One of the main facets of the new Private Residential Tenancy (PRT) is that it offers increased security of tenure to tenants. An order for eviction will only be granted where a landlord can satisfy the First-tier Tribunal (Housing and Property Chamber) that one of the 18 grounds for eviction is established. The Tribunal needs to be persuaded, with evidence, that the landlord is entitled to end the tenancy.
How do private landlords prove that they have a ground for eviction?
It essentially depends on the ground being relied on. However, some documents will need to be provided in all matters, regardless of the reasons for eviction. These include:
- A signed copy of the Private Residential Tenancy
- A copy of the Notice to Leave served on the tenant
- Proof of appropriate service of the Notice to Leave
Here we consider 2 grounds where the intention of the landlord requires to be established in order to evict:
Ground 1: Landlord intends to sell the property
If using Ground 1, the landlord requires to satisfy the Tribunal that the landlord is entitled to sell the property and has the intention that it is to be sold within 3 months of the tenant vacating.
Grounds 4: Landlord intends to live in the let property
The landlord needs to satisfy the Tribunal that he or she intends to occupy the let property as their principal home for at least 3 months.
How do you establish intention?
For Ground 1, the Private Housing (Tenancies) (Scotland) Act 2016 provides examples of documentary evidence that may be provided which includes a letter of engagement or confirmation of instruction from a solicitor or estate agent in relation to the future sale. A recent home report or valuation of the property is also suggested. However, it is unlikely landlords will incur the costs of this given the short lifespan of a home report.
For Ground 4, the Act provides for affidavit evidence of intention. An affidavit is a written statement taken on oath by a notary public - this will usually be your solicitor. Additionally, evidence relating to the sale of the landlord's current home could be used to establish why the property is required. Any other documentation relating to the reasons for relocation can be used. For example, if the landlord is in financial difficulty and wishes to reduce their property portfolio, creditors letters or demands could be used to prove that financial difficulty and, in turn, reason for terminating the tenancy.
Establishing intention can be difficult. Ultimately, establishing grounds for eviction will depend on the ground relied upon and the accuracy of the evidence available to support the ground.
Landlords should be careful to ensure they do not provide information/evidence to mislead the Tribunal, or the tenant, to end the tenancy otherwise they could face a claim for 6 months rent under the wrongful termination provisions.
Should you require more information relating to grounds for eviction or other private rental sector matters, please contact our experienced team.