Eviction from a private let
This topic is for you if are threatened with eviction by your private landlord, or you need to understand more about the eviction process. If you have financial worries, you may find useful advice in Money and affording to stay.
Eviction - Private Tenants
If you rent your home from a private landlord you are probably an assured, short assured or private residential tenant.
There are a number of grounds under which a private landlord can seek to get his property back, by serving a notice and applying to the court for an eviction order.For a full explanation, visit the Eviction of Assured Tenants page of the Shelter Scotland website. If you have received a notice to quit on any ground(s), take a copy of this notice to one of the following, to ensure that it is valid:
- the Council (please see details for arranging a housing options interview)
- Citizens Advice Bureau
- Haddington CAB on 01620 824471
- Musselburgh CAB on 0131 653 2748 or 0131 653 2544
If it is not valid, the landlord cannot go ahead with the eviction procedure and will have to serve a new, valid notice.
Short Assured Tenants
If the landlord wants you to leave when the fixed period of a short assured tenancy comes to an end they mustgive you a notice to quit, and give you at least two months' notice in writing that they want the property back (this is known as a section 33 notice). If you have not left by the end of the fixed period:
- the landlord will have to tell the sheriff court that they want to evict
- you will be sent a summons telling you when your case will be heard at court
- your case will come to court
- the court will decide whether you will be removed from the property.
What is a notice to quit?
A notice to quit is a written document advising the tenant that their tenancy is going to come to an end. The length of notice the tenant is given depends on how long their tenancy is for: If their tenancy lasts for more than four months, the minimum notice period is 40 days.If their tenancy lasts for four months or less, the notice period should be at least one-third of the length of the tenancy, and no less than 28 days.
What should a notice to quit contain?
For a notice to quit to be valid it must:
- be in writing, even if you do not have a written tenancy agreement
- state the length of notice you have been given
- state that once the notice has run out, the landlord still has to get an order from the court before you have to leave
- include information about where the tenant should seek advice
What is a section 33 notice?
As well as giving you a notice to quit, your landlord must also give you two months' written notice telling you that they want the property back. This is called a section 33 notice.If the landlord wants you to move out on the day your tenancy expires, they will need to give you a section 33 notice at least two months before that date. Some landlords try to get round this by giving you a section 33 notice at the beginning of the tenancy but this is not correct.
I have a notice to quit - will I have to move out?
If you do not move out by the end of the fixed period, the landlord will have to ask for a court order telling you to leave. So long as the landlord has given you a proper notice to quit and a section 33 notice giving you at least two months' warning that they want the property back, the sheriff will automatically grant a court order. If the landlord hasn't given you a section 33 notice, you will be able to stay on in the property until they do. Once the section 33 notice has expired, your landlord can apply for a court order, which is likely to be granted.
What should I do if I get a notice to quit?
Provide a copy to one of the organisations mentioned above, for checking purposes to ensure it is valid. If it is not valid, you will not have to leave the property at the moment.
Looking for other accommodation
You will have to pay rent on your existing property until the notice to quit runs out. If you currently receive housing benefit and cannot avoid having to pay rent for both your old home and any new home you have moved into, you may be able to get housing benefit for two homes for up to four weeks. See Helping you find somewhere else to live.
My notice is running out and I can't find anywhere else to live
Once your notice to quit and/or section 33 notice has run out, your landlord still has to get a court order before they can make you leave the property. The landlord will contact the sheriff court, who will send a court summons telling you that the landlord wants you evicted. If you do not reply to the court summons, the court order for your eviction will be granted automatically.
If you have been given a proper notice to quit, the sheriff will automatically give a court order for your eviction, but you can ask for the eviction date to be delayed to allow time to find somewhere else to live.However, if you stay in your house after the notice to quit has run out without very good reason, the landlord can ask the court to get you to pay damages, such as the landlord's legal fees.
If you have a Private Residential Tenancy
What if you are evicted?
If the court makes an eviction order, you will have to leave when the order comes into effect, usually in two or three weeks' time. The court may also make an order allowing the landlord to get the rent money you owe. For example, this could be done by taking money out of your wages.
If you have a Private Residential Tenancy, please go the relevnat page, by clicking on the link.
How can the Prevention Team help?
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. 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.
Your landlord is not allowed to put undue pressure on you to leave before the proper legal process has been followed. See our page on antisocial behaviour.