What happens when a commercial lease in Scotland comes to an end but the commercial tenant remains in occupation?
Unfortunately, changing the locks is not the only solution for landlords. A tenant who refuses to leave voluntarily after the lease has finished cannot be evicted by the landlord without a court order, with the exception of some situations when the leased property is more than two acres (see our blog on this here). To legally evict a renter, the following five actions must be taken:
1. Verify with the landlord that the lease is in fact coming to an end.
A lease does not immediately end in Scotland when it expires. The law assumes that the parties have agreed to extend the lease on the same conditions for an additional year (or, if the initial lease was for a shorter amount of time, for that shorter period) if they are silent. Tactic relocation is the term for this. To prevent it, the landlord must deliver a clear and unequivocal written notice of eviction at least 40 days before to the lease’s expiration date. Our blog post on tacit relocation is available here.
2. Raise a removal action.
The landlord should file a court action for eviction if the tenant is still occupying the property after timely notice to vacate has been given, the lease has expired, and notice to vacate has been served. Normally, the sheriff’s court closest to the location should hear the case. A claim for “violent profits” (a type of penal penalty) or damages for any losses incurred by the landlord as a result of the tenant’s failure to evacuate the property promptly (such as lost rent that would have been collected from a new tenant) may be included in the lawsuit in addition to the removal of the tenant.
3. Serve a Removal Charge.
Sheriff personnel should be ordered to serve a Charge for Removing, giving the renter 14 days to vacate the property, once a court order for removal has been obtained. In the event that the circumstances warrant it, the Charge’s duration may be shortened or eliminated.
4. Provide notice period and end date
Sheriff’s deputies are required to provide the tenant at least 48 hours’ notice of the date of removal before an eviction can take place. This notice may be provided either concurrently with the Charge for Removing or closer to the date of eviction. The notification time may also be shortened or eliminated if the situation calls for it.
5. Evict a tenant.
Sheriff officers can be told to go to the property and evict the renter if the aforementioned measures are taken. To prevent the renter from retaking possession, it is a good idea to make arrangements for the locks to be changed right away. The renter shall be given the chance to make arrangements for the removal of any stock, equipment, or other possessions that have been left behind in the space. Otherwise, the landlord may proceed to relet the property or utilise it however they see fit.
Get in touch with our solicitor
Contact our Real Estate Disputes team if you are a commercial landlord in the aforementioned situation. We can help you negotiate this procedure.