Eviction if you live in student accommodation

If you live in student accommodation you'll have a common law tenancy.

Student accommodation is:

  • student halls or housing rented from your university or college

  • purpose-built student accommodation rented from a private company, where the building has at least 30 bedrooms only rented by students

You have some protection against eviction. Your landlord must give you a valid eviction notice if they want you to move out. They can only evict you at certain times.

If you do not leave at the end of your notice, your landlord must apply for a court order to make you leave.

Check when you can be evicted

Your tenancy agreement should contain a term about ending your tenancy. Your landlord can follow this process to evict you.

If there your tenancy agreement doesn't have a term about ending your tenancy, you can only be evicted:

  • at the end of your fixed term

  • if you break a term of your tenancy

At the end of your fixed term

Your tenancy agreement should say if you have a fixed term. If you do, your landlord can evict you at the end of the fixed term. Your landlord will usually contact you near the end of your fixed term to remind you when you need to move out.

If neither you or your landlord end your agreement, it will automatically renew at the end of the fixed term. This is called tacit relocation.

Your agreement might say how long it renews for. If not, it renews for the same initial term.

If a fixed period was not agreed when you moved in, your tenancy will last for 1 year from the date that you moved in or first paid rent.

If you break a term of your tenancy

If you have a tenancy agreement it will include the terms and conditions of your tenancy.

Your landlord can evict you if you break one of the terms.

For example, if you stop paying your rent or you damage the property.

The eviction ban applies

There's a temporary eviction ban for some eviction grounds. 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 applies until 31 March 2024.

The eviction ban does not apply when:

  • you’ve stopped living in the property

  • you're being evicted for antisocial behaviour or criminal activity

Check how much notice you should get

You should get a notice in writing. It should say when your tenancy will end and give you a set amount of notice before you have to leave.

You must get at least:

  • 40 days’ notice, if you have a fixed term of 4 months or more

  • 28 days’ notice, if you have a fixed term of less than 4 months or if you break a term of your agreement

If your landlord gives you notice verbally, ask them for confirmation in writing. You might need this if you are applying for housing from the council or a housing association.

If your landlord has not given enough notice

Tell them you're entitled to the correct amount of notice.

Use this template to help you know what to say.

Template: what to say if your notice is not valid

I’m letting you know that I will not move out by <date on your notice>.

I have checked my rights on the Shelter Scotland website. As a common law tenant, I should get a set amount of notice.

I have not been able to find a new home to move into, and leaving my tenancy would make me homeless.

Please confirm that you’ll give me more time to find a new home.

What happens when your notice period ends

If you do not leave at the end of your notice, your landlord can apply for an order from the sheriff court telling you to leave.

The sheriff must automatically grant the order if:

  • you're coming to the end of your tenancy and you've been given valid notice

  • your landlord can prove you've broken a condition of your tenancy agreement

You may have to pay your landlord's court fees unless you have a good reason for not moving out.

Negotiating with your landlord

You can negotiate with your landlord if they want to evict you.

Ask them to delay or stop the eviction.

Tell your landlord if you need more time, for example to find somewhere else to live or to save for a deposit.

If you’re being evicted for breaking your tenancy agreement, explain what you'll do to fix it. For example, if you're being evicted for rent arrears, arrange to pay back what you owe.

Use this template to ask your landlord for more time.

Template: ask your landlord for more time

Copy and paste the text below and personalise it with your details.

Subject: asking for more time to find a new home

Since you sent me a notice to leave, I have been looking for a new home.

It's unlikely I will be able to move out by <date on your notice to leave>, because <explain why, for example: I'm having difficulties finding a suitable property / I have found a new home but I cannot move in yet>.

For this reason, I will have to stay in my home until at least <date>. I'm asking you to agree that I can stay until I have somewhere to move into.

As you will be aware, you must get an eviction order from the tribunal before I have to leave.

I hope we can come to an agreement so that I can find a new home and we can avoid going to the tribunal.

Please confirm in writing if you'll allow me more time to find a new home.

<your name>

You can also download the letter to send as an email attachment or through the post:

If you’re being illegally evicted

Your landlord must give you valid notice and then apply for an order from the sheriff court before telling you to leave.

If they have not done this, they must not:

  • change the locks while you're out

  • physically remove you from your home

  • force you to leave by threatening or harassing you

  • make your living situation so unbearable that you leave

If they do, it could be a criminal offence. Check our advice on illegal eviction and harassment.

Finding somewhere else to live

Start looking for a new home as soon as you can.

Check our advice on housing options if you're a student.

Getting help if you're being evicted

If you get an eviction letter, speak to your student union. They can:

  • help negotiate with your landlord so you can stay

  • tell you where to get help if you cannot afford your rent

  • help you find new accommodation if you have to leave

Contact the council and tell them you’re being evicted. They have a duty to help if you're at risk of homelessness within 2 months.

Check our advice on making a homeless application.

If you're not a British or Irish citizen, your rights to homeless help could be different. Check our advice on how your immigration status affects your housing options.

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