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First ever Wrongful Termination Order granted

Monday 18 January 2021

A landlord has been penalised for evicting a tenant on wrongful grounds by the Housing & Property Chamber of the First-tier Tribunal for Scotland (FTS) by awarding its first Wrongful Termination Order.

Amid a fractious relationship, the landlord provided the tenant with a Notice To Leave, with the stated ground being that they wanted to move into the premises.

In the original eviction action before the First-tier Tribunal, the history of the tenancy and proof of the threat to evict were submitted in evidence. Acting for the tenant, Community Help & Advice Initiative (CHAI), the agency in the Edinburgh Housing Advice Partnership (EHAP), also pointed out that it was not credible to believe that the landlord, his partner and their child genuinely wished to move out of the three-bedroom property they owned and lived in, to take up residence in a one-room studio flat.

Despite the CHAI arguing that the landlord's claim of wanting to live in the studio could not be accepted as a settled and genuine intention, the tribunal stated that the Scottish Parliament had set a very low bar for the landlord to have to meet and granted the order for eviction.

The Wrongful Termination Order

The tenant then applied to the FTS for a Wrongful Termination Order, CHAI again outlined the history of the tenancy and the ground for eviction and it was then shown that the landlord and his family had not moved into the studio flat. Within less than a month, repairs and redecoration had been carried out and new tenants had been found and moved in.

The tribunal found that the landlord had misled the tribunal and the tenant was entitled to a wrongful termination by eviction order. It awarded the tenant a penalty of £1,350, equivalent to three times the monthly rent under the original tenancy to be paid by the landlord.

Quote mark

Although the tenant was granted the Wrongful Termination Order, he should never have been evicted in the first place. The Scottish Government must act to ensure tenants have access to free expert assistance, but it must also revisit the standard of proof to be met for granting evictions from PRTs and other private sector tenancies. That can be done easily by retaining some of the emergency measures introduced to help counter COVID-19, especially the requirement for landlords to prove eviction is reasonable in the circumstances.

Andrew Wilson, of CHAI and Project Manager for EHAP

Propertymark ReSOURCES

Propertymark has a range of resources and has worked with the Scottish Government to compile FAQs for landlords and letting agents in these exceptional circumstances. Working in partnership with the Scottish Association of Landlords and the Council of Letting Agents, the aim is to provide reassurance and specific guidance on the main questions and concerns of the private rented sector.