Eviction from a council or Housing Association house

This topic is for you, if you are living in a council, housing association or housing co-operative property, and you have been told that action may be taken to evict you from the house.

Can I be evicted?

If you rent your home from the council, a housing association or housing co-operative, you will probably have a Scottish secure or short Scottish secure tenancy agreement. This means the landlord must have at least one reason (or 'ground') to evict you.

To repossess your home the landlord has to start legal proceedings in court. However before they can do this, they must serve on the tenant (and every qualifying occupier) a 'notice of proceedings'. This will tell you which ground the landlord is relying upon.

The landlord can only evict you when they have an order from the sheriff court. The sheriff may not grant an order, if they do not feel it is reasonable to do so. Even if an order is granted, then you do not have to move until the date given on the order. If you have not moved by that date, though, sheriff's officers can come to remove you and your possessions.

How can I get help?

You can get help and advice from a number of sources

  • Ask for help from our Prevention Team on 0800 169 0611. This will include advice about our duties towards you, if you are made homeless through being evicted. More details are given below.
  • Get advice from Citizens Advice
    Haddington CAB on 01620 824471
    Musselburgh CAB on 0131 653 2748 or 0131 653 2544

If the landlord is seeking to evict you for rent arrears, please also see the help for tenants section in Money and affording to stay.

What do the Prevention Team do?

Our Prevention Team will check whether the landlord has followed the correct procedure. If possible we will negotiate with them to make sure this really is the last resort, and that they have given you a fair chance to put things right, before starting court action.

If you have to move, we will give you advice and assistance to find somewhere else to live - and will help you to know if you can afford it. If you are faced with homelessness, we will assess whether or not your actions contributed towards your homelessness (in which case, we may find you intentionally homeless). In these circumstances, we need not provide you with alternative social housing, but we will do our best to make sure you can arrange some accommodation.

If you have children, we may refer you to the duty social work team.

What happens at Court

At court, the sheriff will look at the circumstances and decide whether or not it is reasonable to grant an eviction order.The sheriff may decide that it is not necessary to evict you immediately, but that the eviction be delayed, on the basis that you keep to a legally-binding agreement to pay any arrears (for example).

For more information on the various decisions a court can make, go to the Court page of the Shelter Scotland website.

Representation in Court

It is possible that you can have legal representation in court, to argue the case for you to be allowed to stay, or for there to be a different outcome, other than eviction. Advice on this can be found in the Getting Help at Court page on the Shelter Scotland website.