Guide

If you're being evicted – private tenant
Last updated: 17 May 2018

Tenants with a private residential tenancy

If you have a private residential tenancy, your landlord can only evict you if one of the 18 grounds for eviction applies.

In order for your landlord to bring the tenancy to an end legally, they must give you a Notice to Leave. This is a specific document which tells you which of the eviction grounds applies (the reason why your landlord is asking you to leave), and how long you have before you must move out of the property.

Your landlord may also attach supporting evidence which proves the reason they're asking you to leave is real.

Your landlord must give you the Notice to Leave in one of these ways: • by handing it to you • by sending it to you by recorded delivery post at the address of the Let Property • by emailing it to you at your current email address (if you have previously agreed that email is your preferred contact method)

If your landlord sends the Notice by recorded delivery post, or by email, the law says they must add an extra two days to allow for delivery.

How much notice your landlord needs to give you will depend on • how long you have lived in the let property • why your landlord is asking you to leave

If you have lived in the property for six months or less, your landlord must give you at least 28 days' notice. They must also give you at least 28 days' notice if you've lived there for longer than six months but are being asked to leave for one or more of the six reasons below (and only for these reasons):

• you're no longer occupying the let property • you've has breached a term of the tenancy agreement • you're in rent arrears over three consecutive months on the date the landlord applies to the Tribunal for an eviction order • you have a relevant criminal conviction • you've engaged in relevant anti-social behaviour • you associate with a person who has a relevant conviction or has engaged in relevant anti-social behaviour

If you've have lived in the property for more than six months, and your landlord isn't relying on one of the grounds above, they must give you 84 days' notice.

If your landlord gives you a Notice to Leave and you don't move out as soon as the notice period ends, your landlord can apply to the First-tier Tribunal for an eviction order. They can only do this within six months from the date in the notice they gave you.

The Tribunal will consider your landlord's case and decide whether the eviction ground exists. If your landlord is relying on a mandatory eviction ground and the Tribunal is satisfied that the ground exists, they must evict you.

If your landlord is relying on a discretionary eviction ground, even if the Tribunal is satisfied that the ground exists it will consider whether it's reasonable to evict you.

If you've left the property and think you've been misled into leaving, you can apply to the Tribunal for a 'wrongful termination order'. The Tribunal may make a wrongful termination order if it decides that your landlord:

• misled the Tribunal into giving an eviction order it should not have • misled you into leaving the property.

An example of a possible wrongful termination would be where the landlord serves notice to leave on you on the ground that they want to sell the property, but then doesn't sell it and lets it out to another tenant instead.

If a wrongful termination order is issued, your landlord will be told to pay you a payment of no more than six months' rent.

Grounds for eviction (assured and short assured tenancies)

If you have a short assured or an assured tenancy and your landlord wants to go to the Tribunal 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 letter from the Tribunal 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 Tribunal 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 Tribunal to evict you.

If you still have three months of arrears on the day you go to court, the Tribunal 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 the Tribunal, it 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 Tribunal.

If your landlord states any of these grounds as reasons to evict you, the Tribunal 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 the Tribunal, it's unlikely the Tribunal 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 Tribunal 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 Tribunal 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.

Grounds for eviction (private residential tenancies)

If you have a private residential tenancy, your landlord can only evict you if one or more of the 18 grounds (reasons) for eviction apply.

The Notice to Leave your landlord gave you will tell you the ground (or grounds) being used. The grounds are split into two categories – mandatory grounds and discretionary grounds.

Mandatory grounds

A mandatory ground means that if the Tribunal agrees that the ground exists, you must leave the property no matter what your argument is.

1. Landlord intends to sell the let property

This ground applies if your landlord plans on putting the property up for sale within three months of you moving out.

They'll need evidence to prove it – this could include a letter from a solicitor or an estate agent, or a recent home report for the property.

2. Let property to be sold by lender

This ground applies if your landlord's mortgage lender wants to repossess the property and sell it.

3. Landlord intends to refurbish the let property

This ground applies if your landlord wants to carry out major works to the let property that are so disruptive you wouldn't be able to live there at the same time.

Examples of evidence could include planning permission, or a contract between your landlord and an architect or a builder for the work to be carried out.

4. Landlord intends to live in the let property

This ground applies if your landlord wants you to move out of the property so they can move in.

Evidence could include an affidavit (a written statement, signed under oath in the presence of a Notary Public or a Justice of the Peace, that can be used as evidence at the Tribunal) saying this is what they are going to do.

5. Landlord intends to use the let property for non-residential purpose

This ground applies if your landlord wants you to move out so they can use the property for something other than a home.

Evidence could include planning permission that will let them use the property for a different purpose.

6. Let property required for religious worker

This ground applies if the property is held to be available for someone who has a religious job (like a priest, nun, monk, imam, lay missionary, minister, rabbi or something similar).

The ground only works if the property has been used for this purpose before.

7. Tenant has a relevant criminal conviction

This ground applies if you're convicted of an offence punishable by imprisonment that involved you either:

  • using the property for illegal reasons
  • letting someone use the property for illegal reasons
  • committing a crime within or near the property

Your landlord has to apply to the Tribunal within a year of you being convicted, unless they have a reasonable excuse for not applying before then.

