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Unlawful evictions

It’s important you use the correct procedure when you end a tenancy. If you do not do this, you may be breaking the law.

You might be committing a criminal offence if you:

  • change the locks to keep the tenant out of the property
  • make life so uncomfortable for a tenant that they are forced to leave their home. For example cutting off water, gas or electricity supplies
  • physically remove a tenant from the property (only a Sheriff Officer may do this)

If your tenant has been unlawfully evicted, they can apply to the Tribunal for civil damages.

If you carry out an unlawful eviction after 28 October 2022, the amount of money which you can be required to pay the tenant will be based on their monthly rent. The Tribunal can award damages to the former tenant for an unlawful eviction of between 3 times the monthly rent and 36 times the monthly rent.

The Tribunal can also decide to set the damages at a level lower than the minimum amount, if it considers it appropriate to do so in the particular circumstances of the case.

If you're a joint landlord with other people, the Tribunal may make the order against all, some or only one of you.

The Tribunal must send a copy of the order awarding damages to  any local authority where you are registered as a landlord and Police Scotland so that they can decide if any further action should be taken.

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