your employer or doctor.

The court must decide whether it's reasonable to evict you.

The eviction ban does not apply to this ground

The sheriff court does not have to delay your eviction.

6. You gave false information on your housing application

You can only be evicted for this reason if you knowingly lied or gave false information to get your home.

For example, you knew you had rent arrears but did not say this on your housing application.

The council or housing association must have evidence to prove that you lied. They'll need to show this in court.

The court must then decide whether it's reasonable to evict you.

The eviction ban applies to this ground

If the sheriff court grants an eviction order, your eviction date can be delayed by up to 6 months.

7. Antisocial behaviour or harassment

You can only be evicted for this reason if you, someone you live or someone visiting you has caused alarm, nuisance or annoyance to your neighbours.

This could be because of behaviour that is:

  • violent

  • excessively noisy

  • threatening or abusive

This ground can be used if the council or housing association do not believe it's appropriate to offer you a new home somewhere else. For example, if you moved the antisocial behaviour would continue.

They'll need to show evidence of antisocial behaviour in court. The court must then decide whether it's reasonable to evict you.

Check our advice on eviction for antisocial behaviour.

The eviction ban does not apply to this ground

The sheriff court does not have to delay your eviction.

Management eviction grounds

The council or housing association can only use these eviction grounds if they need you to move.

They must offer you a new home or help you find a private let. It must be suitable for you and anyone who lives with you.

8. You’re causing nuisance or annoyance

You can only be evicted for this reason if you or someone you live with has:

  • caused alarm, nuisance or annoyance in your home or the local area

  • harassed someone in your local area

This ground can be used if the council or housing association believe it's appropriate to move you. For example, if they think the behaviour would stop if you were given a home somewhere else.

They'll need to show evidence of antisocial behaviour in court.

Check our advice on eviction for antisocial behaviour.

The eviction ban does not apply to this ground

The sheriff court does not have to delay your eviction.

9. Overcrowding in your home

You can only be evicted for this reason if your home is legally overcrowded.

This does not include temporary overcrowding, if you have friends or family visiting.

The council or housing association will need to show evidence of this in court.

Check if your home is legally overcrowded

The eviction ban applies to this ground

If the sheriff court grants an eviction order, your eviction date can be delayed by up to 6 months.

10. Demolition or substantial repair work needed

You can only be evicted for this reason if:

  • your home needs to be demolished

  • substantial repair work is needed and you cannot live there while the work takes place

The demolition or repair work must take place shortly after you move out. The council or housing association will need to show evidence of this in court.

The sheriff court can make a separate order to allow you to move back in after repair work.

If you’re evicted using this ground, you could claim a home loss payment.

The eviction ban does not apply to this ground

The sheriff court does not have to delay your eviction.

11 & 12. Disability adaptations, design or location are not required

You can only be evicted for this reason if all of the following apply:

  • your home is built, adapted or has nearby facilities for someone who is disabled or has specific access needs

  • no-one in your family requires these designs, adaptations or facilities

  • the property is needed by someone who is disabled or has specific access needs

The council or housing association will need to show evidence of this in court.

The eviction ban applies to these grounds

If the sheriff court grants an eviction order, your eviction date can be delayed by up to 6 months.

13. The lease on the property is ending

You can only be evicted for this reason if the property is leased from a third party then rented to you.

The council or housing association can only evict you if the lease agreement has ended or will end within 6 months of you getting a notice of proceedings.

They'll need to show evidence of this in court.

The eviction ban applies to this ground

If the court grants an eviction order, your eviction date can be delayed by up to 6 months.

14. Island council education worker requires the property

This eviction ground can only be used by:

  • Orkney Islands Council

  • Shetland Islands Council

  • Comhairle nan Eilean Siar (formerly the Western Isles Council)

You can only be evicted for this reason if all of the following apply:

  • the property is specifically reserved for a teacher or education worker

  • the property is needed for them to move into

  • the council has no other suitable accommodation for them

  • you’re no longer employed by the council as a teacher or education worker, or you've been given notice that your employment will be terminated

The council will need to show evidence of this in court.

The eviction ban does not apply to this ground

The sheriff court does not have to delay your eviction.

15. The tenancy will be transferred to your partner or ex-partner

This eviction ground can only be used if you no longer want to live with a partner or ex-partner.

The council or housing association can only use this ground if all of the following apply:

  • you’re the tenant

  • you live with a partner or ex-partner

  • you no longer want to live together

  • the tenancy will be transferred to your partner or ex-partner

  • the council or housing association wants to give you somewhere else to live

In some cases, your ex-partner must have lived with you for at least 6 months for this ground to be used. This does not apply if they’re your:

  • married spouse or former spouse

  • civil partner or former civil partner

The eviction ban applies to this ground

If the sheriff court grants an eviction order, your eviction date can be delayed by up to 6 months.

If you’re being offered a new home

For management eviction grounds you must be offered a new home.

It must:

  • be furnished to the same standard as your current home

  • have enough rooms for everyone that currently lives with you

  • be as close to your work, place of study and children’s school as your current home

  • meet any needs your family has, such as disabled access

Get legal advice from a solicitor or a housing adviser if you think an offer is unsuitable. They can ask for an offer to be withdrawn or for another offer of suitable housing.

Find a solicitor on the Law Society of Scotland

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

Eviction grounds if you have a short Scottish secure tenancy

If you’re being evicted during your fixed term, the council or housing association must use an eviction ground.

The only exception is at the end of your fixed term. They do not need to use an eviction ground.

Contact a Shelter Scotland adviser or get legal advice from a solicitor if you're being evicted from a short Scottish secure tenancy. They can tell you your rights and help you challenge the eviction.

Last updated: 3 October 2023

Housing laws differ between Scotland and England.

This content applies to Scotland only.

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