We want to make sure that tenants and landlords know that illegal evictions are a criminal offence. The legislation sets out the correct procedure that landlords must follow to evict a tenant – in most cases a landlord must obtain a court order to evict a tenant.

Many tenants and landlords are unaware that the following actions may also be illegal and can result in a landlord committing a criminal offence.

  • Changing the locks to keep the tenant out of the property
  • Making life so uncomfortable for a tenant that they are forced to leave their home by for example cutting off water, gas or electricity supplies
  • Constantly turning up at their home late at night
  • Physically removing a tenant from the property (only a sheriff officer may do this).

This applies to all kinds of tenants, no matter what kind of tenancy or occupancy agreement they have. Tenants should contact the police if they are threatened with or experience an illegal eviction. While we would hope that eviction is only used as a last resort, if a landlord needs to evict someone it has to be done following the correct procedure. For more information go to www.shelterscotland.org/eviction

Landlords and tenants both have rights and responsibilities. It’s important that both sides take the required steps to ensure tenancies are managed properly; to prevent serious problems arising like illegal evictions which can lead to homelessness.


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