Eviction before an LDT or SLDT lease ends

If a tenant has a limited duration tenancy (LDT) or short limited duration tenancy (SLDT), their written lease should say how long the tenancy lasts and when the lease expires. The landlord can only evict the tenant before this date in special circumstances.

This content applies to Scotland

Circumstances in which the landlord can evict the tenant before the lease expires

A landlord can only end a limited duration tenancy (LDT) or short limited duration tenancy (SLDT) before the term of the lease expires if:

  • both landlord and tenant agree to end the tenancy on a certain date, or

  • the tenant breaks a condition of the lease, or

  • the tenant becomes bankrupt, [1] or

  • the landlord needs to take the land back for non-agricultural purposes.

Agreeing to end the tenancy

The tenant and landlord can end the tenancy by mutual agreement at any time before the lease expires. In the case of an LDT, this agreement must be in writing, and must include provisions for compensation. [2] In the case of an SLDT, there is no legal requirement for the agreement to be in writing, but best practice dictates that it should be.

Eviction for breaking a condition of the lease

A landlord may be able to evict a tenant if s/he breaks an irritancy clause in the lease. [3] If the tenant is due to be evicted for breaking an irritancy clause, s/he should check that the clause is valid. Read the section on 'provisions of the lease' on the page on rights of LDT and SLDT tenants to find out more.

The landlord must give the tenant two months' notice to leave in writing. [4]

Resumption

The landlord has a right to get the land or part of the land back if s/he needs it for non-agricultural purposes (for example, for building homes) provided that:

  • there is a right of resumption in the lease

  • the landlord requires planning permission for her/his new project and this has been granted

  • the lease does not prohibit resumption of the land for that purpose

  • the landlord gives the tenant at least one year's notice in writing. [5]

Resumption of part of the land

The landlord may only need part of the land back. If the tenant does not wish to farm the reduced holding, s/he can send the landlord a notice to end the entire tenancy on the date specified in the original notice. The tenant must do this within 28 days of receiving the notice to quit. [6]

This means that when the tenant leaves, they can claim compensation for the whole farm, provided that:

  • the land the landlord wants back makes up more than a quarter of the value or area of the holding as a whole, or

  • the rest of the holding can reasonably be farmed on its own. [7]

If the tenant stays on the remaining land, their rent must be reduced accordingly. [8]

Even if there is a right of resumption in the lease, the landlord is not always entitled to resume land. If the resumption proposed by the landlord would be a 'fraud on the lease' under the common law, then the landlord cannot resume. A fraud on the lease would only occur if the amount that the landlord seeks to resume is so large as to make the balance of the holding unviable on its own.

Application to the Land Court and resolution of disputes

Application forms for the notices mentioned above can be downloaded from the Scottish Land Court website. In addition, any disputes over the termination of the tenancy can be referred to the Land Court. [9] The landlord and tenant can also agree to refer the matter to arbitration. [10]

Last updated: 29 December 2014

Footnotes

  • [1]

    s.19(b)(i) Agricultural Holdings (Scotland) Act 2003

  • [2]

    s.8(1) Agricultural Holdings (Scotland) Act 2003

  • [3]

    s.19(b)(ii) Agricultural Holdings (Scotland) Act 2003

  • [4]

    s.18(7) Agricultural Holdings (Scotland) Act 2003

  • [5]

    s.17(1) Agricultural Holdings (Scotland) Act 2003

  • [6]

    s.17(3) Agricultural Holdings (Scotland) Act 2003

  • [7]

    s.52(3) Agricultural Holdings (Scotland) Act 2003

  • [8]

    s.17(4) Agricultural Holdings (Scotland) Act 2003

  • [9]

    s.75(2) Agricultural Holdings (Scotland) Act 2003

  • [10]

    s.78 Agricultural Holdings (Scotland) Act 2003