How to evict a tenant in Scotland

How to evict a tenant in Scotland

0:05 AM, 22nd December 2023, About 4 months ago

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In Scotland, the rules differ from England and Wales when trying to evict a tenant, with the rent eviction ban still in place until March 2024 some landlords may be puzzled about the regulations.

Evicting a tenant is never easy but we have created a guide for landlords with properties in Scotland on how to legally evict a tenant.

Can I evict a tenant during the eviction ban?

John Blackwood, chief executive of the Scottish Association of Landlords (SAL), told Property118 that it is important to know that despite the measures in place until March 2024, landlords in Scotland can still evict a tenant.

He told us: “With the well-publicised “eviction ban” still in operation in Scotland, many landlords are unaware that they can still serve notice on their tenants if any of the 21 eviction grounds in the Private Residential Tenancy (PRT) legislation apply. Note that older tenancy regimes have slightly different eviction grounds/procedures.

“Whilst the eviction ban does place a delay of up to six months on the enforcement of some evictions, most will be unaffected by this, either because the tenant chooses to leave without the need for enforcement action because some grounds are exempt from this delay or, most relevant now because the ban is due to end on 31 March 2024.”

On what grounds can I evict a tenant in Scotland?

According to Shelter Scotland, you can still be evicted during the ban if both of the following rules apply:

  • Your landlord gave you an eviction notice before 6 September 2022
  • Your landlord applied for an eviction order at the court or tribunal before 28 October 2022

If a tenant engages in anti-social or criminal activity, then regardless of the dates above, a landlord can still evict a tenant during the eviction ban.

Other conditions a landlord can still evict a tenant include:

  • A tenant has stopped living in the property
  • The tenant has ended the employment with the landlord
  • The tenant is six months in rent arrears or more

In Scotland, a landlord must try to help a tenant before evicting for rent arrears. All grounds to evict a tenant in Scotland are discretionary meaning a First-Tier Tribunal must take place.

What documents do I need for eviction?

Landlords in Scotland need to issue two notices when evicting a tenant:

  • A notice to quit, unless certain exceptions apply
  • A section 33 notice or an AT6 form

Mr Blackwood said it’s important to remember that all landlords need to give a notice period in good time.

He explained the notice period for all PRT grounds is 28 days if the tenant has been entitled to occupy the property for six months or less.

If the tenant has been entitled to occupy the property for more than six months’ then the notice period is 28 days if using a tenant breach ground (such as rent arrears or anti-social behaviour) and 84 days’ if using any other grounds.

To end a PRT, the landlord must issue the tenant with a prescribed notice called a Notice to Leave, detailing which eviction ground applies. If serving notice for rent arrears, the landlord must wait until the tenant has owed any amount of rent for three months before serving notice.

A notice to leave must be in writing, it must not be done verbally or by email as it will not be valid.  In the notice, you must tell the tenant about their right to get advice and where to get it.

What happens if the tenant doesn’t leave during the notice period?

Mr Blackwood explains if the tenant vacates the property during the notice period then the property can be repossessed when the notice period ends.

If the tenant doesn’t leave the property when asked to on the notice, then the landlord needs to apply to the First-tier Tribunal for Scotland (Housing & Property Chamber) (FTT) to have the tenant evicted.

Applications to the FTT are free of charge and landlords and tenants are expected to represent themselves at the chamber rather than using a solicitor.

What not to do during the eviction process

Evicting a tenant is never easy and sometimes it can be a hard and long process. Propertymark says landlords need to remember not to break the rules surrounding the process.

The industry body said: “Landlords must not neglect their obligations such as maintenance issues that still need to be diligently addressed, failure on the landlord’s part could result in legal action.

“Holding a tenant’s belongings in lieu of unpaid rent or removing it from the property before the tenant has left, is also a criminal offence where a landlord could be heavily penalised. Failing to return a tenant’s possessions could result in prosecution.”

Propertymark added that shutting off utilities to the property could result in imprisonment.

It warns: “Switching off gas, water, and electricity is a serious act. As a landlord, you need to fulfil your legal obligations and shutting off a tenant’s water supply could result in criminal action.”

Landlords in Scotland might feel overwhelmed when evicting a tenant but the Scottish Association of Landlords (SAL) has more detailed guidance on evictions.

SAL has a wealth of online resources to support landlords, and members have unlimited access to a telephone advice helpline for guidance on any queries. To find out more and join click here.


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