Procedures that must be followed during possession proceedings relating to tenancies and other occupancies of residential premises. There is also information specific to rent arrears as well as public law, human rights and disability discrimination defences.

The different types of tenancy, and the particular grounds for possession that apply to them, are covered in the other Security of tenure sections.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) and changes to eviction procedure

The Coronavirus (Scotland) Act 2020 temporarily changed:

  • the period of notice required - this applies between 7 April 2020 and 29 March 2020

  • all grounds used in eviction actions in the private rented sector become discretionary - this applies until 30 September 2022

Protection for tenants once notice periods change

Transitional provisions are in place to extend some protections to tenants as coronavirus legislation expires.

This means that:

  • all notices served between 7 April 2020 and 29 March 2022 remain subject to the extended notice periods, and cannot be shortened

  • if a landlord issues a new notice on or after 30 March 2022 using the same ground as an existing notice served prior to this date, they will not be able to apply to the court or tribunal for an eviction order until the original notice period has expired

Where clients receive eviction notices on or after 30th March 2022 advisers may want to check whether this is a reissued notice in an effort to circumvent the longer notice periods.

This page must be read in conjunction with the page Coronavirus (COVID-19) Eviction and security of tenure for information about discretionary grounds and correct notice periods.

Preventing eviction over rent arrears

This section looks at the key things to check when advising on eviction due to rent arrears.  

Identifying type of court action

The type of court action can depend on the level of arrears and what outcome the landlord is seeking. The landlord may seek repayment of arrears only, recovery of possession only, or both recovery of arrears and repossession of the property (known as a combined action). 

Arrears and Scottish secure tenants

Where a landlord wishes to recover possession from a Scottish secure tenant, there are particular steps that must be taken. 

Private residential tenants rent arrears

Landlords of private residential tenancies can raise action to evict due to rent arrears under ground 12. This ground me be either mandatory or discretionary depending on the amount of arrears. 

Assured tenancy rent arrears

This section looks at the grounds for possession for rent arrears in assured and short assured tenancies. 

Other remedies for assured tenants

Assured tenants may be able to use additional remedies under the Housing (Scotland) Act 1988 to prevent eviction. 

Considering reasonableness

When recovery of possession is sought from a Scottish secure tenant the reasonableness factor should always be considered. 

Withholding rent

Where the landlord is in breach of his/her repairing obligations, the tenant has the right to withhold rent until the repairs are carried out. 

Housing benefit issues

Housing Benefit questions often arise in rent arrears cases. 

Public law and human rights defences

Public law defences based upon conventional judicial review grounds or a breach of human rights available against public authority landlords. 

Disability discrimination defences

Defences to repossession proceedings based on disability discrimination. 

Eviction procedures

This page gives a summary of the procedure that must be carried in post decree evictions. 

After decree remedies

There may be action that a tenant can take even if a decree has been granted against her/him. 

Section 11 duties

The Homelessness (Scotland) Act 2003 places an obligation on landlords and creditors to inform the relevant local authority where they plan to evict a tenant by raising proceedings for possession or serve certain notices relating to the standard security. This obligation is placed by section 11 and came into force on 1 April 2009. 

Social sector rent arrears - pre-action requirements

From 1 August 2012 all social landlords must comply with certain pre-action requirements before they seek a possession order where one of the grounds is rent arrears. 

Private sector rent arrears - pre-action requirements

From 6 October 2020 private landlords must comply with certain pre-action requirements before they apply for an eviction order where one of the grounds is rent arrears. This page provides details of the requirements.

This content applies to Scotland

Last updated: 30 March 2022