8. Tenant is no longer occupying the let property

This ground applies if the property isn't being used as your main or only home.

This doesn't count if your landlord failed their duty to keep the property in good repair and you had to move out for your own safety.

Discretionary grounds

A discretionary ground means that even if the Tribunal agrees that the ground exists, it still has to decide whether it is reasonable to issue an eviction order.

9. Landlord's family member intends to live in the let property

This ground applies if a member of your landlord's family plans to move into the property as their only or main home for at least three months.

Members of your landlord's family who qualify for this are:

  • their spouse
  • their civil partner
  • someone living with them as though they were married to them
  • a parent or grandparent
  • a child or grandchild
  • a brother or sister
  • step or half relatives (like a stepson or half-sister)
  • a person being treated as someone's child even if they aren't related biologically or legally
  • any family member (as listed above) of your landlord's spouse, civil partner or person living with them as though they were married
  • the spouse or civil partner of any family members listed above, or someone living with them as though they were married

Your landlord will need evidence for this ground. This could include an affidavit stating that this is what their family member intends to do.

10. Tenant no longer needs supported accommodation

This ground applies if you moved into the property because you had a need for community care and you've since been assessed as no longer having that need.

11. Tenant has breached a term of the tenancy agreement

This ground applies if you haven't complied with one of the terms of tenancy.

This doesn't apply to cases where you haven't paid your rent (known as 'rent arrears') – there's a separate ground for this.

12. Tenant has engaged in relevant antisocial behaviour

This ground applies if you've behaved in an antisocial way to another person, by doing something which either:

  • causes them alarm or distress
  • is a nuisance or annoyance
  • is considered harassment

The First-tier Tribunal will consider the behaviour, who it involved and where it occurred to decide whether to issue an eviction order.

To use this ground, your landlord has to apply to the Tribunal within a year of the behaviour taking place, unless they have a reasonable excuse.

13. Tenant has associated in the let property with someone who has a criminal conviction or is antisocial

This ground applies if you allow someone into the property and they behave in an antisocial way that would have them evicted if they were the tenant.

This person could be:

  • a sub-tenant
  • your lodger
  • someone you let into the property on more than one occasion

To use this ground, your landlord has to apply to the Tribunal within a year of the conviction or behaviour taking place, unless they have a reasonable excuse.

  1. Landlord has had their registration refused or revoked This ground applies if your landlord isn't registered as a landlord in the local council area where the property is located.

This could be because the local council has either:

  • refused to enter them in the register
  • removed them from the register

15. Landlord's HMO licence has been revoked

This ground applies if the HMO (House of Multiple Occupancy) licence for the property has been removed and keeping all the tenants in the property would no longer be legal.

16. An overcrowding statutory notice has been served on the landlord

This ground applies if an 'overcrowding statutory notice' has been served on your landlord because the property is overcrowded to the extent that it may affect the health of the people living there.

Grounds which could be mandatory or discretionary

The final two grounds can be either mandatory or discretionary, depending on the circumstances of the case.

17. Tenant is in rent arrears over three consecutive months

This ground applies if you've been in 'rent arrears' (owed rent payments) for three or more months in a row.

If you still owe at least a month's rent by the first day of the Tribunal hearing, the ground is mandatory and the Tribunal must issue an eviction order. The Tribunal must also be satisfied that the arrears were not due to a delay or failure in the payment of a relevant benefit.

If you owe less than a month's rent (or are no longer in arrears) by the first day of the Tribunal hearing, the ground is discretionary and the Tribunal will decide whether it is reasonable to issue an eviction order.

In deciding whether it is reasonable to evict, the Tribunal will consider whether you being in arrears is due to a delay or failure in the payment of a relevant benefit.

18. Tenant has stopped being (or has failed to become) an employee

This ground applies if your landlord let you move in because you were their employee (or were going to be one), and now you aren't.

The First-tier Tribunal will have to give an eviction order if either:

  • your landlord applies within 12 months of you no longer being an employee
  • you never became an employee and your landlord applies within 12 months of the tenancy starting

The Tribunal will be able to decide whether to give an eviction order if:

  • your landlord applies on or after the date 12 months after you stopped being an employee
  • you never became an employee but your landlord applies on or after the date 12 months after the tenancy started

Getting help

If you're given an eviction notice, you should try to get help right away to make sure you don't become homeless.

There a number of different places you can go to get help.

Your local council

Local councils have a legal duty to give advice and information about homelessness, and how to prevent it.

Shelter Scotland

Call the free housing advice helpline on 0808 800 4444 to talk to an adviser who can:

  • explain your rights
  • tell you your options
  • tell you what help's available in your area

You can also visit the Shelter Scotland website for more advice and information.

Citizens Advice Scotland

Visit your nearest Citizens Advice Bureau to get free, confidential and independent advice on homelessness, housing and benefits.

Visit the Citizens Advice Scotland website to get more information and find your nearest Citizens Advice Bureau.