Using discrimination law to challenge your eviction in Scotland
Coronavirus - evictions
The Scottish government has introduced measures to protect renters.
If you have rent arrears
If you're behind with your rent, your landlord can't evict you unless they give you 6 months' notice. Your landlord must still follow the correct legal procedure in the tribunal or court.
Read more about what to do if you have rent arrears.
If you're a private-sector tenant, your landlord must go to the First-tier Tribunal to get an eviction order. The tribunal must consider if it's reasonable to evict you in the circumstances.
Can you be evicted
The rules about enforcing evictions depend on the protection level where you live. You can check this using the Scottish government protection level checker.
If you live in level 0, 1 or 2, you can be evicted. Your landlord can only evict you if they follow the correct procedure. This depends on the type of tenancy you have. Only sheriff officers can make you leave your home.
There’s a ban on enforcing evictions in levels 3 and 4. You can’t be made to leave your home in these levels unless your eviction is for antisocial or criminal behaviour. Eviction hearings can still take place and the tribunal or court can still grant an eviction order.
You can find advice about attending a court or tribunal on the Scottish Courts and Tribunal Service website.
Illegal eviction is a criminal offence. There's advice about illegal eviction on the Shelter Scotland website.
Get advice before you take any steps to move out
In most cases it's not enough for a landlord to verbally ask you to leave or even send you a letter saying you have to move out by a certain date.
Depending on the type of tenancy you have there's a set legal process they have to go through, including:
giving you an eviction notice in a way set out in law
applying to the sheriff court or the First-tier Tribunal for Scotland for an eviction order, and notifying you they're doing this
attending a court or tribunal hearing to ask for an eviction order.
It's likely you'll have opportunities to challenge your eviction but if you move out, you might be seen as abandoning your tenancy and you could lose any chance you had to challenge the eviction.
You should try to find someone to help you prepare your case if you can. This might be a lawyer or an experienced adviser at a Citizens Advice Bureau.
If you want to get a lawyer, check if you can get help with legal costs.
If the landlord changes the locks, refuses rent or cuts off utilities
If the landlord is trying to make you move out by making it impossible for you to live in the property, this could be illegal eviction. For example, if they:
change the locks
cut off your electricity or gas
refuse to accept rent payments
threaten or harass you.
You could apply for an order to reinstate you in your home or claim damages at court. You should get help from a specialist adviser at your local Citizens Advice Bureau.
If you’ve already got an eviction order
Even if they get an eviction order, it's not too late to get advice. You don't have to leave voluntarily until the date on the order.
If you’re a private tenant and you stay past the date on the order, the landlord has to apply again to the court or tribunal for permission to use sheriff officers to evict you. You will then be told that date on a final eviction notice.
In some cases you can appeal the eviction or have it recalled. The following steps are designed for people whose cases haven't come to court or tribunal yet. Instead of following this advice you should contact an adviser who can help you decide what to do next. Act quickly because there might be strict time limits, as there are for appealing, for example.