Ending a private rented tenancy during Covid pandemic
The Coronavirus (Scotland) Act has changed the eviction process for all landlords in Scotland.
These changes now apply to any notice served from 7 April 2020. At present the changes are in place until 31 March 2021 but there is provision in the legislation for one further extension to 30 September 2021 subject to parliamentary approval.
These changes do not apply to any notice served on a tenancy before 7 April 2020. (for information on notices served before 7 April 2020 please see the other links on the page)
The main changes that will apply during this period (for private landlords) are as follows:
- All evictions are discretionary. This means that the First Tier Tribunal Housing and Property Chamber will apply a test to consider how reasonable the grounds for eviction are, and there are no circumstances where the grounds are mandatory. The tribunal will consider whether the circumstances of the case mean that the tenants right/need to occupy the property outweigh the landlords need/right to recover possession of the property.
There have also been changes to the notices periods that private landlords are required to give. The notice required depends on the grounds used, and the type of tenancy in place.
Private Residential Tenancy
There is an amended version of the Notice to Leave for use during this time and a copy can be found on the Scottish Government website .
- Ground 1 - landlord selling - 6 months
- Ground 2 - mortgage lender selling - 6 months
- Ground 3 - landlord intends to refurbish - 6 months
- Ground 4 - landlord moving in - 3 months
- Ground 5 - landlord's family member moving in - 3 months
- Ground 6 - change of use to non-residential purpose - 6 months
- Ground 7 - religious use - 6 months
- Ground 8 - tenant is no longer an employee - 6 months
- Ground 9 - tenant no longer needs supported accommodation - 6 months
- Ground 10 - tenant not occupying property - 28 days
- Ground 11 - breach of tenancy terms - 6 months
- Ground 12 - tenant has owed some rent for 3 months - 6 months
- Ground 13 - criminal behaviour - 28 days (for notices served between 7 April 2020 and 2 October 2020 the notice period is 3 months, for notices served after 2 October the notice period has been reduced to 28 days)
- Ground 14 - anti-social behaviour - 28 days (as above)
- Ground 15 - association with person with criminal conviction/engaged in anti-social behaviour - 28 days (as above)
- Ground 16 - landlord has been refused registration or had registration revoked - 3 months
- Ground 17 - landlord's HMO licence has been revoked - 3 months
- Ground 18 - overcrowding statutory notice has been served on the landlord - 6 months
Assured/Short Assured Tenancy
In order to end a short assured tenancy requires a Notice to Quit to be served on the tenant. The notice period required for that remains unchanged and will depend on the lease, but in most cases this is 2 months ending on an "ish" date. Alongside this the landlord must also serve either a Section 33 notice or an AT6.
The length of notice now required on a Section 33 notice has been extended to 6 months. It is possible to have the Notice to Quit ending on an earlier date than the Section 33, or to have both documents giving 6 months notice, ending on an ish date. It is not possible to apply to the Tribunal for an eviction order until the end of the notice on the section 33 notice.
If ending the tenancy using the AT6 the notice period required will depend on the ground being used.
- Ground 1 - required as or previously used as landlord's principal home - 3 months
- Ground 2 - mortgage lender selling - 6 months
- Ground 3 - off season holiday let - 6 months
- Ground 4 - vacation let of student accommodation - 6 months
- Ground 5 - minister or lay missionary property - 6 months
- Ground 6 - re-development - 6 months
- Ground 7 - tenancy inherited under a will or intestacy - 6 months
- Ground 8 - 3 months' rent arrears - 6 months
- Ground 9 - suitable alternative accommodation available - 2 months
- Ground 10 - tenant served notice to quit but didn't leave - 6 months
- Ground 11 - persistent delay in paying rent - 6 months
- Ground 12 - some rent unpaid - 6 months
- Ground 13 - breach of tenancy terms - 6 months
- Ground 14 - deterioration of the house or common parts - 6 months
- Ground 15 - anti-social behaviour - 28 days ( for notices served between 7 April 2020 and 2 October 2020 the notice period is 3 months, for notices served after 2 October the notice period has been reduced to 28 days)
- Ground 16 - deterioration of condition of furniture - 6 months
- Ground 17 - ex-employees of the landlord - 6 months
The statutory forms for assured and short assured tenancies can be found on the Scottish Government website.
If you are unsure about the paperwork or dates to use we would recommend seeking legal advice. If you lodge a case with the tribunal at the end of the notice period and your paperwork is incorrect they may reject the case and you will have to reissue the documents, and wait the notice period again before taking further action. This will significantly delay your ability to recover the property. A tenant cannot be removed from a property without an order for eviction granted by the First Tier Tribunal.