Reasons for being evicted
If your landlord is trying to evict you from the council, housing association or housing co-op home you're renting, they have to give a reason, or a 'ground'.
There are 15 different possible grounds for eviction. You should get a notice of proceedings telling you the grounds being used.
The grounds are split into two categories – conduct grounds and management grounds
Conduct grounds are reasons to evict you because of something you've done (or haven't done).
When your landlord goes to court to ask for the eviction order, they have to prove that what you've done is enough to have you evicted.
If you're being evicted on conduct grounds, get advice from a housing aid centre, such as Shelter Scotland's free housing advice helpline on 0808 800 4444.
They can help you prepare your case for the court and arrange for someone to represent you.
Conduct grounds you can be evicted for include:
1. Rent arrears or breaking your tenancy agreement
If you haven't paid the rent, what you owe is called rent arrears. If this is why you're being evicted, your council or landlord has to follow a number of steps to try to help you out before they can try to evict you.
You can also get evicted for ground 1 if you broke one of the conditions of your tenancy agreement. When you get your notice of proceedings it should tell you which condition you broke.
2. Using the home for illegal reasons
This ground can be used if you or someone you live with was convicted for an offence that was committed in your home or in the area near your home.
For example, if you were convicted for dealing drugs in your local area, or letting your home be used for prostitution, you can be evicted on this ground.
3. Deterioration of the property
If you or someone you live with has caused the home to get into a bad state, either by damaging it or not taking care of it, you can be evicted.
This also includes areas you share with your neighbours, like the stairwell or the garden.
4. Deterioration of furniture
This ground can be used if you damage the furniture or fittings in the home. Natural wear and tear can't be used as grounds for eviction but if the damage is caused because of your negligence it can be.
This includes furniture in a common area, like a garden.
5. Absence from the home
Your landlord can try to evict you if they think you haven't lived in your home for six months, or if they think you're staying somewhere else so often that it's become your main home.
You might have a genuine reason for being away for so long – like being in hospital, caring for a family member or working away. If you do, and you didn't tell your landlord this at the time, you might need to prove why you were away from home to stop the eviction.
6. You made a false statement to get the home
If you lied in your application when you tried to get housing, you can be evicted.
For example, if you had rent arrears at your last tenancy but said you didn't in your application, you have knowingly lied and can be evicted.
7. Antisocial behaviour
This ground can be used if you or something living with you has been taking part in antisocial behaviour.
This could include being too noisy, being violent, threatening neighbours, being verbally abusive, destroying or vandalising things in the local area or not controlling your pets.
This behaviour doesn't have to happen in your home, it could have happened in your neighbourhood.
If this ground is used against you, your council or landlord has to prove they can't just move you somewhere else.
For example, if your bad behaviour has only been directed at one neighbour, they have to prove that it isn't just because of a dispute with that neighbour and that you'd keep acting antisocially if you moved home.
Management grounds are reasons to evict you because your landlord is managing the homes they own and wants to move you out of your home.
Unlike conduct grounds, if you're being evicted on management grounds your landlord has to find you another house or flat that's suitable for your needs.
The sheriff will not give your landlord an eviction order until they're happy that your new home will be suitable. This means it should be:
- as convenient for your work or place of study and your children's school as your last home
- big enough for your whole family
- furnished to the same standard as your last home
- suitable for any special needs you or your family have
Management grounds you can be evicted for include:
8. Nuisance, annoyance or harassment
If you or someone you live with are causing problems in your local area because of your behaviour, your landlord can apply to the court to evict you as long as they can move you to a new area.
9. Overcrowded home
If your home is overcrowded you can be evicted and offered a new home, which is big enough for your household.
This doesn't count if your home is only overcrowded for a short while, like when friends or family come to visit and stay with you.
10. Demolition of, or substantial work on, the property
If your landlord wants to demolish your home or do a lot of work to it, they can evict you and move you to another home.
If work is needed, they have to prove the work can't be done while you're still living there and that work will be carried out shortly after you move out.
If you're allowed to move back in once the work is finished, the sheriff should make another order saying this.
11. The home is designed for people with special needs
If your home has been specially modified for people with special needs and nobody in your family has these needs, you may be evicted and moved to another home.
You can only be evicted if the landlord is going to let the home to someone who does have special needs.
12. The home is part of a group located near special needs facilities
Similar to ground 11, if your home is part of a group of flats or houses which have been specially designed for special needs and nobody in your family has special needs, you can be evicted and moved to another home.
This also counts if your home is part of a group of homes that have been specially built near special needs facilities.
13. The landlord has leased the home
If your landlord has been renting your home from someone else, they can evict you when their agreement with the person they're renting from ends.
Your landlord must be able to give you an alternative home.
14. The landlord is an islands council and the home is for an education worker
This ground only counts if you're renting a home from the Orkney Islands, Shetland Islands or Western Isles Councils.
If your home is reserved for an education worker and you aren't one, you can be evicted and moved to a different home if the property is needed for a new education worker.
15. The landlord wants to transfer the home
If you no longer want to live with the person you're sharing the home with, your landlord might want to transfer the lease to them.
They must have lived with you in the home for at least six months (unless they're your spouse or civil partner), and your landlord must offer you another home.