Eviction if you rent from the council or a housing association

Check your eviction rights

Your eviction rights depend on the tenancy type you have and the reason that you're being evicted.

You can only be evicted for certain reasons, such as rent arrears or antisocial behaviour. There are 15 different reasons, called eviction grounds.

You cannot be evicted without a court order. This can take time and you can negotiate to keep your home.

Check which tenancy you have

Your eviction rights depend on the type of tenancy you have.

If you rent from the council or housing association you’ll usually have a Scottish secure tenancy.

You can have a short Scottish secure tenancy in specific circumstances. This could be when:

  • you’ve got a new tenancy because of antisocial behaviour or rent arrears

  • you’re living in temporary homeless accommodation

The council or housing association must have told you why you have this tenancy. Your tenancy must have a fixed term at least 6 months.

You can have a different tenancy type if you have a mid-market rent property. Use our tenancy checker if you're not sure.

The eviction process

The council or housing association must follow these steps:

  1. They must send you a letter called a notice of proceedings

  2. After at least 4 weeks, they can apply for a court date - you'll get a court summons letter telling you when this is

  3. They must tell the court why you should be evicted. If you go to court, there can be several hearings, which are usually weeks apart

  4. If the court agrees to evict you, the council or housing association must wait at least 14 days in case you appeal

  5. After the appeal period, the council or housing association can get sheriff officers to send you a letter telling you when you must leave - this is usually gives you 14 days

  6. Sheriff officers can remove you from your home if you do not leave by this date

The council or housing association does not need follow this process if you’ve abandoned your home. Check our advice on stopping eviction for abandonment.

If you have a short Scottish secure tenancy

In most cases, the eviction process is the same. The only exception is at the end of your fixed term.

If you're being evicted at the end of your fixed term:

  • you must get a letter called a notice of possession

  • the notice of possession must give you at least 2 months' notice

  • the council or housing association does not need to use an eviction ground

  • you can appeal the eviction within 14 days' of getting a notice of possession

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 appeal.

Find a solicitor on the Law Society of Scotland

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

Illegal eviction

If someone verbally tells you that you have to move out, this is not valid notice and you do not have to leave.

If you’re being forced to leave your home without a court order, this is illegal eviction.

Contact a Shelter Scotland adviser for advice.

What to do if you get a notice of proceedings

Check that it:

  • gives you at least 4 weeks' notice

  • has been sent to everyone in your home aged over 16

  • says what eviction ground is being used - this is the reason you’re being evicted

You do not have to move out by the date on the notice.

This is how long the council or housing has before they can apply to court.

What to say to the council or housing association

Contact the council or housing association. Ask why they are evicting you. Ask what evidence they have for the eviction ground.

In most cases, you can negotiate and try to stop the eviction. Eviction has to be their last resort.

Eviction for rent arrears

The council or housing association must follow steps called pre-action requirements.

They cannot evict you unless they help you deal with the debt.

They must:

  • tell you how much you owe

  • help you get money advice and debt management

  • try and agree on a repayment plan with you

  • give you time to stick to a repayment plan

Get money and debt advice to help you manage your finances and draw up a repayment plan. This will help you to keep your home.

Check our advice on stopping eviction for rent arrears.

Eviction for antisocial behaviour

The council or housing association must follow strict rules if they want to evict you.

There must be evidence that someone has behaved antisocially in your home or local area.

This can be:

  • you

  • someone who lives with you

  • someone who has visited you

Check our advice on eviction for antisocial behaviour.

Eviction if you’re disabled

If the reason you're being evicted is connected to your disability, this could be discrimination.

A solicitor could argue in court that you should not be evicted for this reason.

Get advice on discrimination from the Equality Advisory and Support Service

When to get advice from Shelter Scotland

Contact a Shelter Scotland adviser if you're worried about eviction and you want to talk through your options.

An adviser could help you:

  • check if your notice is valid

  • understand your housing options

  • find legal help to stop the eviction

  • check if an offer of a new home is suitable

Before contacting an adviser, gather any relevant documents you have, including:

  • your notice of proceedings

  • any court letters you have

  • any letters about giving you a short Scottish secure tenancy

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