Ending a short assured/assured tenancy

When either you, your landlord, or letting agent want to end a tenancy it must be done in the correct way. This page gives advice for people renting from a private landlord who have a short assured or assured tenancy agreement.

The regulations for private rented tenancies change from 1 April 2024. As a tenant you are still protected by the law. The Scottish Government have published information on the changes for tenants.

If you moved into your tenancy on or after 1 December 2017, visit our page with advice on ending a Private Residential Tenancy.

What type of tenancy do I have?

It is important to check the type of tenancy you have so you know what your rights and responsibilities are.

If you do not share any part of the property with your landlord, and you moved into your tenancy after 2 January 1989 and before 1 December 2017 you will have either a short assured or assured tenancy.

You will probably have a short assured tenancy if:

  • Each tenant was given a special notice called an AT5 before moving into the property
  • Your initial tenancy agreement was for at least six months

If you did not receive an AT5, or the initial period of the tenancy was for less than six months you will probably have an assured tenancy

If you are not sure which type of tenancy you have, you should seek advice from our Housing Options Team or an organisation such as Citizens Advice Scotland.

If you want to leave the tenancy

Before you leave the property you must give your landlord the correct written notice.

Your tenancy agreement will tell you if you can end the tenancy early, and how much notice you will need to give. If it is not mentioned in your agreement you may be able to come to an arrangement with your landlord.

If you cannot reach an arrangement with your landlord, you will have to give notice stating you wish to leave when the tenancy comes to an end.

Unless your agreement states otherwise the minimum notice you have to give is:

  • 28 days if you have an assured tenancy and the initial agreement was for less than four months
  • 40 days if you have a short assured tenancy,
  • 40 days if you have an assured tenancy and the initial agreement was for longer than four months.

If you leave the property without giving the correct notice, or before your notice runs out, you will still be responsible for the property and any rent you are due to pay.

If you change your mind and no longer want to move out you can ask your landlord to continue the tenancy. It is up to your landlord to decide if they will agree to this.

If your landlord wants to end the tenancy

If your landlord wants to end your tenancy they must do this by giving you the correct written notices including:

  • A Notice to Quit telling you when your landlord wants to end the tenancy. The notice must tell you the length of notice you are being given, and end the tenancy on the correct date.

And one, or both of the following

  • A Section 33 notice. If you are being asked to leave a short assured tenancy because it has reached an end date.
  • A Notice of Proceedings, called an AT6 if you are being asked to leave an assured tenancy for any reason. Your landlord must also give you this form if they end a short assured tenancy for any reason other than the tenancy has come to an end. This form tells you why the Landlord is asking you to leave and the reasons for this.

If you are joint tenants your Landlord must give each tenant a separate copy of each notice.

If you receive any notices from your landlord you may want to seek advice from the Councils Housing Options Team, or an organisation such as Citizens Advice Scotland or Shelter Scotland. They will be able to explain you rights and possibly prevent you losing your home.

Even after the notice runs out your Landlord cannot evict you without first obtaining and eviction order from the First-tier Tribunal.

How much notice will I be given?

The amount of notice your Landlord must give you depends on the eviction ground(s) being used.

Some grounds are mandatory, meaning the tribunal must grant an eviction order if the landlord can prove they apply to you. The reaming grounds are discretionary, the tribunal will only grant an eviction order for these grounds where they believe it is reasonable to do so.

You must be given two months’ notice if:

  • Your landlord wants you to move out so they or their husband/wife or civil partner can move in and live in the property (mandatory).
  • Your landlord has not kept up to date with their mortgage payments, and the mortgage lender wants to sell the property to cover the landlord’s debts (mandatory).
  • A minister or lay-missionary will live in the property while working in the area (mandatory).
  • The landlord intends to complete major work to the property and this cannot be done while you are living there (mandatory).
  • You inherited the tenancy in a will (unless the previous tenant was your husband, wife or civil partner) (mandatory).
  • Your landlord is able to make alternative accommodation available, which is suitable for you and your family (discretionary).
  • You were employed by your landlord and allowed to live in the property as part of your job. You may be asked to leave for this reason if your employment has ended (discretionary).

