Guide

If you're being evicted - private tenant

Last updated: 16 May 2017

Reasons for being evicted

If your landlord wants to go to court to have you evicted, they have to give a reason, or 'ground', for this.

There are 17 different possible grounds for eviction. Your notice of proceedings and court summons should both tell you the grounds being used.

The grounds are split into two categories – mandatory grounds and discretionary grounds.

Mandatory grounds

If your landlord states any of these grounds as a reason to evict you, and can prove they apply to you, the sheriff has to order your eviction no matter what your argument is.

Mandatory grounds you can be evicted for include:

1. Landlord wants to move into the home or it was previously their own home

(two months' notice)

This ground can be used if:

  • your landlord wants you to move out so that they or their husband/wife or civil partner can move in
  • the home was your landlord's only or main home before your tenancy and they want to move back in
  • your landlord became the landlord after your tenancy started (but not through buying the house) and they want to move in

Your landlord can't use this ground to evict you if they want to sell the home. They have to move in first.

2. Mortgage default

(two months' notice)

If your landlord has failed to keep up with their mortgage payments for the home, their mortgage lender might want to sell the home to cover your landlord's debts.

Although the blame here lies with your landlord, you still have to move out so the home can be sold.

3. Off season holiday let

(two weeks' notice)

If your landlord usually rents your home out as a holiday home, they can evict you to do this as long as:

  • it had been rented out as a holiday home in the year before you moved in, and
  • you had lived in the home for less than eight months before you were given the notice of proceedings

4. Vacation let of student accommodation

(two weeks' notice)

If your home is let to students by a university or college during term time, your landlord can evict you on this ground as long as:

  • it had been rented out to students in the year before you moved in, and
  • you had lived in the home for less than a year before you were given the notice of proceedings

5. Minister or lay missionary property

(two months' notice)

Your landlord can evict you from the home if they want to let a minister or lay missionary move in while they are working in the area.

6. Re-development

(two months' notice)

If your landlord wants to do major work to the home and it can't be done while you're living there (or if you've said you don't want to live there while it's done), you can be evicted.

If you have to move out for this reason, you should be entitled to moving expenses.

7. Tenancy inherited under a will or intestacy

(two months' notice)

If the person who lived in the home before you died and left you the tenancy in their will, your landlord can evict you, unless:

  • the person was your husband, wife or civil partner, and
  • they hadn't inherited the tenancy from someone else

The landlord has to send you a notice of proceedings within a year of the person dying, or within a year of the landlord learning they had died, otherwise you can't be evicted on this ground.

8. Three months' rent arrears

(two weeks' notice)

If you have three months or more of rent arrears (unpaid rent), your landlord can ask the court to evict you.

If you still have three months of arrears on the day you go to court, the sheriff automatically has to order to have you evicted, unless you can prove that the debt is due to a delay in your housing benefit being paid.

If you can reduce your rent arrears to less than three months by the time you go to court, the sheriff doesn't have to evict you and can decide not to if they think you're trying to clear the debt.

Discretionary grounds

Discretionary grounds are ones that aren't automatic and could be rejected by the court.

If your landlord states any of these grounds as reasons to evict you, the sheriff has to decide whether or not you should be evicted.

9. Suitable alternative accommodation available

(two months' notice)

Your landlord can use this ground if they have another home you can move into.

This new home has to be suitable for you and your family, and you must have the same or similar rights that you have in your current home.

10. Tenant served notice to quit but didn't leave

(two weeks' notice)

If you gave your landlord written notice that you were going to move out of the home but then changed your mind and didn't leave, they can use this ground.

The landlord has to give you a notice of proceedings within six months of the date you said you were going to leave.

11. Persistent delay in paying rent

(two weeks' notice)

If you keep paying your rent late your landlord can try to have you evicted on this ground.

If you don't have any rent arrears (unpaid rent) when you go to court, it's unlikely the sheriff will decide you should be evicted. However, this doesn't mean they definitely won't.

If the reason your rent is paid late is because the housing benefit department pays your benefit late, the sheriff has to bear this in mind.

12. Some rent unpaid

(two weeks' notice)

This ground is similar to ground 11 – if you're behind on your rent payments your landlord can try to have you evicted.

For the sheriff to consider whether to evict you, there must still be some rent arrears (unpaid rent) on the day you go to court.

13. Breach of tenancy condition

(two weeks' notice)

If you've broken one of the rules mentioned in your tenancy agreement, your landlord can try to have you evicted.

This ground can't be used if the rule you broke was not paying rent – your landlord has to use one of the grounds for rent arrears instead.

14. Deterioration of the house or common parts

(two weeks' notice)

If you (or someone living with you) damage part of the home or the area around it, your landlord can evict you on this ground.

They can also use this ground if you didn't report something that was damaged and it got worse because of this – for example, if a window was leaking and the windowsill rotted.

15. Nuisance or annoyance

(two weeks' notice)

Your landlord can try to evict you on this ground if you or someone living with you has been:

  • causing a nuisance or annoying your neighbours
  • convicted of using the home, or letting it be used, for something illegal – like dealing drugs

16. Deterioration of condition of furniture

(two weeks' notice)

If you (or someone living with you) has damaged the furniture in your home or you haven't looked after it properly, your landlord can try to have you evicted.

If a piece of furniture is damaged you should report it to your landlord as soon as possible, so they can decide what should happen next. They might just ask you to replace it, instead of trying to evict you.

17. Ex-employees of the landlord

(two months' notice)

If you used to be employed by the landlord and you were allowed to live in your home as part of your job, your landlord may want to have you evicted on this ground after your job ends.

If you're being evicted - private tenant
Reasons for being evicted