6th May 2022

No-fault evictions – what is the position in Scotland?

Last week, Shelter England issued a press release stating that every seven minutes a private renter is served a no-fault eviction notice in England. These notices give tenants two months’ notice to leave their property. Around three years ago, the UK Government sought to do away with non-fault evictions in England, however in the last three years almost 230,000 non-fault evictions have occurred. But what is the position in Scotland? Can a tenant be evicted where there is no fault and/or for no reason?

Tenancies in Scotland

Landlord and tenant law in Scotland is incredibly different to that in England. In Scotland, for private renters, there are generally three types of tenancies, namely, an assured tenancy, a short-assured tenancy and a private residential tenancy. As of 1 December 2017, any new tenancy created was a private residential tenancy

Private Residential Tenancies

Private residential tenancies, also known as ‘PRT’s’, were introduced by the Scottish government to modernise tenancies and to provide tenants with security and stability. As part of the process, the eviction grounds were updated. The landlord still has the ability to seek to remove the tenant as a result of their behaviour, for example being in rent arrears, breaching the tenancy agreement or criminal or anti-social behaviour in or around the property.

Previously, under a short assured or assured tenancy, you could bring the tenancy to an end on specific dates, known as the ‘ish’. This ground has been removed in a PRT. With regards to no fault evictions, the tenant cannot be removed from the property simply because the landlord wishes to have them removed. The landlord would need to confirm that one of the 18 grounds for eviction applies. Such grounds include that the property will be sold, the landlord or a family member intend to live in the property, or the property needs refurbished. The grounds are very specific and when serving notice on any ground, the landlord should produce evidence, for example a letter from their estate agent if they are selling the property. If the landlord does not do so, an eviction order may not be granted.

The above grounds mean that whilst traditional non-fault evictions no longer exist in Scotland, there are still occasions whereby a tenant can be removed from the property due to no fault on their part. In order to try and negate the impact of such evictions, all eviction grounds are currently discretionary. This means that it is not mandatory for the First Tier Tribunal (Property and Housing Chamber) to grant eviction. They will only do so if it is reasonable in all the circumstances for an eviction order to be granted.

As a landlord what can I do if I wish to evict my tenant?

PRT’s do give tenants much more security and make it more difficult to remove a tenant, given the need to establish a specific ground. If you wish to serve Notice to Leave on your tenant, it is important that you have a reason, supporting evidence and to be able to argue that it is reasonable to seek the eviction. We would recommend that you seek legal advice with regards to the type of evidence required and the reasonableness of seeking the eviction.

As a tenant what can I do if my landlord serves Notice to Leave?

The Notice to Leave has to be in a certain format and contain certain information. Specific evidence needs to be produced to support the ground of eviction. Additionally, as all evictions must be reasonable in the circumstances, it is important to consider your need to be in the property. For example, has the property been adapted or are there other mitigating factors. If so, you may have an argument that it is not reasonable to grant an eviction order. Given the reasonableness factor, all tenants should seek legal advice when served with a Notice to Leave.

If you require information and help with any landlord or tenancy issues please speak to a member of the Blackadders Dispute Resolution Team working in Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Perth and across Scotland.

Susan Currie, Senior Solicitor
Dispute Resolution
Blackadders LLP
@DisputeLawSusan

www.blackadders.co.uk

Heather Maltman, Trainee Solicitor
Dispute Resolution
Blackadders LLP
@traineemaltman

www.blackadders.co.uk

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