You must be given two weeks' notice if:

  • You are living in a property that is normally used as a holiday let (mandatory).
  • You are living in a property that is let to students by a college or university during term time (mandatory).
  • You have more than three months’ rent arrears, both at the time of the notice being issued and when the case goes to tribunal (mandatory).
  • You gave your landlord written notice to end the tenancy and have not left the property (discretionary).
  • You keep paying your rent late (discretionary).
  • You rent arrears of any amount, both at the time of the notice being issued and when your case goes to tribunal (discretionary).
  • You have breached a term of then tenancy, other than payment of rent (discretionary).
  • You, or someone living with you, has damaged part of the property or surrounding area. Including failing to report a repair that has led to the property being damaged (discretionary).
  • You, or someone living with you, has been causing a nuisance, or annoyance in or around the property, or have been convicted for using the property for an illegal purpose (discretionary).
  • You, or someone living with you, has damaged or failed to look after furniture provided by your landlord (discretionary).

What happens at the end of the notice period?

You may choose not to move out of the property at the end of the notice period, and wait for your landlord to apply for an eviction order from the First-tier tribunal. If you decide to do this your landlord, or anyone acting on their behalf cannot:

  • Throw you out
  • Change the locks
  • Harass or threaten you or your family
  • Enter the property (unless it is with your permission – you must still allow your landlord access to carry out repairs etc.)

If your landlord still wants you to leave the property they can ask the First Tier Tribunal to issue an eviction notice. If you receive notice that your Landlord has applied for an eviction order we advise you seek independent help from an organisation such as Shelter Scotland or Citizens Advice Scotland.

Remember, your landlord cannot evict you until the Tribunal gives an eviction order.

Moving out

When you move out of the property it is important to leave it in a good condition. If you do not your landlord may keep some or all of your deposit.

Important things to remember include:

  • Remove all your belongings and any rubbish from the property. Don’t forget the garden, garden shed and garage – If you leave anything behind the landlord may charge you for the cost of clearing it out.
  • Properly clean the property. Including furniture and white goods.
  • Take meter readings. Send a copy to your supplier and let them know you are moving out. Give a copy to you Landlord/letting agent.
  • Arrange for your mail to be redirected (there may be a charge for this).
  • Do not take any furniture or other items provided by the landlord.
  • Let the council know when you are moving out, and your new address, so they can update your Council Tax account

On the day you move out you should meet with your landlord or letting agent to return the keys and agree if anything from the inventory is missing or damaged. It is a good idea to take photographs in case of any disagreement with your landlord after you move out.

Returning your deposit

If you leave the property in good condition with no rent arrears you should get all your deposit back. Remember your landlord cannot charge you for reasonable ‘wear and tear’ of any fixtures, fittings, or furniture.

Your landlord should have lodged your deposit in a tenancy deposit scheme at the start of your tenancy, and told you which scheme was used.

When you move out you can contact the scheme yourself and ask for your deposit to be returned. Your landlord will be given a short time to register any claim against the deposit. If your landlord agrees to pay in full, or does not respond in a certain time, the deposit will be returned directly to you.

Your landlord may contact the scheme first, and grant release of the full deposit. If this happens the deposit will be returned directly to you.

Your landlord can ask for deductions to be made from the deposit. Reasons for doing this include:

  • Unpaid rent
  • Damage to goods (excluding wear and tear)

If you agree to this, or do not respond within a short time, the remaining deposit will be returned directly to you.

You may choose to challenge this using the scheme’s Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) service. You can usually do this online. An independent person will then decide how much deposit you should get back. A copy of the inventory and photos from when you moved in and out may help your case. You can request a review if you are unhappy with this decision.

The deposit scheme will have more information about the dispute process. An organisation such as Shelter Scotland can provide independent advice.