Many landlords are unaware of their duties under the Homelessness (Scotland) Act 2003 when raising court proceedings against a tenant for eviction. What are a landlord's duties when evicting a tenant?
Section 11 of the Act states that;
a landlord when raising proceedings for repossession must give notice to the local authority in whose area the property is situated. Said notice should be given when the court action is raised against the tenant.
It is not sufficient for the landlord to simply write to the local authority giving the required notice when evicting a tenant. There is a specific form that should be filled in. The form will require the landlord to provide certain information including:-
- Landlord's name and address
- Landlord's registration number
- Address of the tenancy
- Start date of tenancy
- Date on which court proceedings was raised and court in which they were raised
The failure to serve the notice will not render a court action invalid. However, in practice, it is highly unlikely that a Sheriff at court will grant an order for eviction without confirmation that the notice has been served.
The purpose of the notice is to notify the local authority at an early stage so that they can use the resources available to them to step in and assist the tenant if possible. The extent to which the local authority will intervene will vary. Some may contact the tenant directly to offer assistance. Others will simply mark on their system that the tenant is at risk of homelessness. In one extreme situation, a local authority actually offered to pay off the tenant's rent arrears to try and stop the eviction.
The notice is an important part of the eviction process and landlords should therefore ensure they are complying with their duties under section 11 to avoid the potential for delay in an action for eviction.
If you are a landlord who would like further legal guidance with regards to evicting a tenant, please contact our LetLaw team.